Psalm 23:2 English Standard Version (ESV)
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
Deep in the psyche of God’s people is a much–loved image: God is our shepherd. To some of us it may seem a cliché? But this phrase is a brutal put–down. If God is a shepherd, that makes us sheep!
Other animals take far less care than sheep. Cattle and horses, dogs and cats have more sense when they are on their own. But sheep need the watchful eye of their owner. Sheep can’t roar like a lion or run like a deer. They can’t even play dead. All they do is stand on their spindly legs or get themselves lost. Sheep are a fitting example of our spiritual weakness and cluelessness.
So why does this image appeal to people in trendy universities, chic urban hotspots, and well–manicured suburbs? Maybe in our deepest heart we recognize our own weakness and dependence. Maybe in our sane moments we sense that God’s companionship transforms every situation. Maybe deep down we want to be carried in the arms of a shepherd.
Are you in the middle of a messy divorce or custody battle? “The Lord is my shepherd.” Is your husband sick, and there’s no hope for a cure? “The Lord is my shepherd.” Is your teenager chanting, “I hate you”? “The Lord is my shepherd.” Are you in church for the first time in 40 years, or doing devotions for the first time? Why not say it? “The Lord is my shepherd.”
Dear Lord, we try to be so independent. We ignore You, run from You, even belittle You. But we need You. Help us to lean on You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.