The Lord is my Shepherd. I have all I need. He leads me by the quiet stream where I can rest and be refreshed. He takes away all my anxious thoughts and gives me hope. He guides me in the right direction and is utterly dependable. When I face unknown dangers, or even death, I’m not afraid. His peace overwhelms me. Even when I am attacked on all sides, I know I’m safe. His presence and provision surrounds me, and I’m comforted by His Spirit. Love and mercy always follow me, and I’m confident that I’ll remain with Him for ever.
The words of Psalm 23 have been hope and comfort to millions of people since they were first written by King David around 1000BC, and today they’re revered by many as a true reflection of the love of God. But does our own life experience reflect the assurances we read of in this psalm? Can we honestly say that all our needs are fully met? Have our anxieties truly faded away? How about the fear that lurks in the darkness of uncertainty and insecurity? Are we confident of His protection? How can we know the presence of God when battles rage all around us? And as for peace and hope of eternity, how can we sure that this is for us?
Perhaps our life experience doesn’t reflect the assurances we read of in this psalm. But it can. David knew the reality of God’s provision and blessings because he knew his Lord. ‘Lord’ is not just a name, or a title, but a personal acknowledgement of our relationship with God. We need to come under the covering of His Lordship before He becomes our Shepherd. Without recognising and receiving personally Jesus Christ as our Lord, we have no shepherd. But once we submit to Him, the Lord of lords, we’re safe.
The sheep know the Shepherd, and the Shepherd knows the sheep. The Shepherd cares for His sheep and protects them: ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand’ (John 10:27-28).
When our true relationship with Him is established we’re secure, and can confidently say along with King David, ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever’ (Psalm 23:6).
Prayer: Lord, why do I struggle to make it on my own? Forgive me for straying from Your path like a lost sheep, thinking I can find my own way. There’s only one way, and that is with You. Draw me back into Your fold, Lord, that I may again know the shelter of Your covering, in the name of Jesus, Amen.
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