The good shepherd.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake. (NIV)
The Shepherd has accepted responsibility for the sheep. When the shepherd looks at the sheep, it is with an eye on how to keep them safe from harm finding rest and peace. When the Lord looks at us, we often see Him as the Judge waiting to destroy us for something we have done wrong, but this is not how a Shepherd operates. He is not watching to see what the sheep do wrong. He watches already knowing they will do something wrong standing ready to rescue them.
Each day, the shepherd seeks out the best path for his sheep that they may be fed and watered well. Each night, he remains alert to the enemy looming in the dark. He carries a staff not to punish, but to warn, to rescue them from the heavy brush, to guide them along the right path. His energy is completely spent on the welfare of his sheep. This is our God.
The Bible says the eyes of God roam throughout all the earth looking for those who need strength. He has sent His Spirit to guide us to the path of righteousness where there is peace and rest. When we stray and get caught in thickets, He cuts us loose. When the wolves stalk, He stands guard. When we need sustenance, He knows the way. Is this how you see Him?
He is not the lazy shepherd who cares little for his sheep. He is the Good Shepherd seeing their every need is fulfilled while leading them to green pastures and still waters. The church has a Good Shepherd, diligent and determined to finish the work He has begun in us, leading, guiding, directing, protecting, and rescuing. The Lord is our Shepherd.
He is not far from us. He walks with us. He leads us with an eye behind him to see if any have strayed. When one strays, He goes after them, determined to not lose a single one. This is our God. This is my God. He is our Good Shepherd walking with us, never abandoning us, set on creating space where our soul finds rest. He is on guard. He will trample the snake, fight the bear, and drive the lion far from us. In Him, we trust. In Him, we rest. In Him, we lie down in green pastures.
Prayer: Lord, help me to find you as my Good Shepherd and let me know Your voice and follow you with all of my heart. Amen.