Psalm 23 was my mom’s favorite. Most nights, she included it as part of her evening prayers. She said praying those words gave her the peace she needed to relax and rest.
There is peace in our Shepherd’s presence.
Growing up, my family lived much of life at Our Shepherd Church. I used to say that if the doors were open we were there. Even the school I attended was connected to our church.
So, between my parents, teachers, and pastors I learned about the Lord, my Shepherd, at a very young age.
They taught me that sheep are generally docile . . . that they would definitely not be on the list of most intelligent or clever creatures in the animal kingdom, and that they are fearful crowd-followers who constantly need guidance and care. Sheep need the shepherd’s presence.
The Life Application Bible Notes add “sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection.
And you and I need provision, guidance, and protection. We need the Lord, our Shepherd!
Why? Because He provides us with everything we need!
As a shepherd, David knew the neediness of sheep and he readily identified with them, saying…
The Lord is my shepherd;Psalm 23:1
I have all that I need.
Then, throughout the rest of this Psalm, David tells us how his “shepherd” meets those needs.
♥ He gently guides us along a path that leads to peace and contentment…
He lets me rest in green meadows;Psalm 23:2
He leads me beside peaceful streams.
♥ He generously forgives us, strengthens us, and gives us what we need to trust and obey…
He renews my strength.Psalm 23:3
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Are you walking through a dark valley? Do you feel helpless and afraid?
The Lord, our Shepherd wants you to know that you are never alone.
♥ He carefully protects us with His rod and guides us with His staff in our dark valleys.
Even when I walkPsalm 23:4
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for You are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
♥ He abundantly provides for us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually…
You prepare a feast for mePsalm 23:5
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
♥ He lovingly watches over us every moment now and forever and always…
Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will [follow] mePsalm 23:6
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
So, whether our lives are perfectly peaceful or critically chaotic, you and I need the Shepherd.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.Isaiah 53:6a
Yes. We’re foolish sheep who can listen to the enemy’s lies and follow the crowd. We wander off His path. We need God’s help. We need Jesus!
Look at Isaiah’s next words…
Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.Isaiah 53:6b
The Father sent Jesus because we needed a Shepherd who would love us so much that He would lay down His life to save us.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.John 15:13 (ESV)
That’s how much our Shepherd loves us. Through Him, we are forgiven and free. Through Him, we have the promise of eternal life in God’s presence. Through Him, we have everything we need.
A Prayer to Live Every Day in the Shepherd’s Presence
Father, thank you! You have promised that nothing can snatch me out of Your hand. (John 10:29) And that You are always with me holding me close. (Psalm 73:23) I am surrounded by Your presence. And because of who You are and all You do . . . I have everything I need.
I have peace and contentment when I rest in Your love. I am forgiven, strengthened, and given all that I need to trust and obey You. I am protected and guided through the difficult days of my life. You provide for me in every area of my life, and all that I am and have is a gift from You. In Your loving care, I am safe and secure now and forever.
When I reflect on who You are and all You’ve done for me . . . I realize that I really do have everything I need. I thank You. I praise You. I worship You and invite You my Shepherd to be the Lord of my life. Amen.
Whatever is going on in your life today, pause and rest in the Shepherd’s presence.
Thank Him for guiding you, forgiving and strengthening you, protecting and providing for you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And thank Him for His promise that your future is secure in His unfailing love that lasts forever.
Sheep need a shepherd and they need to remain in the shepherd’s presence because when they wander off on their own or follow the crowd they can easily get lost or into trouble.
But our Shepherd came for us, saved us, and promises to watch over us and lead us because of His grace, mercy, and love.
So, today and every day going forward we can be confident that…
May God bless you today as you rest in His provision, guidance, and protection.
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