June 29

Read Psalms 23 -- 30

In Today's Reading:

David's confidence in the Great Shepherd; the King of Glory; a prayer for guidance and protection;David's love for God's House; his prayer for God's help; adoration of God's mighty power; thanksgiving for deliverance.

Verses for Today:

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. . . . He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness. . . . though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me (23:1-4).

David, the old shepherd-king who saw himself as nothing more than a sheep that needed to be led, was inspired by the Holy Spirit as he wrote Psalms 23. No other livestock requires more attention than sheep. Left alone, they can easily become separated from the flock and lose their way. Of all domesticated animals, sheep are the most defenseless and helpless.

By nature, all people are like sheep. We may blindly follow the same paths that have ruined the lives of others. Or we can become so caught up in our own affairs that we lose sight of the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) and become separated from Him.

The desire of every one of God's sheep should be to [bring] into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). God will guide and provide every need for the one whose mind is stayed on [Him] (Isaiah 26:3).

The trouble with most of us is that many times we decide to be our own shepherd. There is something almost terrifying about the consequences of the destructive, self-willed stubbornness of those who refuse to be led in the paths of righteousness. They are determined to go their own way, even though the path they take will inevitably lead to serious problems. It is a fact: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord [has] laid on Him (Christ) the iniquity of us all (53:6). The only safe way for any of us is to recognize that, without the Good Shepherd, we are as helpless and defenseless as sheep. Only then will we fully trust the Good Shepherd. We are assured of the nearness of God, His love for us, and His power to care for us through life, as well as death, and this removes all fear. David saw death as only a fleeting shadow, not as a permanent darkness; he recognized the certainty of resurrection (2 Samuel 12:23).

Even the Lord's rod and . . . staff (are a) comfort (Psalms 23:4), because we know that whom the Lord [loves] He [chastens], and [scourges] every son whom He [receives] (Hebrews 12:6). He loves us enough to correct us. The psalmist provides this God-given insight: Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept [Your] Word (Psalms 119:67).

With all earnestness, David prayed: Unto [You], O Lord, do I lift up my soul (25:1). To lift up one's soul to the Lord means more than an occasional attendance in a church worship service. It means having a steadfast desire to worship Him each and every day. Because David was truly committed to serving the Lord, he could confidently say: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the House of the Lord for ever (Psalms 23:6).

Christ Revealed:

As our Shepherd (Psalms 23). Christ is the Good Shepherd [Who gives] His life for the sheep (John 10:11).

Word Studies:

23:1 want = lack anything; 26:1 slide = waver, fall; 26:2 reins = inner self; 26:4 dissemblers = pretenders, hypocrites; 28:2 holy oracle = Holy Temple; 28:3 mischief = malice.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Jo Ann Davis (VA) and Rep. Collin Peterson (MN) · Pray for one more person to read through the Bible · Country: Lesotho (2 million) within the east-central part of the Republic of South Africa · Major languages: Sesotho and English · Limited religious freedom · 43% Roman Catholic; 30% Protestant; 6% ancestor worship, divination, and spirit-possession cults · Prayer Suggestion: Unite with others in prayer; God will bring your request to pass (Matthew 18:19-20).

Optional Reading: Colossians 2

Memory Verse for the Week: John 8:31-32