My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
This verse has always been a favourite of mine to assure us of God’s protection and keeping in our lives. Imagine being lept safe in the palm of Jesus’ hand! Who can ever snatch his beloved out of his grasp?
Yet such protection can be misconstrued and misapplied. Eternal life and protection is promised only to those who follow Jesus closely and intimately, like sheep to their shepherd. The sheep that is wandering far from God and living cannot expect to receive to divine blessings but can only look forward to being pierced with many griefs.
This week, I just prayed for a woman who wandered away from God for many years. She was weighed down by many burdens and suffered much anxiety in her life as a result. Yet when she prayed to return to Jesus, she was filled with great peace and assurance when I prayed this verse over her. She experienced the comfort and freedom from the Lord because she placed her trust in Him!
Let us not walk in false assurance that the Lord will bless us even if we turn away from Him. His promise of salvation is only for those who follow Him. For those who wander, they will instead experience much sorrow and trials like the prodigal son. This is actually God’s grace upon them so that they can come to their senses and turn back to Him.
Let us today live as Jesus’ sheep and obey His voice in all we do!
Revd Ian 🙏