Jesus: The Good Shepherd
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23).
This Psalm that David wrote is one of the most well-known Psalms. The poetic elegance of David’s personal testimony about God is beautiful. David’s imagery paints a clear picture of who God is from David’s first-hand experience. David had heard God’s voice, followed His path, and seen His saving grace in times of crisis. When David was walking through the valley of the shadow of death, he knew that God was with him every step of the way.
When do we tend to cling to God more? In times of crisis. When the sun is shining and there are no storm clouds in the sky, when we are healthy and have no illness or disease plaguing us, we tend to venture out on our own a little more. We may talk ABOUT God, but our hearts are not burdened and life feels good. But when the darkness closes in and the storm clouds gather, or when we are ill or diseased, we tend to play things closer to the chest. This is when we usually talk TO God. Usually, it is us begging Him for reprieve. Sometimes we get the reprieve we so desperately want, but sometimes we don’t.
Glory be to God! He is still with us! Our Good Shepherd will never abandon us. He is taking us to a greener pasture. He is leading us through the valley of death and despair to get to the greener grasses on the other side! This life is a trial and tribulation, but strife is just a bump in the road. When we see life from the perspective of faith in Jesus Christ, life’s storms become just something to show us that God is still in control, still loves us, and is still walking beside us. When we are neck-deep in the sludge of despair is exactly when we can hear God’s voice the loudest and clearest. That is why David tells his readers that he fears no evil, because he knows that the Lord our God is with him (and us) always, especially in times of crisis.
What a relief it is to know that God, who made all of creation, loves us so much that He sacrificed Himself to save us from eternal damnation! When you find yourself in the dark, scared, and lonely, when food has lost its taste, colors have faded to grey, and your heart and soul feel drained, you must do only one thing: fix your eyes upon Jesus, our Good Shepherd! Stick close to His side through the valley of the shadow of death. FEAR NOT! For Jesus is with you always. The other side of the valley of death is heaven. We will have our glorified bodies there and will sing praises to God forever and ever! Hallelujah!