In a world where foolish pride and stubborn independence seem to prevail, it is good to remind ourselves that true joy and freedom can only be found when we lay aside our willful wandering and choose to follow the only One who can actually lead us through this life safely and on into the next…
David opens the 23rd Psalm by declaring, “The Lord is MY Shepherd, I lack nothing”! David identifies (as we should) with sheep who belongs to the Lord. That said, sheep are apt to wander in search of whatever will satisfy their seemingly insatiable appetite. They are often foolishly unaware of trouble as they wander and completely helpless to rescue themselves when their wandering brings them to valleys of fear, pain or imminent danger. Were it not for a shepherd faithfully guiding, providing and protecting them, the sheep would surely perish.
Praise God that Christ is our Good Shepherd who lovingly and sacrificially cares for our EVERY need physically, emotionally, and event spiritually. Knowing this truth personally “makes it possible” for the Lord’s Sheep to lie down in green pastures and still waters, finding the needed refreshing for our wandering and weary souls. Even when the sheep cannot see the provision they need, the Good Shepherd faithfully guides the sheep (who willingly follow), because He cares deeply cares for all the sheep, leading them to exactly what they need, when they need it. Not always what the sheep want, but always what they need!
If we accept the challenge to see ourselves as David did, as Sheep belonging to The Lord, we will not only know His loving care, but we will know the saving grace of the Good Shepherd as well. We will know the relief and comfort of knowing that our Good Shepherd fights for us. He will use his rod and staff to beat off our enemy (the devil) and will reach out to us using his wooden staff (like He did on the wooden cross) and draw near to Him all who have wandered astray.
Even when the ‘shadow’ of evil and death makes a presence, the sheep can find confidence in the PRESENCE of the Good Shepherd; who is not shaken by a defeated foe. When the Good Shepherd brings a feast before the sheep and invites them to sit and eat. We can be still and know that the Good Shepherd is our God. As the Good Shepherd draws near to bring us the feast, the closer He gets, the less of the enemy we can even see. Instead of being overwhelmed, the sheep are blessed, anointed by the Good Shepherd.
All this to say that, like David, we can know the pursuing love and mercy of God all our days. As we grow in intimate relationship with the Good Shepherd, we will eventually find ourselves following Him right into eternity; where we can dwell in the house of Lord ~ forever!
The big question we all face is “HAVE WE ENCOUNTERED THE GOOD SHEPHERD”? Or are we still foolishly wandering, unaware that we face both physical and eternal danger. Maybe today is a good day to lay down our stubborn pride and independence and choose to follow the GOOD SHEPHERD….
(aka "One of His SHEEP)