|Good Morning Everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “You are loved”
Our Bible verse for today: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” Psalm 23:1 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Your Shepherd cares for you.”
This morning I want to continue our discussion from yesterday about Jesus’ role as our Good Shepherd. If you didn’t read yesterday’s devotional message, I encourage you to do so because this one builds on that one.
In his great little book “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” Philip Keller helps us to understand that this Old Testament Psalm is actually a prophetic look forward to Jesus’ declaration in John 10:11 that He is our “Good Shepherd”. Keller helps us to understand what that means for us. Let’s take a look:
“The Lord is my shepherd …” David makes this intensely personal. The Lord isn’t just “a” shepherd, He’s not even just “the” shepherd. No, He is “my” shepherd. There’s a clear sense of love and devotion felt by the sheep for the shepherd. Why? We will find out in the verses to come.
“I shall not be in want.” This statement is forward-looking and conveys a deep sense of trust and assurance. This sheep is confident in the love, good intentions, and in the ability of his shepherd to provide for his needs. There’s no worry or anxiety about the future.
“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.” The Good Shepherd creates the conditions whereby the sheep can simply lay down and rest. There’s a sense of peace and assurance. The sheep does not need to remain on his feet, alert and worried about potential danger. His shepherd is there to protect Him and so he can rest in peace. In conjunction with that, the shepherd provides the cool refreshing water the sheep needs in order to be renewed and rejuvenated. The shepherd creates these conditions for the sheep. And if the sheep wanders off the designated path into dangerous regions he’s not supposed to be in? The Good Shepherd takes actions to get him back where he should be. After all, this is one of the Good Shepherd’s sheep, and the condition of the sheep says something about the shepherd.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” Even under the care of the Good Shepherd, life can sometimes be dangerous and difficult. But the confident sheep trusts his care and protection. If we really believe what was said about our Shepherd in verses 1-3, then we trust Him in situations like verse 4. The rod and the staff are symbolic of His absolute power to handle any situation for us.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” This well-cared for, well-protected, deeply loved sheep experiences great blessings even in the presence of enemies and dangerous situations. In the middle of all that, the Good Shepherd is there blessing and anointing His precious sheep.
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This confident and assured sheep knows that goodness and love will follow him all his days because he is under the care of a very good shepherd. And when this life is over, he will go to sheep-heaven.
What a great promise. What a tremendous assurance. You are loved and you are cared for by the Good Shepherd.
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