The Lord Is My Shepherd

Do you ever wish you had someone to watch over you? At times we realize that we do but at other times we can feel very alone. I am reminded of the watchful care that I am under when I read the 23rd Psalm. This has been a song of comfort for many over the ages and it has been a great comfort to me.

“The Lord is My Shepherd.” Not just anyone’s—but mine—my very own personal guardian and protector. “I have all that I need.” Everything I need and desire has been taken care of. I don’t need to feel a shortage of anything. That covers my emotional well-being, my physical well-being, my financial well-being, my relational well-being, and my spiritual well-being. Wow—everything is supplied!

“He lets me rest in green meadows.” Picture repose and quietness. God wants to give me peace and rest. Sheep only lie down when they feel safe. My Shepherd wants me to lie back in the safety and knowledge that I am watched over and protected. I can lay down my anxieties and burdens and rest in the knowledge that I can safely rest while God watches over me.

“He leads me beside peaceful streams.” It is in the quiet streams that the sheep are able to drink. God finds just the right place for me to find nourishment. I can trust that my spiritual infilling will proceed at just the right pace. God doesn’t teach me about “Himself” from a fire hose but from quiet waters. I can trust that I will be given exactly what I need at just the right time from just the right source.

“He restores my soul”. God is in charge of my healing. Living can extract a price on your soul. Some experiences wound us deeply. This promise tells me that God will pull back together the fragments of my soul that have been lost through the hard lessons in life. I can trust that I will be made whole by entrusting the care of my soul to God.

“He leads me along right paths bringing honor to His name.” When I trust the Spirit with my healing in my life, I am led on a path in service to others that glorifies the name of God and I become a witness to the goodness and mercy of God. The power of God shines through me and testifies that God is good.

“Even when I walk through the darkness of death, I will not fear evil for You are close beside me.” There is nothing that we go through in life that God doesn’t watch over and go through with us. We are never alone. The Spirit, if desired in our lives, is constantly with us through every trial and every difficult experience.

“Your rod and your staff comfort me.” The staff was used by the Shepherd to help protect the sheep. The one end had a crook that could be used to pull a sheep from danger. The staff could also be used as a rod of protection against wild animals. God uses numerous ways to protect, teach, discipline, and train me. I can trust that just the right method will be employed to keep me safe and help me grow and learn the things I need to know.

“You prepare a banquet table for me right in the presence of my enemies.” I really love this picture. You can’t eat when you’re afraid. To have the imagery of dining even in hostile circumstances lets me know that God’s protection is infinite and complete. Even in spite of appearances, I am constantly able to “feast” in the goodness and love of God. I never need to be paralyzed by fear.

“You anoint my head with oil.” Anointing with oil is a tradition that symbolizes being set apart for a special, sacred use. It also refers to the anointing balms that a shepherd would apply to the wounds of the sheep. I like the dual inference that suggests that I am not only chosen for service in God’s Kingdom but that I am also watched over and that any wounds I encounter along the way are treated with healing tenderness and mercy.

“My cup runs over.” There is not enough room in my life to contain the abundance of the Universe. The blessings are so great that they spill out from my life onto the lives of those around me. My cup is ever full and over flows. There is always more than enough!

“Surely, your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” God is the persistent, unfailing lover of all of creation. Just like the story of the Good Shepherd who left his 99 sheep to look for the one that was lost, so Christ, the Good Shepherd, constantly pursues and woos me with love. His love will never end. He will never get tired of me. I will always be the “apple of His eye”.

If you will take this Psalm and meditate on it every day until it becomes a reality in your life, I promise you that you will never feel alone. God watches over you like the tender shepherd cares for his sheep. Remember friend, God loves you!