I was trying to think of what to write and I just kept coming back to Psalm 23, and I don't know that I'll get through all of it, maybe in verses, yea I'll do that. I want to relate this to me though, to give just a little more incite as to where I am because, well the Lord has put me on a journey that is scaring me, breaking me, and rebuilding me. It's a trip and I love it, even though at times I get angry with Him and want to just move on. However, lately I've been coming back to this Psalm. Reciting it, Praying it, and studying it. And I think it's about time I share a little bit of that information, even to those tho know it because we all need reminders sometimes.
Psalm 23:1 "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall Not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He Restores my soul; he guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
The first thing I notice when I see this grouping of Verses is the it is the LORD who is the shepherd, not Lord, or God or any other name but it is YHWH that is the shepherd. For a believer that helps me connect with Jesus' statement "I am the good shepherd" right away. I connect that the LORD is the Good Shepherd as well. It's a total thing, it's not just the Physical Jesus or the Spirit but it is the Father as well, it's the whole trinity that is the Shepherd for the people. I think about what a shepherd is, how he cares for His flock, meets all their needs for them and how even rewards them. He does what is best for them.
Sheep are dumb, plain and simple they're dumb. They wander away, they sometimes have to have help getting up from their sleep because they can't roll over properly, they're stupid. The Shepherd has a job of watching over stupid animals, it's hard he has to walk a lot during the day, chase down sheep that run away, he has to fight off wolves and in the case of David lions and bears! But he is always willing to lay down his life for his sheep. That brings us a tad away from the Psalm and into Jesus' statement but we need to recognize our need for someone like that. Our need for someone to protect us, to watch over us, bring us to where we can eat and drink so that we will want for nothing.
A sheep had it's needs met. They didn't really need a whole lot; rest, water, food and that was about it. "I shall not want" the Psalmist says, because he knows that the LORD will meet all his needs. He will be safe, and rested, and fed. He might even get a reward or two. He'll often get extra. See a shepherd wouldn't take his sheep where there was barely enough to eat, or drink no he took them where there was plenty of water and grass for them to graze because his job was to take care of them. He brought them to green pastures, and still waters. He let them eat, and drink, and rest. The word David uses that we translate restore, means to turn back. To return to. He restores my soul the psalm reads but to one who knew the language they might see it as, he causes my soul to return to Him! How brilliant. The Shepherd, the LORD causes the soul of His sheep to return to Him. To turn back to Him. He wins them over! He does what they need, he provides for them and He gets them to turn back to Him in their Souls!
Look at what immediately follows that phrase about restoring their souls, "He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." So he turns their souls back to Him and then He guides them in the paths of Righteousness. Once He wins them back and turns their souls back to Him, he then leads them. He doesn't desert them, or let them figure out themselves he guides them. He walks with them! As a shepherd would do. He leads them on the path of righteousness, he leads them the right way, the best way! Not always the least difficult way, but the best way. And it's for His name that he does it. He does it so that those he leads would praise his name, that they would know it was him that was doing it. He doesn't do it because He has to, but because He desires us to turn to him and walk with him. See a good shepherd loved his sheep, I can say that because they were willing to die for their sheep. They wanted the best for them, and they did what was right. It often brought them more work, and certainly the faith of more people to trust him with their sheep.
So that's what I see when I see those three verses. I see a lot about God's goodness, provision and who he is. But how, in my current condition does that relate.
Well, I know that Jesus is my shepherd he wants what's best for me, and he's going to do what's best for me. He laid down his life for me, why would He stop doing what's best now? And along with that I know his consistency is unprecedented, He's never failed so why would He now. I see that He gives me the things I need, the things that are going to fill me up and I need. He gives me peace and rest even though I'm not seeing it at the moment. For Me it's something I'm looking forward to. The psalm says he leads me, that involves some travel, some distance to be covered before that rest and replenishment comes.
I believe I'm in that journey Now. That the Lord is taking me on the best way, I've recent been in that point of peace and rest and Now I believe that I'm traveling again, the best way and not the easiest way. There's perils and the like but nothing that is going to destroy me. I'll overcome it all because the Shepherd is leading me in the right way. I like how quickly the psalm turns from that picture of returning the soul of the followers back to God, because often we become embittered toward God on that journey, and then when we see the place he was leading us to we turn around and return to him, it's not that we wandered away it's that possibly we were just about to leave because it was tough. We're mad at God for making us go through what it is went through, a death, sickness, break up, school or w/e it is that we had to journey through. But for me, i see the Promise of being restored, of being refreshed, and replenished. I see the promise that God is doing this so that I'll give him the glory in the end, and noone else. Not myself, but Him. Because it's in his name's sake that I'm going through this, and that I'm going to be refueled when I arrive wherever it is he's taking me.
A shepherd brought his sheep to where it was best for them, sometimes to get them to go he had to discipline them and force them to not be able to wander away from where they were going, but he always had their best intentions in mind. For me, I see Him having done that, and doing it more and more. But I know that he's going to lead me to a place where it's better than where I've been before. I'm along for the Trip as for now, looking forward to the promise of still waters and quiet pastures. The journey may be difficult but the fact is, the end result is promised to be worth the Trip.