October 5 - Psalm 23

Sunday, October 5, 2008

October 5 - Psalm 23:1-6

This is probably one of the most familiar and one of the most loved Psalms. I memorized it 35 years ago for my confirmation class, I've heard it spoken and read at numerous funerals, I've recited it during times of distress, I've sung it in varying forms of song. All I have to do is hear the first few words and the entire Psalm opens up before me: "The Lord is my shepherd."

There are three wonderful points to this Psalm.

First, the Lord walks beside us while we live on this earth. He provides for us, he brings us to rest and he offers us righteousness. Secondly, He provides for us in death. The darkness cannot overwhelm us while the rod of the Shepherd is protecting us. Finally, we find ourselves living with the Lord in eternal life. From life to eternal life, the Lord is with us.

David began his life as a shepherd. He was tending his sheep when Samuel came to Jesse's home searching for the future king of Israel. (I Samuel 16:11-13). Kings in the ancient near-East proclaimed themselves as shepherds of their kingdom and the prophecies of the Messiah signified that he would come as a shepherd-king (Isaiah 40:11).

Jesus proclaims Himself as the Shepherd in John, chapter 10 (John 10:1-30). In this beautiful passage, He tells us that 'his sheep follow because they know his voice.' (John 10:4) and that 'the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep (John 10:11). Finally, in John 10:27-30, we are told that He knows His sheep and they can never be snatched from His hand.

The comfort from Psalm 23 and the assurance from John 10 reminds me that even though I am a strong-willed woman, there is one Shepherd that I can feel safe in allowing to guide my life.

As you go through your day, imagine the Shepherd walking before you, clearing the way, ensuring that the world knows you belong to Him.