Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. Psalm 23:4
If anyone in the Bible had an excuse or reason to worry, it would be King David. As a shepherd, he spent many nights sleeping under the stars, watching over a group of sheep. He had to fight off the attacks of bears and lions using a slingshot and a staff. He took on the giant Goliath who was much taller and stronger than him. King Saul feared that David had become more popular than him, threatening the future of his throne, so he tried to kill David on multiple occasions. Saul gathered an army and chased David throughout Israel, forcing him to hide out in caves. These were just a few of the things that could have kept David up at night.
What is surprising when you read the story of David is that he isn't locked up in fear or cowering in the face of giants. Instead, David has this quiet confidence that God is in control. David gives us a picture in Psalm 23 of the source of his strength and mental resolve. He makes the point in the passage that "The Lord is my Shepherd," (Psalm 23:1). He took the world he knew best and used it to describe his own relationship with God. He wants to be clear that God is the one who is leading his life and guiding him. He later goes on to say, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear," (Psalm 23:4). David knew that even if he died, he didn't have to fear because one day he would dwell in the house of the Lord forever. David stands in the confidence of the Lord, rather than cowering and being confined by worry.
David's example is one that we have to take to heart. God is willing to help us through whatever difficulty that we might face when we trust in Him as the Good Shepherd. We have to decide that God knows what is best for us and we will follow wherever He leads. Humbly, we have to lean on God so we can find the rest and peace that He offers both in life and death.
What does it mean that God is your shepherd? Take some time to reflect on what it means that God is our shepherd and leader in life. Write out the implications in seeing God as our shepherd and ourselves as the sheep. Then think about Jesus. When He walked the Earth, He called Himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:11). In the space below write out what it means to trust God as the Good Shepherd.
Read Psalm 23:1-6 (NLT)
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength.He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.Even when I walk through the darkest valley,I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
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