A well-known scripture can contain deep truths that we have missed. For me it was so with Psalm 23. There are wonderful promises in this psalm about lying down in green pastures, being led beside quiet waters, and having our soul restored.
Who is the one that can do all these things for us? The Lord! David could have written, `God is my shepherd`, and if I were the author of that psalm, I would have written, `Jesus is my shepherd`. Both are true, but David’s wording reveals something so important. God can only be my Shepherd when I let Him be my Lord. The Lord is my Shepherd only when the Shepherd is my Lord.
Many years ago, I was working in a kindergarten in Norway. During the winter months, we had a lovely, long toboggan run outside the fence of the kindergarten. The children loved to play there, but there was one challenge. At a certain point there was a lamp post, and it was my responsibility to protect the children from hitting the pole. I didn´t have the time to stand all day in the front of the pole to protect them. Instead, I gave them instructions not to use that part of the toboggan run. If a child ignored my instruction, it could have serious consequences. My instructions were the children’s protection.
Our Shepherd is performing His shepherd-ship by giving us instructions about how to avoid danger. If we are following His instructions, we don’t need to ask Him, “God, can You please protect me?” The protection is built in, when we follow the instructions.
God gives us twelve promises in this psalm. I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. He will be with me. His rod and staff will comfort me. He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies. He anoints my head with oil, my cup overflows. Goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
God is trustworthy. He will keep His promises, if I meet the one and only condition of allowing the Shepherd to be my Lord.
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