April 19, 2018
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 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 runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. -Psalm 23
Jehoveh-Rohi in Hebrew means, The Lord my shepherd.
Our great shepherd watches over us, His flock, always with His everlasting love and protection. Leading the flock of sheep, the shepherd carries a rod, usually an oak club about two feet in length that He uses to guide us, not beat us up when we get off the path, but to gently nudge us back to the place of safety.
If a sheep runs away, the shepherd will search it out until He finds it. The shepherd calls and calls for that lost sheep and the lost sheep hears that voice and knows its shepherd.
There are dangerous places out there and the shepherd knows that very well. With club at the ready, the shepherd is armed to defend that lost sheep and the wild beast must go through the shepherd first before it can get to the sheep.
I once read that the sheep pen was a place where all shepherds would bring their flocks to rest. Once within the walls of that pen, the shepherd would lie down or sit at the door to protect the sheep while they rested. Once they have rested well, the shepherd calls their names, the sheep know his voice and follow him.
Our scripture reading from Psalms tell us our Shepherd, the Lord God, not only protects us, but He leads us to beautiful places of peacefulness and rest. There is no lack for the needs of the sheep if they remain under the watchful eye of the Shepherd. There are still waters there, green pastures with sweet tasting grass, and a safe place to lie down.
The Creator of heaven and earth wishes to lead us, not just show us the way to go. He will always go before us, leading us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. That means God has the only name that deserves to be exalted and He will protect His honor.
The psalmist shows us that we need restoration for our soul (our will, our mind, and our emotions). Following the Shepherd closely, we begin to do His will more, take on His mind in our decisions, and our emotions are solid as we do those two things.
We walk only through the shadow of death fearing no evil because God is with us. When we finally do pass through death, the believer begins to experience the joys and privileges of eternal life. Perfection that the believer has always sought is finally achieved, made perfect by the sacrifice that Jesus made as our great Shepherd.
Are you ready for goodness and mercy to follow you the rest of your life? Maybe you have been or are that sheep that has strayed from the shepherd. Close your eyes and listen. The Shepherd is calling your name because He loves you so and only wishes to protect you forever.