Be still and rest in the Lord.
Psalm 23 (NRSV)
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 right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I 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
my whole life long.
Frequently in the Bible, human beings are compared to sheep. Now that sounds nice, but it is not really a compliment. You see, sheep are among the dumbest and dirtiest animals in the world.
When Jesus looked out on the people with compassion, the Gospel writers say that he saw them “as sheep without a shepherd.” That’s not a compliment, but a concern, because sheep are helpless without their shepherd.
Sheep can’t take care of themselves. Unless their shepherd makes them move, sheep will actually ruin a pasture. The will eat every blade of grass, until finally a fertile pasture is nothing but barren soil. Sheep are very stubborn and easily frightened.
They have little means of defense. They’re timid, feeble creatures. Their only protection is to run if there is no shepherd to protect them. Sheep have no homing instincts. A dog, horse, cat, or a bird can find its way home, but when a sheep gets lost, it’s a goner unless someone rescues it.
So, the over-riding principle of the psalm is that sheep can’t make it without a shepherd. And the only reason that David could say, “I shall not want,” is because David could first say, “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
Almighty God, David recognized that all he had came from you. His wealth, his position, his blessings were all because of you and your great mercy. I pray that we can have as much faith in you as David did. Please be merciful and gracious to us. Let us be loyal to you, the one, true, living Creator of all. Amen.
Go with God.