The Lord is my shepherd

— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

Looking up the readings for this Wednesday I saw that Psalm 23 was one of the selected readings. As this is one of my favourite psalms I couldn’t help but pick this to share with you.

The psalm was written by David, a shepherd, who became King of ancient Israel.

A Psalm of David
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will 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 your goodness and love
will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell
in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23

As a shepherd boy David had to care for his sheep and protect them from all kinds of dangers, using his tools of a rod for protection and guidance and a staff to bring them to safety.
Some sheep would wander off and need to be found and brought back to the fold. We remember the parable of the lost sheep in the Gospels of Matthew (18:12–14) and Luke (15:3–7). Imagine how great the love of the Lord our Shepherd must be as he seeks out each and everyone of us who is lost or struggling and gathers us back to his fold. Think of times you have felt lost and lonely. Did you sense God seeking you out?

The images of green pastures and water have a calming, refreshing influence, providing sustenance and nourishment. A place where we can come to God in the stillness of the day and in prayer. The still water is living, life-giving water. God provides all we need.
Are you dissatisfied and wishing you had a nicer flat, a better car, different furniture, new clothes? Or do you actually have all you need? The Lord is ready to guide and lead us. Let us be still and listen.

Sometimes our lives are troubled. We feel we are in a scary place. Perhaps we are suffering from bereavement, illness, sadness… God, however, understands our pain, but doesn’t necessarily take it away. Remember how he wept for the pain of Martha over the death of Lazarus (John 11: 33-35)? Through pain and love we connect with others – and with God. Light prevails and shines through pain and darkness.
Jesus spoke of leaving this earthly life to be with his Father. This psalm provides the promise of a better life, where God’s righteousness, peace, justice and love rule.
Have you suffered pain or loss and felt times of desolation? How did you cope during this period? Were you able to pray? Did prayer help?

God prepares a table for us, like a banquet. He provides and cares for us. He protects us, anointing us with oil as the shepherd would pour oil over the sheep’s head to protect it from tormenting insects or wounds. All our needs are taken care of. All we need to do is trust.
Can you remember times when you felt completely, content and at peace? Did you feel blessed? Did you give praise to the Lord or did you just feel happy? What moments were these?

Psalm 23 is a beautiful reminder of how good, comforting and soothing it is to know that God’s goodness, mercy and love surround us and that there is always room for us in his house. How glorious it must be to experience so much love, peace, mercy and grace …. and to feast on the delight God takes in us.
Imagine living in his house. What does it look, feel and smell like to you?

Listen to the psalm sung by Stuart Townend and reflect…

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