“God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.” Psalm 23:1-6 Message
This psalm alone presents every reason to be grateful. Often read at funerals, but it isn’t a death psalm, it is a life psalm. It is a reminder of God’s personal care in our lives. It speaks of His abiding presence in all circumstances. It testifies of His direction and correction to us, and of His provision in the midst of the most humiliating of moments. This psalm is a reminder that my life is full of blessing all of the time and that I am being pursued by a love and beauty that is out of this world. True security and hope are my portion when I choose to live out of what God speaks and not what I feel.
David is not offering empty words here. He has lived and understood God’s personal care in his life. He has faced his enemies, been overwhelmed by adversity, and can boldly declare that, as one who understands shepherding, God is a True Shepherd and does what true shepherds do, love their sheep.
We are told that, God is not just any shepherd, but my shepherd. He cares about me. I am provided for and have no lack in my life because of His love and intentions towards me. The possessor of all things, possesses my heart and makes available to me, all that is His. He takes my weary heart and anxious thoughts and brings me to a place of peace. When I am struggling to regain my strength and have lost my way, He brings me to a place where fear does not prevail, but His strength in me overcomes. He lifts my heart from shame, and establishes my life in a place of stability and beauty. My enemies have no hold on me because I am held by the One who loves me more than life itself. His love pursues me and brings my heart back to Him from every place of wandering. If this does not make our hearts rejoice, we may need to allow His Word to break our hardness. For truly this is a psalm of gratitude. Your life, my life is covered and hidden in a God we can trust to keep us and lead us. Applying this truth will establish us as men and women of trust and gratitude.
Today I am grateful that God does not generalize my life, but He is personally interested in me. He is my provision, my security, my feast. I am thankful that in all of my wanderings, He seeks me out and brings me back to His embrace, where I find truth.