The 23rd Psalm is possibly the best-known chapter of the Bible. It’s only 6 verses and 109 words yet for thousands of years it’s provided penetrating comfort to hurting and worried people around the world.
In just the first five words, “the Lord is my Shepherd”, there is a profusion of strength and hope.
The Amplified Bible extends beyond the word “shepherd” to describe the role of the shepherd…
…to feed, guide and shield me. And He does all of this “so I will not lack”.
The Shepherd feeds us.
The Shepherd guides us.
The Shepherd shields us.
He feeds His sheep.
Do we not have both physical, emotional and spiritual food abounding? Most of us have groceries when we need them, biblical wisdom at our fingertips, wise counsel if we seek it, spiritual and emotional resources and experts at the ready and great teaching and preaching available 24/7. And even when these things are lacking, He still is there to feed us Himself.
He guides His sheep.
Do we not know His guiding hand in our lives? The way He prompts us, nudges us…the way we hear that voice in our head that we know is not ours….the way He puts people in our path we need at that moment, the way He allows circumstances to repeat until we “get it”, the way He speaks to us in holy scripture and in our spirit in prayer, the way He speaks to us through wise friends.
He shields His sheep.
Do we not sense His protection over us? The injury that didn’t turn fatal, “somehow” making it home a little tipsy, somehow we kept from running into that one person that sets us off…and all the times fear, anxiety or terror grip us…and then we suddenly feel His peace, thwarting the enemy.
Yet, we, like sheep have gone astray….we ignore the one who wants to care for us, we turn our back on Him to pursue the urgencies of life (like updating our online profile), we walk through life as though being in a grocery store, yet starving for food. While the food is right in front of us (Christ) we somehow don’t see it or think to just look up and take from His bounty…His spiritual food, His guidance, His protection.
As I was thinking about this astoundingly profound section of Psalm 23, I wrote a child’s story about a little girl, a sheep and a shepherd. It’s also a story for adults as we are more often the ones that share the mind of the sheep in the story.
I hope you enjoy it.
“Oh Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus…..today, may I turn and take of Your hand, the one that is bountiful, the one who guides and the one that protects. Oh, God forgive me for turning my back on You and Your promises while I urgently went about my own devices. I need you. I need your care, your provision, your guidance and your protection. Come now oh Lord. I draw near to Thee. In the name of Christ, Amen.