Reading: Psalm 23:1-4
Verse 1: “The Lord is my shepherd.”
Psalm 23 is very familiar. Its words remind us of how deeply God can love and care for us. It speaks of the relationship that we can experience. David writes these words as one fully surrendered to God. In order to claim and to fully experience the relationship detailed in this Psalm, we too must be fully surrendered to God.
David chooses the shepherd analogy. He is drawing from years and years of being a good shepherd to his family’s sheep. In verse 1 David declares that he “shall not be in want.” God will provide for our daily needs. God will also provide for our emotional and spiritual needs. Not “might” – will! When we are surrendered to God, rest and restoration in green pastures and beside still waters is not optional. Surrendered fully, God will guide us in all righteousness. Sabbath is part of this.
God is also our shepherd when life gets difficult. Verse 4 reminds us that God will be fully present in the valleys – in those times when “the shadow of death” has fallen over our lives. When we lose a loved one, God is there to both comfort and protect us. God comforts us in our pain and also protects us against the evil one. In moments of loss, we are most vulnerable to the lies and manipulation of Satan. God protects us. Physical death is not the only deaths we experience. God is there in the loss of relationship, in the loss of a job or dream, in the loss of health… In all these, God comforts us and protects us. It is a provision so strong that we need not fear evil in any of these circumstances either. This fear can be fully surrendered to God too. Doing so, we find rest and restoration even in the valley of death or loss.
Psalm 23 reminds us of God’s presence and love and care in all of life. If we choose daily to surrender to and to walk in the presence of God, we are never alone. Thanks be to God.
Prayer: Lord God, your love and care for me is so amazing and wonderful. You guide me and lead me in what is right. You lead me to times and places that restore my soul. Help me, Lord, to surrender daily so that I can experience the fullness of your love and care. Amen.