“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:1-3
The shepherd took care of the sheep. This might sound basic but it was far from a simplistic job; they would take the sheep out to pasture in the morning, watching over the whole flock to ensure they didn’t go astray, get attacked by a predator or eat poisonous plants. If they did wander, they would go and get each wandering sheep and bring them back. They would lead their sheep to food and then to water (often having to find this in times of drought or famine). They would keep count of their sheep, specifically at night when coming back to the fold. BUT the job didn’t end there; they then would watch the sheep as they slept; making sure that wild animals or thieves didn’t attack when the flock was sleeping.
When David says “The Lord is MY shepherd” – we really could just stop there as there is so much in that statement alone. In all things: in our eating, our drinking, our direction, our resting, the risks we experience, the danger we can encounter, we have a good shepherd who is watching over us at all times and in all circumstances to lead us through it.
But he goes on! He says “I lack nothing”: unless we pause first to think about the fact that God is our shepherd, we don’t understand “I lack nothing”. When we understand God is our shepherd, we see that we can depend on him for everything. The sheep lack nothing because the shepherd ensures they have all the need. All they need to do is trust the shepherd. As we trust in God, we can know we lack nothing. Circumstances can be tough but God will lead you to what you need for the moment and protect you.
The passage goes on to show us that the path of following the shepherd is a good path: green pastures to rest in, quiet waters to drink from and a place of refreshment. God doesn’t promise a life with no challenges or problems; the fact the shepherd needs to protect the sheep says there will be enemies that can come. There also will be times of drought or famine. But as we read in this verse: “he leads me” – God will lead us through the tough times to the promise He gives us. This might mean a journey but the truth is, He is leading us to his good promise and refreshing us every day.
Right now circumstances may be challenging, but let this passage remind you that as you follow the good shepherd, He is leading you through the challenging moment. This 21 day fast is a great time to refocus our trust on God as our shepherd: re-laying our lives before Him and putting our trust in His guidance. Choose to look to God before worrying about a situation: He has got you.
Pastor Helen Ratcliffe