Psalm 23 (NRSV)-
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; 3 he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
Sheep are pretty helpless animals. They are not smart, and they scare easily.
David, the author of the 23rd Psalm, was a man who spent a lot of time around sheep. He used his experience as a shepherd to connect with God as his (and our) shepherd.
When he wrote Psalm 23, David had gone through some difficult times. So, when he writes, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley…”, we get the sense that his life was falling apart around him. And, he only made it through those times by focusing on God.
It is important to note that David did not focus on the things he was facing. Rather, he looked to his Shepherd to keep him safe, to provide for him, and to keep him headed in the right direction. Like each of us, David could not always figure out what was happening in his life. But, he relied on the truth of who God is to get him through tough times.
Even though his life was tough at times, David looked for ways God had provided for and protected him in the past. To this end, remembering how Jesus protects, guides, and helps us can make it easier to trust Him. And, trusting is not easy. It takes practice.
Today, since trusting Jesus takes practice, as we learn who Jesus is, we will be able to follow our Shepherd through any of life’s situations.
Father God, thank you for shepherding, protecting, providing for, and guiding David through all of his life’s circumstances. Like David, we have a good shepherd in Jesus. Please help us to follow Him. As we follow Him, please teach us to trust in Him. And, as we trust Him, please guide us through all of the situations that life throws our way. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!