Psalm 23 (NIV)
The Lord is my Shepherd. I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul. He leads me along the right paths, for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
You know, when I read and think about this Psalm, in all honesty, I admit there have been a few times that I have had to stop…and say…
“Whoa!!! Did I read that right?”
For example, the sentence that says, “I lack nothing.”
That is quite a statement. Nothing…as in zero, zilch, nada???
How is this even possible?
In my life, there have been more times than I have fingers and toes where I would say that I have definitely lacked something.
Or have I?
As a follower of Jesus, I am one of His sheep. He is my Shepherd…not a cranky, stiff fisted one, but my good Shepherd (John 10).
You know, I wonder how many sheep go up to their shepherd and dictate their needs and demand what they want?
Probably not a lot.
Because there is an element of trust that exists between the sheep and their shepherd…or at least there should be. The shepherd looks after the sheep, providing what they need as he leads them. Even when one decides to take its own path the shepherd goes after it…
Because He loves His sheep.
It is because the Lord is my Shepherd and because of His unfailing love and His watchful care that I can say…
I lack nothing.
And yet, can I be honest again?
Learning to trust Him as my Shepherd has not always been easy. And here is why…
Most of the time I see life from my perspective and think that I know what is best, when in reality…
He sees my life from the perspective of a Good Shepherd who loves me and knows what is best for me. He is the One who is leading me, and knows what is around the next corner.
Learning to trust my Good Shepherd – to believe that His love for me is unfailing, that He will supply every need, that He will never leave me or forsake me, that His plans for me are of good and not evil – has been a critical key in learning to and being willing to follow Him on the trails that He leads me.
Some trails are easy to follow – like the ones along green pastures and beside quiet waters. These are the times where He refreshes me, because He knows that I get tired, weary, and worn out. Because He loves me, He provides what I need…time to rest…to be restored.
Some trails are frightening. They lead through the darkest places…some through the valley of the shadow of death. Yet, even there – when it seems that I am all alone – He is there, comforting me with His presence, while directing my steps even when I cannot see.
Some trails bring me face to face with my enemies…into the presence of those who hate me, who speak meanly of me, who are intent on hurting me. Yet, even here, He prepares a table for me, showing me that He is my refuge and strength…an ever present help in trouble
Some trails lead me through pesky irritations and overwhelming trials. In the ditches of these trails there are appealing temptations that entice me to stop following my Good Shepherd and go my own way. Yet, even along these trails, He anoints my head with oil, providing me with the protection that I need, and filling my cup to overflowing so that I can follow Him with courage and confidence. And you know, when I give into those temptations and go astray, He doesn’t forsake me. Rather, He comes after me, forgives me and brings me back to His trail.
Regardless of the trail I am on, each and every day of my life, His goodness and His unfailing love are there…
Reminding me that the Lord is my Shepherd…my good Shepherd; therefore, I lack nothing.
And in the end…where will He lead me?
To His house, where one day I will dwell forevermore.
It is my hope and my prayer that today you will be strengthened and encouraged to trust your Good Shepherd – to believe that His love for you is unfailing, that He will supply every need, that He will never leave you nor forsake you, that His plans for you are of good and not evil. And in so doing you will choose to follow Him…
Along this trail.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5, 6 (NKJV)