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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, April 17, 2015
In describing the Lord as a shepherd, David wrote out of his own experience because he had spent his early years caring for sheep. Sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection. As the Lord is the good shepherd, so we are his sheep—not frightened, passive animals, but obedient followers, wise enough to follow one who will lead us in the right places and in right ways. This psalm does not focus on the animal-like qualities of sheep but on the discipleship qualities of those who follow. When you recognize the good shepherd, follow him!
When we allow God, our shepherd, to guide us, we have contentment. When we choose to sin and go our own way, however, we cannot blame God for the environment we create for ourselves. Our shepherd knows the “green meadows” and “peaceful streams” that will restore us. We will reach these places only by following him obediently. Rebelling against the shepherd’s leading is actually rebelling against our own best interests. We must remember this the next time we are tempted to go our own way rather than the shepherd’s way.
Death casts a frightening shadow over us because we are entirely helpless in its presence. We can struggle with other enemies—pain, suffering, disease, injury—but strength and courage cannot overcome death. It has the final word. Only one person can walk with us through death’s dark valley and bring us safely to the other side—the God of life, our shepherd. Because life is uncertain, we should follow this shepherd who offers us eternal comfort.
In ancient Near Eastern culture, at a banquet it was customary to anoint a person with fragrant oil as a lotion. Hosts were also expected to protect their guests at all cost. God offers the protection of a host even when enemies surround us. In the final scene of this psalm, we see that believers will dwell with God. God, the perfect shepherd and host, promises to guide and protect us throughout our life and to bring us into his house forever. (NLT)
Psalm 23:1-6 – The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
The psalmist wrote, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me.” – Psalm 23:4 (NRSV)
Duncan Charwadza’s (Harare, Zimbabwe) story is titled “GOD WILL;” here is a portion of Duncan’s story:
“For many years the spirit of fear engulfed me. I feared almost everything – any situation and any undertaking. As a result, I endured many sleepless nights. Even when I slept, I would have strange nightmares. Then my fear was cast out on an ordinary day, while I was sitting in the front seat of a taxi.
“The sticker on the dashboard read, ‘My taxi is the best. Pay and rest. I will do the rest.’ The sticker prompted me to ask myself, If I can rest in this taxi, how much more can I rest in my Lord Jesus Christ? Isn’t God the best? Can’t I stop worrying, believe in God, and rest? No sooner had I laid my fear before God than I felt a great sense of relief. I found myself humming a song: ‘Why do you worry, when you can pray? Trust in Jesus. He will be your guide.’
“Faced with any difficult situation today, I say, ‘Jesus is the best. I will believe, trust in God, and rest, and God will do the rest.’”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – What fears can I leave in God’s care today?
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for always being present with us in times of need. Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
For more Helpful Inspirational Material:
OBEDIENCE, OBEY: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/obedience-obey/
MEDITATE, MEDITATING, MEDITATION: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/meditate-meditating-meditation/
OPPRESSED, OPPRESSION: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/oppressed-oppression/
FORGET. FORGETTING, FORGOTTEN: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/forget-forgetting-forgotten/
REASON, REASONED: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/reason-reasoned/
VISION, VISIONS: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/vision-visions/
May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/topics-a-g/ ; https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/topics-h-n/ ; https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/topics-o-u/; https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/topics-v-z/