Megan Evans, Women’s Ministry Director, LHBC

Psalm 23 (ESV)
1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.
4 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.
5 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

Is Jesus your Lord and Shepherd?  In a world that champions self-sufficiency, it can be hard to submit your life to the posture of dependence on a shepherd.  Yet it is in the very identity of being one of the Lord’s “sheep” that we find our greatest place of freedom and peace.  

The author of Psalm 23 knew this relationship well. Before his years as king, David was a shepherd.  Long days spent out in the pastures with his herd taught him a unique perspective on how God cares for us.  Do you allow God to teach you about His wonderful promises through your career and/or daily circumstances?  

As a shepherd, David diligently met the needs of his sheep.  He provided for his sheep’s physical needs as well as gave them watchful presence and guidance.  As a result, his sheep grazed safely and they could lay down and rest well-nourished under their shepherd’s watch.  

Left to themselves, sheep are vulnerable animals prone to wander off into danger and injury.  With a strong instinct to follow, sheep will follow another sheep in front of them right off a cliff!  A sheep that falls over onto his back can even get stuck and die in distress. In order for a herd to thrive they must find fresh tender pasture and clean water, but without a shepherd sheep will often overgraze and become malnourished.  Are we really that much different?  

Jesus says in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd:  the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”  Perhaps you know Jesus as your Savior, but do you follow him as Lord and Shepherd of your life?  Have you taken time to learn and recognize your Shepherd’s voice (John 10:3)?

Do you know Jesus as the One who meets your needs (Matthew 6:31), the One who rescues you and steadies our legs (Psalm 40:2), the One who protects you as you come and go (Psalm 121:8)?  Like sheep we’d much rather wander off right paths, but we are sure to land in danger.  Rod and staff never feel good as they bristle against our whims, but they become a comfort and protection when we learn to recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd calling us to safety.  

Today, rest in the daily care and protection of Jesus. Let the Good Shepherd restore your soul and lead you to green pastures and peaceful waters where you can be nourished and regain your strength (Psalm 23:1-3).  Let Jesus guide you through scary and unfamiliar places for He is close beside you, and let contentment and blessing pursue you instead (Psalm 23:4-6). 

Dear Lord, thank you for your care and protection over my life.  I was eternally headed for death and destruction yet you saved me by your work on the cross instead.  You continue to care for me daily and guide me as I live out my days on this earth.  Teach me to recognize your voice in all circumstances and follow you each day. In Jesus Name, Amen.    

John 3:30
He must increase, but I must decrease.