Psalm 23 is probably the most well-known and best loved of all the psalms. It’s a comfort to read and to meditate on. It inspires hope and confidence, but where does it sit in our experience? Are we living in the same relationship with God that David had when he wrote those memorable words?
‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want’ … or ‘I lack nothing.’ Can we say this is true in our own lives when our back is against the wall and we don’t know which way to turn? Are we truly walking by the still waters on the paths of righteousness? When was the last time we felt cheated or of-fended, or had angry thoughts towards someone? Did the still waters get a bit churned up?
How about the ‘valley of the shadow of death?’ Can we say with confidence that we’re not afraid? David said, ‘I will fear no evil. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.’ He had faith in the Lord to protect him. When we’re out there on the battleground and the enemy is throwing his fiery darts at us, can we confidently hold up our shield of faith as our defence?
‘Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.’ Perhaps we need to pause occasionally and allow them to catch up with us. Then we can be aware of His grace and rest in His peace.
When we say ‘the Lord is my shepherd’ we understand Him to be the good shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep (John 10:15). But do we know Him as Lord? Can I truly confess that Jesus Christ is my Lord? When I recognise Him as Lord, I can know Him as Shepherd.
Jesus has already paid the price for our sins by His blood. We know this so well. We’re aware of this privileged position we have in Christ and have so much to be thankful for. ‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away ... the new has come’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). The same relationship that David enjoyed with his Lord when he wrote this psalm can be ours.
‘Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep’ (John 10:17). Let’s enter by this gate, into the care of the Shepherd, carefully closing the gate behind us, so that the devouring wolves can’t follow and snatch us away. There we are secure, under His care and protection. There we can live in the fullness of the promises that David experienced, and confidently say along with him, ‘You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows ... and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.’
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You know me by name, and that You allow no one to snatch me out of Your hand. Please forgive me for the times I have strayed away from Your flock and drifted into danger. Help me to recognise Your voice and to follow You more closely so that I remain with You always. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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