What Does My Shepherd Do?
As we continue our study of Psalm 23, I hope and pray you find a deeper understanding of our God as Jehovah Rohi (The Lord My Shepherd) in the encouragement below.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.”
Psalms 23:2 NASB
He feeds me.
As sheep, green pastures are comparative to a fine dining experience where all your nutritional needs are met in full. I believe this verse means that God will feed us both physically and spiritually. Physically, he will not let us go hungry. Like I mentioned in last weeks post, he feeds the birds and we are more valuable to him then they. Spiritually, He will always sustain us and will fill us to overflowing if we seek him and humbly receive Him. What is our spiritual food that God uses to sustain us? It’s the Word of God. We must take the time to “lie down” in the life giving Word of God that nourishes our spiritual being. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember a time when I went a full twenty-four hours without eating anything simply because I didn’t have time. Yet it is so easy to forsake the spiritual food of the Word for that reason. Our spirit is the part of us that is eternal, so wouldn’t it make sense that we should tend to it with even more care than we do our bodies? However, that’s rarely the case. Even though our good Shepherd makes our spiritual nourishment so easily available, we don’t take advantage of it. I think of people in countries that are completely closed to the gospel. They are so hungry for the Word that they are willing to risk their lives to own a bible, yet our culture rarely opens ours. My prayer is that we come before Him daily and thank Him for the nourishing gift of His Word.
He refreshes me.
Not only does our shepherd provide green pastures, but He gives us quiet waters as well. The quiet or still water that our Shepherd leads us to is not stagnant water. It is fresh water that revitalizes our soul. Once again, these refreshing waters are found in the Word of God. There we find truth detailing the awe-inspiring power of our God who loves us so much that He couldn’t take the thought of being separated from us for eternity because of our sin. So He created a rescue plan that involved sending His own Son to take the death penalty that we deserved, so that we could be made right with the Father. Think on that and I guarantee you will be refreshed. Another way the Lord provides us with refreshing water is through worship. Corporate worship is one of the most refreshing experiences a believer can partake in, because when a multitude of people gather before the Father singing His praises, we get a small taste of what we will be doing for eternity. Private worship is also refreshing as you meditate on the character of God laid out in a song. My prayer is that we take the many refreshing opportunities God provides and come away changed as we experience the gift of His presence.
He guides me.
My Shepherd has demonstrated this point to me so faithfully throughout my life. He has led me in the big decisions like marrying Josh, choosing a school and major, and moving halfway around the world. However, He is just as faithful to guide me in the little decisions especially when I turn them over to Him in prayer. Daily decisions like how to teach my oldest daughter what obedience is or how to graciously respond to a friend in need become simple when the Lord is guiding. He guides in two primary ways: through His Word and through His Spirit. Psalm 119:105 NASB says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” In regards to receiving guidance from the Holy Spirit, Psalm 143:10 NASB promises, “Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” If any option on our path contradicts the standard of scripture, then that is not where God is leading. If you are seeking God’s guidance and He gives you a passage of scripture that confirms a certain path, then by all means, take that path. God has spoken to me many times through His Word and His Spirit. When we found out we were pregnant with our first child, I asked the Lord to guide me in how to pray for her. The Spirit lead me to a passage I definitely wouldn’t have chosen for myself. “The Beatitudes” in Matthew 5. No mother wants to pray that their child will be persecuted, but I certainly want the kingdom of heaven for my daughter. So I trusted His guidance through His Spirit and His Word and still pray this passage for both my girls. Many other significant, and even many insignificant, times in my life can be explained only by the Lord’s guiding. He always proves that He never leaves my side and walks beside me, His sheep, telling me, “this is the way; walk in it.” My prayer is that we get to know our Shepherd so well that we don’t have to question what His will is, since we know His voice and follow it.