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  • Writer's pictureKandi Swift

The Lord is My Shepherd

Psalm 23:1 (ESV) - "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

Psalm 23 is a well-known passage of scripture, used even by those that may not have a relationship with God but found themselves at a time in their life that they needed “something”. So, they turned to this passage for hope and comfort. I remember having to memorize these verses in Sunday School as a young child. I’m sure I didn’t really understand what they meant back then, but because they were held in my memory, I have been able to reach for them at times in my life when I, myself, needed comfort and hope.

“The Lord is my shepherd.” When I looked up the original meaning of the word shepherd, as referred to in this particular scripture, I discovered that not only does it mean to look after or tend to, but it also means to be a teacher and to associate with as a friend. This means the Lord doesn’t just tend to us as an earthly sheepherder would do. It means that while He is doing all those things a shepherd would do, such as providing food and protecting from danger, He is also teaching and befriending us.

For a moment, let’s think about what a teacher does. A teacher knows their subject area and takes us through lessons to teach us what they know. They test us to see if we understand the lesson and, if not, continue to teach us until we do. Teachers are in charge of making sure we are equipped with the knowledge necessary for passing the test. They give us the tools, the steps and the method to reach the answer. But wait. Not only is our Shepherd a teacher, He is also a friend. We know that a true friend is one who walks alongside us as an equal, even if we aren’t. They lay down titles and positions while fellowshipping with us, but when a situation requires it, they deposit their knowledge and wisdom into us that the experience of their title has afforded them. They hold our hand through difficulties and rejoice with us in times of celebration. They are someone we can always count on, talk to, and laugh with. In most instances, a teacher cannot also be our friend, in the true sense of the word, because of their authoritative position. However, God, our Great Shepherd has the ability to be fully both at the same time.

“I shall not want.” When the Lord is our shepherd - our caretaker, protector, teacher and friend - we see that everything we need is wrapped up in who He is. We lack for nothing. If we need provision, He is the Shepherd, our caretaker. If we have been facing an onslaught or attack from the enemy, He is the Shepherd, our protector. If we have failed time and again, He is the Shepherd our teacher. If we need someone to bear our soul to, He is the Shepherd, our friend.

Do you need a Shepherd today? I know I do. As I continue to read the verse that follows, “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul …” I also discover that He desires I find rest and my soul be at peace. And who doesn’t need that in this crazy, busy world we are living? I encourage you today to finish reading Psalm 23 and allow Him to be your Shepherd. Meditate on the parts of the passage you need most, whether it be the caretaker, protector, teacher or friend. Talk to Him as though He is sitting right next to you. All that you need is in Him.


Scriptures:

Psalm 23 (ESV) -

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

Prayer

Lord, I thank you that you are the Great Shepherd. You are my caretaker, protector, teacher and friend and anything I need can be found in You. May I have a teachable spirit as you instruct me in Your ways. Restore my soul and let goodness and mercy follow me all my days.

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