“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” (Psalm 23)
These are some of the most familiar words in the Bible beloved by devout people everywhere. According to this Shepherd Psalm of David, the key to the real blessings of this life and the next is a relationship with God.
The green pastures, still waters, table of provision, God’s blessing of anointing oil and cup that runs over all the time are all conditioned on our relationship with God. That relationship is established in the second verse of Psalm 23 when David writes, “He makes me to lie down.”
However, the spirit in which we recall these words is often something like this: “The Lord is my Shepherd — but I have a health problem.” Or, “The Lord is my Shepherd — but I have marriage problems!” Or, “The Lord is my Shepherd — but I cannot control my children.”
When we say, “The Lord is my Shepherd — but” we are putting our “but” in the wrong place. We need to get our “but” in the right place and recall the precious promise of these words this way: “I have a health problem, BUT the Lord is my Shepherd! I have marriage problems, BUT the Lord is my Shepherd! I cannot control my children, BUT the Lord is my Shepherd!”
One way the Lord makes us lie down is to use all kinds of problems to teach us about the relationship with God which is key to all the blessings profiled in Psalm 23.
Will you let the Great Shepherd use whatever challenges you are facing to establish the deeper relationship with God David described so beautifully three thousand years ago?
Dick Woodward, 14 August 2008