The Lord is my shepherd,Psalm 23:1-3 NET
I lack nothing.
He takes me to lush pastures,
he leads me to refreshing water.
He restores my strength.
He leads me down the right paths
for the sake of his reputation.
Psalm 23 in the temple
This Psalm has been a favorite of Christians for ages because we find such comfort in thinking about the Lord being our shepherd. Shepherds are caretakers, making sure the sheep are safe – inside and outside the gate, well-fed, and watered.
I can imagine when Psalm 23 was being read in the temple, that the hearers were reminded of God leading the Israelites through the wilderness. His presence was obvious in the cloud by day and the fire by night. He provided quail, manna, and water for them. In the Exodus story, Moses sang about God leading the people.
By your loyal love you will lead the people whom you have redeemed;Exodus 15:21 NET
you will guide them by your strength to your holy dwelling place.
God led the Israelites on the good path, the right path
that provided them with provision, security, and peace.
Psalm 23 in our lives
God is leading us in paths of righteousness. It’s not just Sunday talk. Instead, daily He shepherds us. He doesn’t just lead us to spiritual nourishment, He IS our nourishment, our manna and living water! Isaiah reminds us that the Lord Almighty prepares a feast of rich foods for us, lush pastures and refreshing water! When we follow the ONE who loves us so, staying close to the path He has prepared for us, we experience the blessings of the Shepherd.
“The Israelites recognized that the path of righteousness is the one that leads straight to the shepherd”Scouting the Divine, Margaret Feinberg
God is leading us in paths of righteousness and
those paths lead us directly to HIM!
For His reputation!
Our ancestors in Egypt failed to appreciate your miraculous deeds.Psalm 106:7-8 NET
They failed to remember your many acts of loyal love,
and they rebelled at the sea, by the Red Sea.
Yet he delivered them for the sake of his reputation,
that he might reveal his power.
But why does the Shepherd care so much? For His name’s sake – for His reputation as the King of Kings, the Lord of Glory!
O Lord, our Lord,Psalm 8:1 NASB
How majestic is Your name (Your reputation) in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
The right path
Our job is to believe the Shepherd, exercising our faith, listening well, and following closely.
God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.Westminster Confession of Faith
Father, we ask today that you will Shepherd us, leading us in the right path. Lead us in the right paths at work, in our homes, among our friends, in our culture. May we know Your voice, listen well, and obey your leading so that we can find rest and protection under your leadership — for your name’s sake. Amen.