Read Psalms 23 -- 30
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 to say: The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. . . . He leads me in the paths of righteousness (Psalms 23:1-3). 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, we are all 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 and find ourselves separated from Him (John 10:11,14).
The trouble with most of us is that many times we try 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 trouble. 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 (Isaiah 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 a sheep. Only then will we fully trust the Good Shepherd. We are comforted and encouraged by knowing that though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me (Psalms 23:4). David saw death as only a fleeting shadow, not as a permanent darkness; he recognized there would be a resurrection. The assurance of the nearness of God, His love for us, and His power to care for us through life, as well as death, removes all fear.
Even His rod and staff, they comfort (23:4) us 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 I have 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 does not mean an occasional attendance in a church worship service. It means having a steadfast desire to worship Him and walk with Him throughout each day. This is why David 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 (23:6).
The utmost desire of every one of God's sheep should be to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5). God will guide and provide for every need for the one whose mind is stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3).
Oh, how often we should pray: Lord, lead me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake (Psalms 23:3).
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 means lack anything; 26:1 slide means waver, fall; 26:2 reins means inner self; 26:4 dissemblers means pretenders, hypocrites; 28:2 holy oracle means Holy Temple; 28:3 mischief means malice.
Government Officials: Rep. Jo Ann Davis (VA) and Rep. Collin Peterson (MN) · Pray for Reverend G. Sam Jaya Prasadarao Gokanakonda, Gospel Outreach Ministries International; Telugu translator · Country: Nauru (11,000) in the central Pacific · Major languages: Nauruan and English · Religious freedom · 57% Protestant; 24% Roman Catholic; 10% Buddhist and Chinese folk-religionist · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for those who have hurt you (Matthew 5:44).
Optional Reading: Colossians 2
Memory Verse for the Week: II Corinthians 12:9