My Shepherd-Psalm 23

You are my shepherd. You care for me all the time. You don’t let me out of your sight because I am that one sheep you care about that, even when lost in the crowd, you find me. You care for me so much that you died for me. You gave it all so that I might have life.

I shall not want. For anything! You are my provider. You will always give me everything I ever need. Need and want really are two different things. The Psalmist says, shall not WANT. Desire. What is it that I desire that I do not have? You provide it all. I shall not want.

My shepherd knows when his sheep need rest. I lay down in green pastures. Not the wet muddy one or the cold barren one, or the brown one cheated out of rain and sustenance and absent of beauty. No, you have me to rest in a place of lush beauty. This place has been well cared for and maintained by the master gardener. The fields are blanketed with blooming flowers and the thick green grass push through the fertile soil reaching toward the sun. There’s just a bit of dampness on the grass from the fresh dew and I relish this resting place.

Serenity is in the still waters. Smooth as silky glass. Quiet, but fresh. These are not stagnant waters. These are waters that are hushed by the master's hand. Be still and know that I am God. In a desert where there is very little water, the shepherd searches out water for his sheep to provide their required daily allotment. The shepherd might find a bubbling brook for a mid-day feeding, or an old well, or a quiet pond. Often a shepherd carries a small pail with him to patiently gather water to bring to his sheep that cannot get to the water source by themselves. But he keeps me out of the rushing stream whilst I renew my body and quench my thirst. No waves to fight. No wars to wage. No hurdles to cross. Just rest my child. Do not worry about anything while I watch over you.

A sheep knows the shepherds voice. Even when several shepherds gather their flocks together and keep them penned overnight, in the morning the shepherd can call that one sheep and the sheep will respond only to His master. My shepherd protects and provides. He stands at the gate and does not allow the enemy in. Sheep are content to simply be in the same pasture as their shepherd. I trust my shepherd’s presence. I am content. Safe. Untouchable. Even when the skies are overcast, he is always there to protect me.

Sheep are curiously dumb animals, sometimes even unable to find their way home although home is in clear sight. Knowing this, the shepherd never loses sight of his sheep. When a sheep falls over a cliff into a briar patch, the shepherd lifts the sheep safely back to his shoulder and wraps his cloak of love around him and brings him home.

Ordinary – that’s a shepherd.

Extraordinary – that’s my Jesus.

And then restoration. Once I’m in the lushness of his presence with water to sustain life, he restores my very soul. Down to the bottom. He fills me with new stuff. Reload. Reboot. Lube my joints.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness. Stay on the straight path that leads to Jesus and his call to follow him. He leads me because he is who he is – my master. I shall not question his authority because he is my sovereign God. He knows what is best for me. For Heaven’s sake! We say it all the time. We pass the shepherding from generation to generation. We name things to assure that they have a place to belong. A path, figuratively, is a way of life. My path may lead me in many directions. My shepherd wants my path to be righteous. He calls me by name. I hear his voice. He names me for rightness and tucks me into his flock.

And yes, I will walk through some bad times – even death and deaths door – but I will not be afraid. Always. Even when the valley is so deep that the hills seem as though I cannot climb out, you will be there. You will bring me that water in a pail. You reach out to me and bring me back to your 5 star hotel.

Your rod and staff comfort me. I love this part, Lord. You take your rod and gently lead me to the place you want me to be. You quiet my fears. You keep me in check. You keep me away from the barbed wire fences where I may get stuck if left unattended. Thank you for your comforting rod that keeps me in the fold of your flock. Always close to the master. It feels so good.

You prepare a table before me. Doesn’t matter who else is there – foe or friend. Jesus prepares my table and it is always ready for me to dine with him. I miss my childhood days when we always set the table for dinner. It always seemed like such a chore at home. But it feels so good to go to a restaurant where the table is set and ready for us. Jesus is always ready to sit with me so I can simply enjoy his presence.

And you anoint me. Blessed to be blessed. Thank you for your oil of compassion and healing. It pours over my soul and fills in the open wounds to provide healing and strength. You give me so much that I cannot even soak in all your blessings. I cannot hold them in the palm of my hand and as I hold my cup out to you, you always fill it back up. My vessel is always running over. But the running over part soaks into the ground to renew that soil and bring new life again. Without the vessel, you cannot run it over with all the stuff you want me to have.

Goodness and mercy. Always on my trail. You are after me Lord. I’m just not sure what you want of me right here, right now. Listen, my child.

I will dwell in your house forever. I cherish everlasting life. Brought to me by my loving shepherd who calls me by name, makes sure that I rest, assures my contentment and protection, rescues me from harm and carries me to his breast to nurture me and keep me safe.

What a wonderful shepherd I have. Thanks for letting me be a curious sheep and for bringing me back to the fold no matter where I stray. WOW, what an awesome master. Thank you Jesus. Amen.

Carole Schumacher

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