I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;
Have you ever noticed that, when life is moving along in a manageable way, it’s relatively easy to be at peace, to respond in godly ways, to walk in self-control, to serve humbly, to comfort others, to rest, to feel joy, to give cheerfully and believe that you’re doing okay?
However, if crisis comes into your life, which of course we’re not immune to, many of these characteristics seem to go right out the window, and your responses become defensive, your joy disappears, your control becomes controlling, you turn to false comfort, you feel empty and in need of rest despite sleep and quickly realise that you’re doing anything but okay. Crisis tends to reveal our character.
The good news, however, is that the Lord is your shepherd, your helper and friend, and He wants to take care of your needs. He deeply desires to lead you to a place that’s quiet and restorative. His generous heart longs to guide you on the right path, and He can redeem any circumstance.
So today, you can say, “Even though (fill in the blank according to what is going on in your life right now), I will not fear, for you are with me, God. You will use Your shepherd’s tools to protect and comfort me. Amazingly, You even prepare a table before me, right in front of my enemy. This means that You’ll be there, right in the midst of my circumstances.
You’ll anoint my head with Your oil, setting me apart for Yourself and I’ll be filled to overflowing through Your Holy Spirit. Your character is good and merciful, and You’re for me, and throughout eternity I’ll remain with You. This truly is good news!
Learning to approach and trust the Shepherd when crisis arises isn’t something you’re taught in school. It must be experienced personally, step-by-step, crisis-by-crisis.
God’s word reveals an abundance of truth about His faithfulness, goodness and mercy, but in order to know His truth in a way that results in freedom, you have to apply the truth to every situation and state you find yourself in.
King David, who wrote Psalm 23, spent many hours guarding his father’s sheep using a staff and rod to protect and discipline them. Oil would be poured on their heads to keep them healthy, dealing with parasites, and the path he chose to lead them on guaranteed safety. Scripture testifies that there were times when David had to fight off predators and so ultimately, by his very presence, the entire flock could comfortably lie down and rest by still waters without fear. The sheep under David’s watchful eye were well cared for and secure in his capable hands, but only when they responded to their shepherd’s leading.
‘The Shepherd knows His sheep and they listen to His voice and they follow Him’ (John 10:27).
Prayer: Lord, You are the great Shepherd and You know and love Your sheep. You have demonstrated Your great love in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Despite my circumstances today, I choose to respond to Your voice and follow Your leading, trusting Your watchful eye and capable hands to keep me safe in you. Amen.
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