THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
by Pastor Arne Walker, Gatlinburg, TN
The 23rd Psalm is possibly the best-known portion of Scripture. Many memorized this passage in Sunday School. You would be hard-pressed to go to a Christian funeral and not share these words.
Do you know any shepherds up close and personal? I don’t. That is a word picture of a task completely foreign to someone raised in a large city. The closest I’ve ever come is several families in our Illinois parish who raised prize-winning sheep.
Yet I claim some secondhand knowledge from a seminary classmate who wandered off on his own from a Holy Land tour to discover firsthand the reality of a shepherd. My classmate noted that the shepherd he found was elderly and poor. The shepherd had very worn sandals with a nail sticking through the sole and no socks. My classmate gestured to fix the shoe, which he did, and then to the delight of the shepherd, he gave him his socks.
These are some of my classmate’s observations: The shepherd at times sat down in front, behind, or in the middle of his sheep. The sheep mainly obeyed but at times showed a mind of their own. At times, the shepherd would lead. At other times, he would prod from the rear. One time, he shared an orange peel with a large sheep who showed his gratitude by urinating so the spray hit the shepherd. Later in the afternoon, the shepherd led his sheep to a safe and secure place where luscious green grass could be enjoyed. Then, surprise of surprise, he led them to a risky place even more beautiful as he used his shepherd’s crook to guide the sheep.
The Lord is my shepherd. He has been all of those things to me during all the ups and downs and twists and turns of my life. The [mental image] is strange yet the reality of the experience is treasured. Thanks be to God who is our shepherd, who will lead us to safe grassy fields, and also risky paths as we look forward to dwelling with him forever. -Reprinted with permission from the author.
“Know that the Lord is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3
You can find the 23rd Psalm reprinted from the NKJV Bible at https://www.encounterswithgod.info under Step #3 entitled, “TRUST IN HIM.”
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