“The Lord is My shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.” (Ps.23:1-3a)
This particular portion of my journey has taken me to some strange and unfamiliar places, both spiritually and emotionally. I’ve had to traverse terrain that is not known to me and go places that are not pleasant and I have not recognized. Doing so has left me feeling a bit dazed and confused. Much like a sheep.
I am so glad that we have the Lord for our shepherd. When He puts His sheep forward, He goes before them. “And when He putteth forth his own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him; for they know His voice.” (John 10:4)
The Shepherd is teaching me as we traverse over land that is not familiar to me and I get caught up in bramble bushes in my mind and it seems as though I am at the whims of fickle fate and the wolves that slink around, just waiting to take a bite out of my flesh as soon as I am far enough away from the Shepherd. But the Shepherd keeps His eyes upon me. He is ever alert and watchful and keeps me from all danger. All I have to do is follow the leading of my Shepherd.
Sheep are vulnerable and somewhat dumb creatures. They keep getting caught up in places they should not be and they are completely dependent upon the one that they are following. They do not have to worry about where they are to go for nourishment or to drink or to lie down in a safe place. All they do is trust and follow the Shepherd.
As I thought about these words:
The Lord is my shepherd. The Lord is my shepherd. The Lord is my shepherd. The Lord is my shepherd, my heart settled down and I realized that I was trying to take on the role of the Shepher, Himself. It is the Lord Who is my shepherd. I do not need to look after myself or take care of myself, for that is HIS role in my life. Let’s look at Psalm 23 again:
1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
I’d been feeling like I was walking through the shadow of death, but according to the Psalm, I shall fear no evil, for He (the Shepher) is with me. And He also prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. I had been in the presence of the enemies of my soul and my soul had started to shrink back in fear and intimidation, but the Lord reminded me that He’s got a banquet prepared for me in the presence of my enemies and that my cup runneth over with the oil of His goodness and His love and His glory. All I have to do is lean on and depend upon the goodness of my shepherd.
And my Shepherd is The Good Shepherd, who laid His life down for the sheep. Who died protecting them and loving them. And Who lives forever more to keep them in His very capable Hands of protection. His rod and His staff, they comfort me. For they lead me. HE leads me. And I can trust Him, no matter where the paths of life take me.
I’ve been feeling so vulnerable lately because the Lord has been leading me to places where I have never been in myself. In my emotions, in my feelings, in my insecurities, and in those pesky fears that creep up on me from time to time. But His rod is there to lead me, guide me, correct me, and keep me on the straight and narrow path that He has chosen for me and I have been following Him, though at times my feet have been a little shaky because I have been unfamiliar with the terrain.
But as long as I keep my eyes upon the Shepherd, I have nothing to fear. For He has made all provisions for me. All I have to do is trust Him. (Trust does not always come easily for me, especially when I am feeling vulnerable and I am not certain where I am being led, but I learn how to trust in the Lord more and more every day. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Prov.3:5) The more that I trust Him and not lean to my own reasoning and intellect, the more trustworthy I find Him to be…and that leads me to trust Him even more.
The lessons that I have been learning on this latest bend in the road of my journey have not been easy because I have not had the usual props and crutches that I had depended upon earlier, as I am learning to totally trust in God and His Word and not my feelings. That has not been an easy lesson for me because I have so been the kind of person who has depended upon and looked to my feelings for validation and vindication and even faith. It has been a total turning away from the way that I have been so used to being and that has been a challenge for me. But the Shepherd has been there all along, leading me and guiding me and showing me HIS way of doing things. And that is SO much better than the way that I had been previously living my life…at the whims of the fate and fickleness of feelings, which come and go, are up and down, and which lies to us on a continuous basis. How much better and how much more stable my life has been and is becoming because I am depending upon the Shepherd and His Word to be my source of life and comfort and joy.
The Lord truly is my Shepherd. And what a Shepherd He is!
Blessed be the Name of the Lord, my Shepherd.