Psalm 23 — We need not despair — Reading the Psalms

A Psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul:
He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for thou art with me:
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

The Lord is our Shepherd; why do we struggle with want? Why do we look up the tall sides of the dark valley of death with despair in our hearts? Why do we resist the grace that restores our souls, that feeds us with cups overflowing?

Might it be our selfishness? Might our desire to feed self seek its own food – corrupted & cheap – rather than the bread of heaven? We feel passions for pleasures; we feel frustration in fruitlessness. When will we connect this impassioned and enflamed fruitlessness with the sickness that is our selfishness? 

Let the Lord be your shepherd! Let the Lord direct, lead and feed you with still waters and green pastures. Let the Lord be your Shepherd, leading you for his name’s sake, in his name; it will be to your blessing and glory!

Maybe our pride gets in the way. Maybe the thought of being led feels like a weakness. Being pushed and prodded by another, for their sake, may be loathsome to you. Maybe you want to show your independence and value on your own, never needing a Lord to lead. How well will you walk?

How have we walked in this world without a Shepherd? Why boast of our skill and strength when reality, like a mirror, demonstrates our defects and deficiencies. We’re in a wilderness; we need someone to help and guide our walk. The shadows of death are dark, but we need not despair. We have a Good Shepherd. Even in the face of trouble we are led and fed in security and strength.

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