Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Psalm 23:1 Choose Jesus, Your Shepherd


The Lord is my Shepherd
I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

This verse describes a beautiful truth and presents a difficult choice. All in nine words.

The Lord is my Shepherd.

An amazing truth; an unchangeable fact
If you have accepted Jesus’ forgiveness and are building a relationship with Him, He is your Shepherd

Most of us picture a gentle man carrying a lamb, with sheep gathered around Him. A peaceful, pastoral scene. But really, when is life peaceful? Bills, kids and homework, an issue at work, a to-do list at home...there's always something.

Sometimes, we feel overwhelmed by the daily problems or decisions we face. How wonderful to know that our Shepherd is right by our side to calm us, to strengthen us, and to guide us. We can say, as Jacob said to Joseph in Genesis 48:15, "God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day." 

Jesus never takes a break, He never tires of hearing your voice. He loves you beyond your wildest imagination. 

We never walk alone, our Shepherd is with us.
  • He longs to provide what we need.
  • He offers guidance during difficult times.
  • He offers wisdom when we face hard decisions.

I shall not want.

There is such calm assurance with Jesus as our Shepherd, but David didn't end there. He proclaimed his choice to be continuously satisfied with the life his Shepherd gave him. 

Jesus is our faithful Shepherd, but we must choose to rest in his guidance and be satisfied with His provision.  


Remember the old saying, “The grass is always greener…”?

I've got a great husband, a nice 
house, a new car, great kids, two perfect grandchildren, three fun grandpets, and a dog who loves me unconditionally. 



But...

I see bigger houses and I want them. Surely they come with a maid!
I've always dreamed of having a Ferrari. My little Ford just doesn't cut it. Give me a bright red sports car!



Of course, I'm being frivolous, but sometimes I focus on what I don't have and miss the unbelievable blessings that surround me. Sometimes, I live in a grass-is-always-greener world. 

David didn't look beyond what he had, no matter the circumstance.  

  • When he hid in a cave to escape the men who wanted to kill him, he was at peace with his Shepherd (Psalm 57). 
  • When he lost his son born to Bathsheba, he went before the Lord, recognizing the justice of God's punishment and confident that God would forgive him and give him another son (Psalm 51).
  • When he lost his home and position as King of Israel, he was satisfied with his Shepherd's provision (Psalm 3).
What does it mean to say, "I shall not want."?
  • We choose to be satisfied with what He provides, no matter how small.
  • We choose to accept His guidance, though we might not agree.
  • We choose to follow where He leads, though we might wish to go elsewhere.
Does that sound harsh to you? I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not sure I'll ever reach this perspective. Sometimes, I look around and see needs that are unmet. Why shouldn't we have enough income to feed and clothe our families? Why do we see others who have to rely on someone else's generosity to live a simple life? 

Through his difficult life, David learned this one thing: 


My Shepherd can be trusted with my life. 
  • He won't leave us without guidance.
  • He strengthens us and helps us to follow Him closer each day.
  • He loves us and will continue to call us to His side.
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs
up his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently 
leads those that have young.  Isaiah 40:11


The Shepherd never leaves His sheep.


How do you see Jesus' ministry as your Shepherd in your life?

Monday, September 10, 2018

Psalm 23: The Good Shepherd

Photo by Antonello Falcone on Unsplash

The 23rd Psalm

Some of us know it. A few can quote it.

Whether it's familiar to us or we're discovering it for the first time, it has a deep richness we might have missed.

Many scholars suggest David wrote this psalm when he was trying to comfort Saul during the years he was so ill. Others think it might have been written during the difficult days when he was hiding in the caves to save himself from Saul's threats to murder him. 

In either case, can you see the reassurance and the deep faith in these words? 

During the years of Saul's insanity, David might have sung these words to calm Saul's spirit. During his days in a dark cave, perhaps David sang this psalm to the God he trusted above all.

I've been in difficult relationships and I've been trapped in a few dark caves. These words are so amazing to me because I'm not sure these are the ones I would say to God in those situations. Mine would probably grow out of frustration and fear. David's words came from his faith-filled heart.

With these beautiful words, David describes his deep relationship with his Shepherd.

His Shepherd. Our Shepherd

Before we explore Psalm 23, let's consider Jesus, our Shepherd. He is the shepherd who was willing to give His life for His sheep. A Shepherd who became a lamb. 

Jesus is the Lamb - He died on the cross and He rose again.
What is your view of the Risen Jesus? To me, He is radiant, majestic, a glorious King, seated on the throne by the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.
And then I read Revelation 5:
Then I saw a Lamb looking as if it had been slain, 
standing in the center of the throne, Revelation  5:6

Thousands of angels surround the throne and proclaim, "Worthy is the  
Lamb who was slain
 to receive power and wealth and wisdom and 
strength and honor and glory and praise!" Revelation 5:11-12
Revelation 13:8 calls Jesus the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.

Perhaps Jesus sits on the throne, not as a radiant King, but as the Lamb who shed His blood to cleanse us of our sins.

When I heard about Jesus, I looked back at my life and I could see the mistakes, the poor choices, and the selfish, hurtful things I'd done. How could I ever make up for those things?  Jesus took care of that!

Jesus was slain, killed on a cross, to erase my sin - your sin. He offers total forgiveness. When you ask Him to forgive you, He cleanses you of all sin and you stand innocent before God.

How amazing! Jesus was willing to die to take your penalty for sin and to offer you freedom.

Jesus died and was buried. Then comes the joy of Easter morning.

Jesus rose from the dead - He is alive, seated on the throne in Heaven with God. Because He lives, you are promised eternal life - you will spend forever with Him.

If you haven't come to Jesus and asked for His forgiveness, please do it now. 
He longs to spend eternity with you.

In my next post we'll rejoice in Psalm 23:1:

The Lord is my Shepherd
I shall not want.