Scripture Reading: Psalm 23:1

Psalm 23 is one of the most familiar chapters of the bible that most of us have committed to memory. Our familiarity with this Psalm has led many to take this powerful prayer of trust and confidence in God for granted. A Sunday school teacher once asked her pupils to explain Psalm 23 in their own words. A young girl stood up and said, “The Lord is my shepherd that is all I want.” This young girl’s explanation captures the meaning and message of this Psalm. All the verses of this Psalm find their meaning and fulfillment in having the Lord as your Shepherd. The fact of a shepherd shows not just leadership, but also, a provider and a protector. With this understanding David can boldly proclaim that he lacked nothing because God was his Shepherd. Dear friend, a good shepherd is all that you need, because a good shepherd by his nature will always supply all that the sheep needs. Having a good shepherd is sufficient enough for the sheep, that is, God alone is enough for me, nothing more, nothing else, and nothing less. The truth of happy sheep is having the good shepherd rather than a green pasture. As such we must fill our minds with the person of the good shepherd rather than green pasture. Occupying our minds with our wants, rather than the Good Shepherd leads to discouragement and frustration. Without the shepherd the sheep lacks everything good, or without the shepherd that gives direction to the sheep, everything in the life of the sheep becomes meaningless and unfulfilling. Martha of Bethany learnt this lesson in Luke 10:38-42, when Jesus rebuked her by telling her that she worried about many things but only few things are needed, in fact only one and Mary has chosen the better part.

Dear friends, if the sheep tries to find the green pasture, the still waters, the prepared table, and the overflowing cup all by himself, he will have a hard time which will end only in failure, sorrow and regret. Let me paraphrase a Christian writer who once said, if the green pastures in which you have been feeding are suddenly scorched to the roots by the withering sun of adversity, or if the shade tree under which you have been sitting at the side of a wilderness oasis is split by a sudden shaft of lighting and that which you had hoped to be your shelter for years to come is suddenly laid waste. You don’t need to worry much if you have a good shepherd who knows where there are other green pastures and still waters, and will lead you there. Dear friends in Christ, happy are you, who in the midst of all of the disaster which suddenly strikes, still have the consciousness of the presence of the good shepherd. In such a time all that is needed is to sing in the words of Sidney Cox’s enticing chorus: “My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, All I have to do is follow.” If we can have faith and truly proclaim that “the Lord is our shepherd that is all we want” then we shall find the peace and joy of having and trusting in the Good Shepherd that laid his life for us, with the Shepherd come all the rest, with the Shepherd we will get green pasture, still waters etc. however, the evil one, the tempter wants to deceive you, he wants to make you believe that you lacking the good things of life by trusting the Good Shepherd. This was the trick he used against Eve in the garden. Our daily affirmation of Psalm 23 in prayer will empower us to overcome such natural and sometimes demonic tendencies that urges us to distrust our Good Shepherd, who is leading us into all goodness.  In Deuteronomy 2: 7, the scripture says, “These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have not lacking a thing.” In Deuteronomy 8: 7-9, God promises us a land in which we shall lack nothing. If we trust and have the Lord as our Shepherd we shall not lack anything that is for our best interest. We shall continue with this reflection on Psalm 23 tomorrow.

Prayer Points:

  1. Thank God for His words today
  2. Ask for God’s pardon for the times you have doubted the goodness and capability of the Jesus good Shepherd.
  3. Take this prayer by Saint Ignatius of Loyola: Lord Jesus Christ, take all my freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my will. All that I have and cherish you have given me. I surrender it all to be guided by your will. Your love and your grace are wealth enough for me. Give me these, Lord Jesus, and I ask for nothing more. Amen.
  4. Thank the Lord for prayers answered

Exercise: Meditate on Psalm 34:10, 15-20.

Memory Verse: Psalm 34:10