Do you ever feel stressed, anxious, or lost? Do you feel the need to focus on God but not sure where to start? What should we focus on to get out of this funk?
Meditate on this one truth: THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD.
It saved King David’s life. It may save yours, as well.
In this post, we will meditate on this same truth that helped King David get through hard times. We will dive into four ways God shepherds us and what it means for our lives.
As I spoke about in my ebook, “Choosing Hope,” I saw my first miracle in high school. It was a hard time in our family and even a more challenging time financially.
I remember looking at the fridge and only seeing a single tortilla inside. I’d close the refrigerator and open it again, hoping something would appear. The only thing that changed was that the tortilla disappeared into my hands.
Now the fridge was completely empty.
The doorbell rang. Opening the door, I found my English teacher smiling back at me with groceries bags surrounding her.
She must have read the stunned look on my face, because she answered my question before I asked it.
“God told me to buy you guys groceries.”
God knew? God speaks? The idea that God sent her to give us food blew my mind.
I think of this memory when I read Psalm 23:1: “God is my Shepherd, and I shall not be in want.”
You can tell by how often God talks about shepherds in the Bible that he had a fondness in his heart towards them. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob — all shepherds.
Then comes King David, the “man after God’s own heart.” What was his first job? Shepherding.
David went on to become a deadly warrior, a general, and eventually a king. He knew God as his Savior, Protector, Defender, Warrior, Judge, and much more.
But when looking back at his life, thinking about all he’d been through and everything God had been for him, David finds comfort in remembering the first thing God ever was to him: a shepherd.
If this one truth of God is what David focuses on above all else, to get him through the valleys in his life, then there is a good chance we must, as well.
1. Through Companionship
The word “shepherd” in the Bible is the Hebrew word ra-a, which means “to pasture, tend, feed, associate with, be a friend of, and be a companion.”
The shepherd was the number-one trusted companion of the sheep.
When David says that “God is his shepherd,” he focuses on the fact that He is our closest companion. The Shepherd knows what his sheep need more than they do, and He takes care of them better than they can take care of themselves.
David says, “God is so close to me that he knows me better than I know me. He is my best friend and closest companion, and even when everyone else leaves, He associates himself with me.”
It’s one thing to say, “I’m with God.” But it’s another when God says, “I’m with you.”
One of my favorite hymns says, “He walks with me, and talks with me, and tells me that I am his own.” This is the heart of our Shepherd.
Even when we are dirty sheep, sleeping in our filth, He says, “This is My flock. They are mine, for better or worse. I associate Myself with them. “
When we focus on the love He has for us, a calming occurs in our souls.
2. Through Provision
David then says in Psalm 23, “I shall not want.”
In Hebrew, it means, “I will not lack, be in poverty, or be deprived of something.”
The sheep don’t need to panic. It is the shepherd’s job to make sure the sheep have enough food to eat. If they are with him, they will not lack.
When God told my teacher that Taylor’s family needs food today, He stepped in as the Good Shepherd to provide for us.
Where are you lacking? Focus on Christ as your Shepherd there.
He will provide for our food, shelter, jobs, and family. He cares more about finding what we need than we do.
Matthew 6:33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Take a moment and pray, “God, you are the Shepherd over _____. I will not lack anything there.”
Enjoying this Post? Let’s Get Connected!
3. Through Rest
David continues the poem in Psalm 23: “He makes me lie down in green pastures…”
Did you know that sheep often won’t lay down unless they are forced to? They will stand in the hot sun until they overheat and collapse from exhaustion.
Stupid animals. Don’t they understand they need to rest?
Yet how many of us will just keep going until we burn out from exhaustion?
The Shepherd sees and knows this and makes them lay down before they collapse.
We need Christ to step in and “make us lay down.”
If you are a workaholic, ask God to make you lay down and rest. If you struggle with anxiety about the future, let Him slow you down.
Schedule a time every day to rest with God with devotional time … perhaps a walk, watching the sunset … anything that calms your mind and heart and sits still with the Shepherd.
If I had a plastic water bottle with water and sand in it, and I keep spinning it around and around, the water will become cloudy and murky. But if I lay it down and let it stand still, the sand begins to settle, and the water becomes clear.
Clarity comes when you let your body, thoughts, and emotions rest.
One of the best things we can do when we are overwhelmed by anxiety, stress, fear, or panic is to take time to rest with God.
Are you exhausted? Are you broken? Are you tired?
If there is any single area of your life where you feel you need some level of restoration at all, the answer is and always will be this: Turn to the Shepherd for rest.
“We have all things and abound; not because I have a good store of money in the bank, not because I have skill and wit with which to win my bread, but because the Lord is my shepherd.” ― Charles Haddon Spurgeon
4. Through the Valley
When King David flees Jerusalem from his son Absalom, he escaped through the Kidron Valley. The root word of “Kidron” has to do with shadows and mourning.
This valley literally passes through a graveyard, as well.
David is fleeing for his life through a shadowed valley filled with graves. It is here that he writes in Psalm 23:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
Moments of fear occur when we most need to declare over our lives that the Lord is my Shepherd.
This same valley road leads to the Garden of Gethsemane, the garden in which Jesus will pray a thousand years later on the night before the Cross. I wonder if Jesus, the Good Shepherd himself, remembered walking with David through this same Valley of Death on the last night before He endured the Cross.
Jesus walks with us in the valley not as a mere observer, but as one who knows what it’s like to walk through the valley Himself.
Hebrews 13:20 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the Sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant…”
Our Shepherd has made an everlasting covenant with us. He will never leave His sheep.
Today, as you go, take a moment and pray, trusting all your anxieties, fears, dreams, and future to your Shepherd. Then focus today on this one truth:
The Lord is my Shepherd.