"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul."
The imagery of a shepherd and his sheep is one we see often in the Bible. Jesus Himself shared a parable about the shepherd who left all his 99 sheep to go and find the one who had gone astray. He is often referred to as the “Good Shepherd”. We will look at this psalm over the next few weeks, as we focus on the wonderful way that our Lord expresses all the many facets of a shepherd’s heart.
This message is for all the dear ones who are weighed down with the cares and concerns of the day. Stress and anxiety can cause you sleepless nights, but the Shepherd wants you to rest in His peace. He wants you to feel His sweet restoration within your soul and walk in His strength and power all the days of your life.
When the writer of this psalm (David) confessed that God was his shepherd, he was really claiming all the security that the sheep have when they are in the care of their shepherd. Sheep (ideally) need fresh green grass, clean water to drink, shelter, and the security of being able to lie down and sleep without any threat of harm or danger. They also need to be kept clean, and free from wounds, parasites, infirmity or pain. A good shepherd takes care of all these needs of the sheep. In John 10:3, Jesus speaks about the fact that the good shepherd is known by his sheep. They know his voice and he knows them by name. They can trust him because he always has their best interests at heart.
Friend, our Shepherd wants us to know that He has our best interests at heart. He truly loves His sheep and wants us to come to that state where we will confidently say “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” In John 10, Jesus also spoke about good shepherds and bad shepherds. While the bad shepherds run away from their sheep when the going gets tough, the good shepherd covers His sheep with His constant presence and takes care of their every need at the cost of his own comfort and well being. He lays down His life so that they will live in His rest.
There may be some “sheep” who wonder why they never feel a sense of peace and restoration in their soul, and why they can never know true contentment. It is because they choose not to lie in the green pastures the Shepherd has given them, or they dislike the field they are in. We often look over someone else’s fence and think the grass looks greener there, or we look back towards something we knew in the past and regret that it is not our present because it felt like better grass. Dear friend, God never makes mistakes, and even if we do, He is able to turn them all around for our good. Wherever we are situated, they are the pastures the Shepherd has given us to feed upon and enjoy for this season of our lives. The waters we drink are from the riches of His grace, from the River that flows from the throne of God, the new mercies that we are blessed with each day. The Father wants us to receive our rest, our growth, our commission and calling in the pastures we are in, and by the waters He has provided as we give Him thanks and yield to the moving of His Spirit on every aspect of our lives. Although they may not seem very green and luscious to you, they are to Him and can be transformed in your eyes as you begin to see them (people and situations) through His love! Everything in your life is subject to the King of kings and the Lord of Lords. Even every unsavory situation or experience has to bow its knee to the name of Jesus, who is your Shepherd and Lord, and holds your life in His hands.
Today the Lord reminds you: “I am your Shepherd. Hear My voice. I have promised to take care of you and be your all sufficiency. If you can trust Me you will see that I AM. I am true, I am faithful, I am trustworthy, I am your never failing, never changing Shepherd and Friend. Everything you could ever need or want to know is found in Me. If you are in want, then it is because you are still learning to be a sheep and to let me be your Shepherd. I am able to fulfill every need if you will truly trust in Me. I will never let you down. I am your healing, your deliverance, your revelation, and the One who wants to bring breakthrough into every difficulty in your life. Choose to look to Me and not to the systems of the world. I can take care of you. I have promised to do so through Eternity. I am your Shepherd and when you are in Me, you truly will not want”.
May this week be filled with the peace that only the Shepherd brings. You are loved, you are held in His hands. You have everything you need because the Lord is your Shepherd!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 30 September 2013