Skip to main content

The Lord is my shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. (Psalm 23:1-3 NLT)
What does a shepherd do? How is it he goes about his daily work? Isn't his whole purpose in life to watch over the flock he shepherds? As he "watches over", doesn't this entail an unwavering commitment to focus on their needs, often above his own? When is it the shepherd is "on duty"? Isn't it all the time? Isn't the shepherd "on duty" when the sheep are not as "focused" on their surroundings? I think maybe the shepherd has the hardest job, for his work never ends, his vigilance can never cease, and his provision must always be renewed.
We have all that we need - not always all we want. For many a child (and even an adult or two I know), this concept of want and need get a little confused. We want a lot of things, but not all we want is always the best thing for us, nor are the conditions right for us to receive what it is we may want. The shepherd of our lives has a great deal of "work" where it comes to getting us to focus more on our needs and less on our wants - even though both of these matter very much to him. We need rest, but does it always come at the beach? We need refreshing, but does it always come with a massage? Even the provision that meets our need may differ depending on the time and place - right?
God's promise to his children is fourfold:
- He will be our shepherd. As such, he watches out for us and is keenly aware of our every need (as well as our every want). He knows us intimately - not just in a cursory way - because he spends time with us.
- He provides for us. We focus on the things he provides, but we must never forget the "conditions" he provides, such as the peaceful rest at night when our bodies are wearied by the day. He does more for us than just give us "stuff" - he gives us the rest of spirit and soul that refreshes our inner man and renews our energies (physical and spiritual).
- He promotes our success. When he leads us, guiding us as we "grow through the things we go through", it isn't without a focus in mind. His aim is our movement from one level to the next - so we don't just "stay put" where we are. Sheep are kind of goofy that way - they will stay put, never even noticing their pasture has been diminished, eating until the nubs of the grass are even gone. So, the shepherd encourages them to move on - to not be content to stay put. Sometimes our needs are best met not in standing still to receive them, but in moving forward to the next place where our provision will come.
- He desires nothing more than our best. In the end, the shepherd is known by the flocks he shepherds. It isn't that he just fulfills the part of a shepherd - he must produce the "quality" or "integrity" of sheep that produce a great deal of rich wool. Sickly or undernourished sheep don't produce good wool. Sheep run ragged by moving hither and yon without any real chance to rest are not going to produce great offspring. As God shepherds our lives, he is always taking us to where we will have renewed energies and the chance to produce only the best from within our lives. In the end, his name is known by the sheep he shepherds. The quality and integrity of our lives become the testimony of his great and continual care! Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean