Previous posts in this series here, here, and here.
There is a Biblical mandate to give thanks. Yet, too often we are distracted with the busyness of life or simply choose to focus on the negative. Over the next few posts we will look at four reasons to give thanks. Of course, these are merely four out of countless reasons for thanksgiving. The fourth reason … God our Shepherd.
The LORD is my shepherd.
Take the time to read Psalm 23.
Psalm 23 is intricately tied to death. I’m sure many of you have heard it read or recited at a funeral. I read Psalm 23 at graveside services myself (and I will continue to do so). Yet, when you carefully read Psalm 23 you find that is more about life.
“The Lord is my shepherd” here and now.
Psalm 23 begins with a simple line but it’s an important one: The LORD is my shepherd. The Lord is not merely a shepherd or merely the shepherd. Rather the Lord is my shepherd. The psalm begins on a relational note. Psalm 23 can be respected as a work of poetry or as religious expression. But for those with a relationship with the Lord – it is so much more.
Is the Lord your shepherd?
Can you honestly voice the first line?
It is interesting that David, a shepherd in his own right, speaks here not as shepherd but as one of the flock. He speaks as a sheep that lives as one led by the Lord Shepherd. He speaks out of his devotion.
In the humble opinion of this preacher, Psalm 23 hinges on the latter half of verse 4. The rod and the staff comfort the sheep. The sheep are led to not want for anything by the shepherd’s rod and staff. The sheep are led to lie down in green pastures by the shepherd’s rod and staff. The sheep are led to quiet waters by the shepherd’s rod and staff. The sheep are led through the valley of the shadow of death by the shepherd’s rod and staff. The rod is the shepherd’s tool for discipline and the staff is the shepherd’s tools for guidance.
The Lord is your shepherd when you submit to his discipline and guidance.
In verses 1-3 David is addressing the reader. Yet, in verses 4-6 David is addressing the Lord Shepherd.
Following the Lord Shepherd’s discipline and guidance leads us to worship.