The Lord is my Shepherd

on-the-green-pasturesI know we are all familiar with the passage of Psalm 23. I think even non Christians may know bits and pieces of this passage. It is a well known passage of comfort, peace, love, and guidance. It it is probably one we learn as a child.

It is also probably one that we sometimes mindlessly recite without really stopping and thinking about the awesomeness of its meaning.

We recite the words in a robotic motion. Sadly, I think many times we do this with scripture too often. Even though it is a well known passage, and one we hear many many times, sometimes we would benefit from stopping and meditating on these familiar passage, and really FOCUS on the depth of their meaning.

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3     He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
6 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.

This is the New Living Translation. I love the simplicity of it, yet it provides such a powerful picture of our Savior. Jesus Christ.

Let’s break it apart, shall we?

The Lord is my Shepherd, I have ALL that I need

Yes. With God, we DO have all that we need. Sometimes, we THINK we need more. We THINK we need a bigger home, more bedrooms, more bathrooms, more money, more clothes, better clothes, etc etc etc… but we need to trust God to provide our daily needs. There is a passage in the Bible that says as long as we have food and clothes we should be content. WOW. Hard, right? Now, God knows we need shelter, warmth, etc, but the point is that God knows this, and He is challenging us to remember that. God wants us to put our complete trust and faith in HIM to provide those needs. The Lord knows what we need WHEN we need it! He will never fail. Awesome huh?

He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

This part is super comforting to me as a mother. Moms get tired. Shoot. We all get tired. Mother with infants get ESPECIALLY tired. Night feedings, early wakings, teething, etc etc etc… it can all seem like TOO much sometimes. It can seem like we may crash and burn because we are not getting enough rest…  but that is where this passage gives comfort. When we choose to place our faith in Christ, we will find rest IN HIS strength. He never grows weak or weary. He will provide the strength and rest we need to make it through whatever task lies ahead of us.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.

There is something I notice about this passage. The use of the word WHEN. It doesn’t say IF I walk through the darkest valley. It says WHEN. As followers of Christ, we will ALL face struggles and hard times. It is not something you can “pray away.” We should always be talking with our Father, yes, and we should always have faith… BUT we will all face hardships and valleys at some point in our lives. We will all face times that it seems like we cannot get any lower. That is when we need to look to Christ. He is always with us, even when it seems He is not. He never leaves us. His rod gently guides us. Sometimes we face consequences for straying away from the Father, just as children who disobey their parents. However, even in those times He is still with us.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. 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.

WOW! Did you see this part? Amazing! My cup OVERFLOWS with blessings! It isn’t just a half full kinda thing when we follow Christ… it OVER FLOWS! Whoa. I don’t know about you, but that is pretty amazing. We do not deserve the love and grace the Lord so generously gives us, but he POURS it out on us! He will do so for ALL our lives, and for ALL eternity! If we put our faith in Him our blessings will be eternal. FOR.EVER.

I don’t know about you, but Psalm 23 packs a pretty powerful punch.

 

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