The Lord is my Shepherd…Psalms 23

One of my all time favorite passages is Psalms 23.  It reveals the heart and nature of God over us his people.  Many of us in the west fail to fully grasp the content of the passage because shepherds are uncommon in our society.  Let me encourage you this week with six qualities of our great shepherd.

  1. I have all that I need – Sheep have a tendency to stray because of their curiosity and stubbornness, but the shepherd provides them exactly what they need.
    God too, provides us our daily needs.  We can easily ask for more than what’s needed in our lives, but God knows exactly what you and I need.  You and I already have what we need.  Thank you God for faithfully providing my every need!
  2. He lets me rest in green meadows and leads me beside peaceful streams – Sheep will only lie down when they feel safe and because of the way their noses are made they cannot drink in rivers with fast moving water.  Eating and drinking are one of the biggest challenges shepherds face caring for sheep.
    You and I can relax because we are safe in God’s hands.  God smiles when we can rest in him because its our way of communicating that we truly trust him.  He understands our basic needs and he has gone to great lengths to provide for us.  We don’t need to worry about tomorrow, lets thank him for what he has done for us today and then we can trust him to be with us tomorrow.
  3. He renews my strength and guides me along the right paths – Sheep can easily become sick and shepherds must keep them trimmed and well fed.  If they eat too much they can turn over on their backs and get stuck that way and die.  A shepherd must keep watch to ensure this is not happening.  They must be guided along safe paths or they will wander into unsafe places.
    Each night while we sleep our great shepherd restores and refreshes our bodies.  We need time to rest because that is when our body heals itself.  Rising each day we should greet our great shepherd and allow him to guide us on our journey for the day.  Throughout the day, he will provide our direction and path to where he desires to take us.
  4. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me – In ancient times shepherds planned a yearly route for the sheep.  This route took them far from home during the summer months and back near home during the winter.  Because sheep need a lot of shade and peaceful streams they are best found in mountain areas where valleys exist.  Unfortunately, this is also where predators hide making it the most dangerous for the flocks.
    Our shepherd has already told us that we will face many challenges and trials in this life, but he also said he would never leave us.  Fear has become an epidemic in our society.  Fear of what may happen or what could happen.  No one has ever accomplished great things without risk.  Our great shepherd has planned out our journey in advance and he knows that he will need to lead us through dangerous valleys, but he will be with us.  His rod is a weapon against predators and his staff is used to bring us closer for healing.  You and I can trust him in our greatest times of need.
  5. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies, you honor me by anointing my head with oil – Sheep are constantly harassed by flies.  They will bang their heads against all kinds of things in an effort to shake flies off.  They do this even if it causes their own injury or death.  The shepherd applies an oil on their head to keep the flies away.  Thus protecting the sheep from harm.
    Our great shepherd cares for every detail of our lives.  He doesn’t want us distracted or confused.  He doesn’t want to see us harmed so he provides what we need so that we can feast in safety and in comfort.  We are so blessed that in the midst of those who may not like us or even be out to get us that we can rest in his confidence and care.
  6. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever – The shepherd will search without fail for a lost sheep and bring him home safely wrapped upon his shoulders.
    Our great shepherd loves us and has done everything in his power to provide all of us the opportunity to live with him forever.  He has given his own life to secure this and now he continues to reach out to us so that we may know all that he has done to live out our purpose and destiny.

Be encouraged this week, the LORD is our Shepherd!