Scripture text for Monday, March 1st, 2010: Psalm 23:1-23:6
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Psalm 23 is one of the most memorized passages of the Bible. Do we just know the words in our heads or is the concept of this passage truly understood and in our hearts? To truly grasp this psalm we need to grasp it from the writer’s perspective.
This is a psalm of David. David may have written this late in his life after being battered and baffled by the trials of life. He had gone from shepherd boy to king, but he had made this transition through many years of deprivation, hardship and victory (1 Samuel 17 – 2 Samuel 24). He had been tried and tested in the dark valleys and on the mountaintops.
David was a shepherd and knew the characteristics of sheep. Sheep will not lie down unless they feel safe. Sheep will not drink water unless it is still. They are helpless, defenseless and totally dependent on a shepherd to remove all fears so they can rest. Sheep are notorious for going astray. They get lost easily. A shepherd must have the interest of his sheep in mind since by their very nature sheep cannot find their own way. As soon as a sheep loses touch with the shepherd it is on the wrong path and in danger.
We as humans will jump from one thing to another, be lured and enticed simply because we have no guide, boundaries or direction. We will nibble ourselves into trouble often unaware of the dangers and consequences. I believe the most stressful part of our lives is the uncertainty of our future. We are all God’s sheep just looking for our way. We have to make countless decisions daily that may affect the rest of our lives and the life of many others; family, friends, co-workers. We need wisdom. We need a decisive word from one that knows the way. We need a shepherd.
Who better for a shepherd than the one that created us, loves us unconditionally, anticipates our every need and knows the right path? We have a great need for a shepherd to lead, guide and direct us. We need a shepherd that can restore our corrupt souls. Jesus Christ is that shepherd. No one can provide the protection for us that He can.
By making Him our shepherd, we need to have “deaf ears” to other voices and cling to Him. Unless we are willing to admit we don’t know the way on our own and submit whole-heartedly to His leadership we will never find our way. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus knows His sheep. He knows every characteristic about us and our needs. Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me” (John 10:27).
Devotion prepared by Lanie Nelson