Is God Your Shepherd?

Psalm 23 says:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

When I was a kid I remember one day where the neighbourhood boys, who were much older than me, were picking on me as I tried to use the swingset. They were pushing me around, calling me names, and kicking me off the swings. So, I went home and told my parents about it and my Dad said “Okay, go back to the swings, I’ll help you”. So, I went back to the swings, and sure enough, those boys came back and started pushing me around and picking on me. Well, my all of a sudden I heard someone running up behind all of us, and I turned around and saw my Dad running full sprint towards me. The boys saw him coming, bolted for the fence, and left the playground. My Dad kept running up to the swingset, saw that all was well, and then went back home. The boys left me alone after that.

When I was reading this Psalm this week I remembered the way I felt as a kid with Dad around. If I was going through something difficult, as long as he was there, everything was gonna be alright. I like that we have examples like this in our lives that give us a glimpse of what it’s like to be with God. Because when I read Psalm 23, as much as it reminds me of my childhood, it’s also true of my walk with Christ. This is how I see my relationship with God.

David starts this Psalm with the imagery of a shepherd. Someone who looks after a flock of sheep, guiding them through the wilderness, protecting them from wolves and other predators, and seeking them when they are lost. And in light of that relationship to the shepherd, this is how life is. Lying down in green pastures, lead beside still waters, guided along the right paths. And even in the face of danger, or evil, feeling comfort from the shepherd who is leading.

I know that there have been times in my life where I wouldn’t have resonated with Psalm 23 the way I do now. And the reason that I didn’t then, is because I was trying to be the shepherd. I was trying to lead myself through the darkest valleys. But let me tell you, I’m nowhere near the shepherd that God is.

So, if you read Psalm 23, and you it doesn’t reflect your relationship with God, let me ask you, is He your shepherd? Is he guiding you? Or are you trying to guide yourself? If you are, let me tell you that when we let God take the lead, and we rely on him for guidance, strength, perseverance, and comfort, Psalm 23 is what life is like. It’s not always easy, or happy, or free of trouble. But in the face of difficulty, we fear no evil, and his rod and staff are a comfort.

If you have not turned to the Lord to be your shepherd, I would encourage you to do so. Psalm 23 is what’s in store for you when you do.

Mike Sanders

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