Familiar, perhaps, too familiar words . . .
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want [lack]. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake" (Psalm 23:1-3).I don't want to read these words to come up with something fancy. Or study to prepare a sermon. Let me just drink in the love, the peace, yes, especially the "mercy" (v. 6) that goes with me all my life long. I call the LORD "My" Shepherd in order to own the relationship, to celebrate it, to personalize my need, and thus my provision.
My Shepherd Provides
"I shall not lack." Lack what? Anything. Anything? . . . Really? REALLY. Every sin is traceable to some perceived lack on our part. "I need respect and hate that others don't affirm me." No, I don't need that. My Shepherd affirms, and that's enough. "Well, I must lust after that . . . whatever, whoever, because I need . . . something." No, Shepherd Jesus fills all in all. PERIOD. In fact, He IS my life!
My Shepherd Restores
"He restores my soul." This is the ah-h-h part. Much within and without threatens our peace, destroys it. Sin within unsettles me, creates guilt, promotes lies, causes me to glance away from truth for fear of being seen. I fall and perhaps even sink into a sort of despair. Sins without attack me at work, in the local community, in the world. "There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Ps. 36:1), and I feel it. It tugs at my heart. It wells up within my breast that so few even care. BUT. But my Shepherd restores. He not only forgives (wonderfully healing in itself), but my Shepherd RESTORES my soul. The very meat of my existence, the marrow of life--He renews, restores to health and perfect relationship. Unmitigated. Without alloy . . . or apology. And especially without regret. Oh, none of that! Restored.
That's MY Shepherd!
Ah-h-h . . .