A devotion based on psalm 23, written by Maci Burgess.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.[a] He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness[b] for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[c] I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely[d] goodness and mercy[e] shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell[f] in the house of the Lord forever.[g]
One of my favorite Psalms in the Bible is Psalm 23. It is one I have recognized since childhood; however, over the years it has deepened in meaning to me. As Louie Giglio puts it in his book, Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table, Psalm 23 has so much more meaning than simply a Psalm, “woven into the fabric of our culture”. This is because it is incredibly relevant to what many individuals face today in society and especially within their own minds.
1. “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” God makes himself known to us as our shepherd. As Louie Giglio puts it in his book, “This Psalm depicts God as a personal and attentive Shepherd, One who intimately cares for the sheep yet is tough enough to defend them against attacks. This Shepherd will make sure you are rested and well fed, but He’ll also beat back all those who threaten our safety and well-being.” When we allow God to be the shepherd in our lives, he will step into our stressed-out culture and restore our souls(Giglio). If we allow God to lead us, we will not lack a thing. 2. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,” Jesus loves us enough to call us to do something vital that we are not inclined to know how to do, or choose to do, on our own (Giglio). Jesus calls us to lie down in green pastures and rest. To pause in the midst of our busy lives and acknowledge that He’s the Good Shepherd and has our best interest at heart (Giglio). 3. He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” Sheep need leadership, and just like sheep, we lack self-awareness. If we follow the Good Shepherd, whenever we start heading towards things that initially look good, but ultimately lead to our destruction, Jesus will pull us back to safety (Giglio). Because of his great love for us, Jesus always acts with our ultimate well-being in mind. The goodness of God can be found in all He is and says and does. 4. “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.” It is amazing that the Good Shepherd walks with us right through the valley of the shadow of death. God is right there with us through hardship. We can experience a number of losses in the valley because loss is part of our story as humans (Giglio). That is why it is so pivotal to maintain an “even though/I will” type of faith. No matter the troubles we walk through in life, God not only promises to help us, but to be with us. God almighty, our Good Shepherd, is right there in the midst of our difficulty with us (Giglio). 5. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” God prepares a table for us right in the middle of the battle. Seems strange that whatever we are battling, internally or externally, the table is right there in the middle of trouble. This table is one of fellowship. Meant for only you and the Good Shepherd (Giglio). The enemy is not welcome to sit at the table. However, what makes this table unique is that nobody is at the table except you and the Good Shepherd, but our enemies are still in view. The ones encircling our tables are representative of our troubles (Giglio). As Louie Giglio puts it in his book, “your
greatest enemy wants in and is working stealthily and persistently to sit at this table with you.” Therefore, we must keep our eyes on our Savior, in order to save our tables for two. 6. “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” If we trust in and follow the Good Shepherd, our destiny is set, and we do not need to be afraid. He promises us goodness, mercy, and love, that will accompany us every day of our lives.
Reflections: ❖ How will you choose to allow the Good Shepherd to lead you today? Tomorrow? Throughout your life? ❖ Who are you letting sit at your table? Our Good Shepherd longs for us to follow him. When we choose to follow the lead of Jesus, we can win the battles in our lives and live a more abundant life in Christ. Praise: ❖ Shane & Shane “Psalm 23 (Surely Goodness, Surely Mercy” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoojA0cLPWY