Psalm 23: Good Shepherd



Who do you trust your life with?

Psalm 23 is one of the best known psalms because it's often read at funerals.  But it's not just for death.  It's for life!  Who is worth trusting and following above all others?  Like a sheep trusts and follows a shepherd?  For King David, who wrote this psalm - it's God!

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.

David has given his life to God it's changed everything for him.  He says he lacks nothing.  He can say this because he has everything he needs in God himself.  Knowing that he belongs to God brings him a deep rooted peace that nothing else could ever give him and that nothing else could ever take away.

David trusts God in the every day too - to guide him and help him make good choices and live a wise and fruitful life...

He guides me along the right paths
  for his name’s sake. 

There are right and wrong paths in life.  Not everyone lives wisely and knowing the difference between wisdom and foolishness is something we really need God to help us with.  God wants to guide our thinking and our choices when it comes to how we use our time, our energy and our money.  Foolish decisions can wreck lives!  The Bible is full of practical wisdom for the choices we face.  We need to know the God who made us and learn from him about the right paths in life so we can live wise lives with God that bring pleasure and honour to God.  

David also knows the comfort of God's presence on his darkest days...
 
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.


Life can suck!  Our worst days can be pretty dark.  Relationships can break, careers can end, good health fades.  We face many fears and there are many evil things and even people that seek to steal, kill and destroy lives.  But knowing God as our Shepherd means we can face these with him rather than without him, which makes all the difference.  And it means we have nothing to fear - not even death itself - because we can outlast it!

David knows the goodness and blessing of God, even while many enemies were trying to kill him... 
 
You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    for ever.

When Jesus came, he said, "I am the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep".  Through Jesus, by trusting and following him, we can know God as our Shepherd today.  He loves us!  And if we know him through Jesus we know he also protects, provides, refreshes, guides, comforts, blesses and promises us life with him both now and forever.

Psalm 23 is not just a funeral psalm.  It's a psalm for life!

Will you take your life in your own hands?  Or entrust your life to the God who gave it to you?  He's the Good Shepherd!

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