“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 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)
Psalm 23 has been memorized by millions. Its words of comfort and assurance have blessed the hearts of those who have sought hope and peace for their troubled souls. I’ve found that to be true in my life. So I’d like to take a moment and share with you what the phrase, The Lord Is My Shepherd, means to me.
My Shepherd provides for me. Though I don’t always recognize His hand, He’s always at work meeting my real needs. Sure, sometimes I complain about things I wish I had but don’t. I wonder what the economy will do in the future – whether the grocery stores shelves will stay stocked. But the truth is that my shepherd provides what I really need: Assurance, forgiveness, hope and yes, my daily bread. So I can truly say that I shall not want.
He also encourages me to rest. He understands that the stress of modern life can create sleepless nights and fretful days. He knows that I live in a world that only values performance and busyness. But my Shepherd knows I need times of peace and quiet. So He encourages me to lie down beside quiet waters. He gives me time to recoup.
Not only that but He restores my soul. He understands that at times my soul gets depleted. There’s so much need. So many things that could be done. The news is frightening and bleak. I can feel the life drain out of me in the face of all the uncertainty that is before me. But in the middle of all these things, my Shepherd constantly seeks to restore me and to fill up my being with renewed strength and hope.
But He does more. Everyday I live, He is leading me toward a purpose. That purpose is grander than any purpose that I would ever have chosen for myself. That purpose is to honor His name. Throughout my life, He leads me down paths of righteousness. And every time I choose to follow Him, I have the privilege of proving His worth and glory to those who are around me. What a purpose my Shepherd gives me!
Sometimes the paths that I travel lead to dark places. There I find uncertainty and the threat of death. The drum beats of doom sound all around me. But my Shepherd encourages me not to fear. Because there is no path on which He will ever lead me that I will travel alone. He has promised me that He will always be with me giving me comfort even through the valley of the shadow of death. That’s how much my Shepherd loves me.
And my Shepherd knows that I have an enemy – principalities and powers of evil that war against me. It would be overwhelming if it were not for the fact that the Lord meets my needs right in their very presence. Instead of removing my enemies from my life, He has decided to demonstrate His love for me right in front of them. He sets a table of provision and grace that sustains me no matter how strong the attack.
But of all the things my Shepherd does for me, the greatest one is yet to come. My Shepherd has promised me that His goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. While He is in front guiding my way, His perfect love guards me from behind. And I am being ushered toward an irrevocable promise.
Someday I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I will join the saints throughout the ages who have traveled through their own shadowy valleys. Someday I will join them at the heavenly banquet table where there will be no more enemies. Someday I will enjoy the eternal rest prepared for me from the foundation of the world. And someday I will see my Shepherd face to face.
There is no shepherd like my Shepherd. And even though there are days when I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen to me or if anyone really knows where I am, I know that I have a Shepherd who will faithfully walk with me and guide me until I get to the place where He is.
So I don’t have to be afraid. For the Lord is my Shepherd. And so He is for all of His children. For He’s not only my Shepherd, He’s also our shepherd as well.
Brian Lee (D.Min., SEBTS) is a minister of the Gospel with more than 40 years of pastoral experience.
© 2021 XMegapolis. Used by permission.
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