Jump Start # 2627
Psalms 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
With those simple nine opening words, comes the most beloved, memorized and cherished of all the Psalms. The Lord is my shepherd, describes the activity of God and the personal relationship the Lord had with the writer, David. Indeed, God is the Lord of Heaven and Earth. He was the God of the nation Israel. But none of those things mattered if He was not the God and shepherd of David personally.
And, the same is true for us. The congregation can be connected, engaged and faithfully following the Lord, but am I? Am I along for the ride or is the Lord my shepherd as well? When Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus, he declared “My Lord and My God,” which literally means, “The Lord of me,” and “The God of me.”
The Lord is my shepherd. What should that mean to you personally? What does that look like?
First, from our perspective it means we follow the Lord. We obey the Lord. We may not understand why we have to forgive, but that is what the Lord wants us to do. It means to trust the Lord. When we pull back, argue and fuss with what the Bible says, we are not allowing the Lord to lead us. And, leading is what shepherds do. They do not drive the flock. They do not tell the flock where they ought to travel to. They are right there leading. Shepherds are examples to follow. Don’t get ahead of the shepherd and don’t fall too far behind where you can’t see him. Keeping your eyes on Jesus, is how Hebrews puts it. Romans says to be conformed to His image. Corinthians were told to imitate Jesus. Where He goes, we need to be.
Second, my faith is tied directly to the Lord. My faith isn’t run through the congregation. The congregation is necessary and helpful, especially for worship and encouragement, but things could go sour with each other down at the church house, without it changing my faith in the Lord. We serve the Lord. We follow the Lord. It is easy to let the atmosphere of the congregation influence my mood and faith. If things are going well, then my faith is. But if things are turbulent, then so is my faith. That shouldn’t be. The Lord is my shepherd, not the church. If the church falls apart and disbands, my faith remains with the Lord. If the church gets wiggly and stops following the Lord, what will you do? Some just go right along with the church. Not me. As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord. Our faith is with the Lord. We may stand at odds with what is going on down at the church house. There may be a time when we have to part ways with the church because of the direction it is going. None of that will impact my faith, because my faith is with the Lord.
Third, it means the Lord has your well being in mind. And, what the Lord wants is for you to succeed spiritually. Just as a Judean shepherd would want his sheep to be healthy, fat, and well, so does the Lord, but spiritually. And, to get you there, the Lord may have you cross some rugged territory, go through some deep valleys and have you shaken to the core to get you where you need to be spiritually. Having your house paid off early doesn’t mean much to the Lord. For thousands of years, His people never owed a house. Having your yard weed free, looks great in the neighborhood. That doesn’t do much for the Lord. Moses and his people dwelled in a wilderness for decades. Being in a position to retire, means a great deal to us. It doesn’t to the Lord. The apostles lived in a time when retirement, as we know it, never exited. But having a heart that is compassionate, hands that are willing to serve and feet that want to follow the Savior, is what God wants. If it means breaking us to get there, then that’s a good thing. We have trouble with that. It was good that the prodigal became broke and fed pigs. That opened his eyes to where he ought to be. God wants you strong spiritually. He’ll put opportunity, people, challenges and even problems before us that will make us rely upon what we know, and what we believe. These things will make us stronger and better. They will make us shine brightly for Him.
Forth, it means that we stay with the Lord always. The Lord is my shepherd is not a one time deal. It’s not just a salvation thing. It’s a way of life. It’s a direction and path in life. It’s a journey of a lifetime. We never leave the side of our Savior. We never let the Lord get out of our sight. Year after year, decade after decade, the more we have followed the Savior, the more convinced we are of how right all of this is. Duty is not the word. It is pleasure. Joy. Satisfaction. Trust. Love. The Lord will be with you through sadness, heartaches, funerals, disappointments, tears, smiles, and precious memories. The Lord is my shepherd. That’s a statement of life. That’s just how it is. And, following this shepherd will shape your attitude, mold your heart and give you wisdom to deal with a broken and crazy world.
The Lord is my shepherd. Have you thought about those simple words. What do they mean to you? Does the Lord see this by the way you conduct yourself? Do others see this by your choices in life? The Lord is. He is my Shepherd.
Powerful, powerful words.