Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” (NIV)
Have you ever considered how important confidence is to our attitude in facing the world each day? So much of what happens in this life is determined by the confidence we have in the direction of our lives, and our ability to address successfully whatever circumstances we must face. I think of what a lack of confidence, or its companion insecurity, creates in the attitude and behavior of people. Unfortunately, all too often people have a “herd mentality”, and if a few begin to worry and fret and then become frenetic in their reaction, it often will trigger an emotional stampede. All you have to do is look at the run on the banks in the 1930’s, when folks were worried about getting their money out, or more recently in the stock market crashes when everyone tries to pull their money out at one time and the price of stocks precipitously sell off. A lack of confidence is a great indicator of fear, and where we find fear in the heart of men, we will not find the power and love of God that produces a peace of mind and a confidence of spirit.
In Psalm 23, we find David penning words to explain that attitude of peace and overwhelming confidence which only comes about in the lives of those who are aware of the presence of God. For David to have written this psalm, he first had to live it out as a shepherd of sheep, and then to learn from his experiences that proved the faithful presence and leadership of God as his personal shepherd. David begins Psalm 23 with our devotional text, which states that God is his shepherd and he shall not be in want in the future, no matter what! Now that is confidence, indeed, to know with assurance that God has control of our future, and that God also holds our hand, since the outcome will always be certain as we walk through today and all the days ahead, knowing we will not be in want. God is sufficient for every need, problem, and crisis of your life!
Notice what God tells us about himself as the shepherd of our lives:
- Our God will give us peace and rest, even in the tumult of life (23:2). Look at Jesus asleep in the boat during the storm, with his disciples fretting (Luke 8:23), fully relaxed in the power of God. We can only accept rest when we believe that God is present with us every step of the way as our shepherd.
- Our God will give us guidance and direction as his beloved sheep, if we will LISTEN to his voice (23:3). The shepherd never places his sheep in harm’s way because of his own bad decisions or his false advice to us. His word is faultless, understandable, and doable, if we will listen. We live in a dangerous and dark world, and we desperately need the Word of God as a lamp to our feet, step by step (Psalm 119:105).
- Our God will protect and preserve us through the darkest and most dreadful times of our lives (23:4). No problem, crisis, or person is too mean or too hard for our Lord. God is sufficient to take us through whatever we face with a 100% assurance of getting through it victoriously. These tough places include our own death passage, but it is far broader than just our own mortality, it includes any episodes in our lives that are hard, dark, and threatening.
- Our God will provide for us and care for us, as no one else can (23:5). The Shepherd prepares a table for us, even in the face of the hostility and threats of the evil one and his followers. You cannot eat this meal in peace without being absolutely confident in God’s protective power over you. When God serves us in this meal, it is one of abundance; in fact, our cup is brimful, completely filled up and overflowing. Our God does not skimp on his sheep! Also the Shepherd anoints us with oil, even when we are beat up and scuffed up in this world and we need a smooth healing hand on our scratches and abrasions. God is right there to soothe our hurts and relieve our pains by his anointing hand.
- Our God will envelop us in his love and his goodness, and will never let us go (23:6). Paul reaffirms this truth in Romans 8:31-39. The material point is that if we walk in awareness of God’s presence in our lives, we will dwell with God forever.
Psalm 23 asks me the question: “Is the Lord my Shepherd?” The benefits of having the long arm of the Lord leading me through this life and beyond are extraordinary without any measure. To be able to live without fear, but with love and boldness in this life because of God’s leadership, is the reason for our confidence and assurance as we live in the circle of the will of God.
FATHER, THANK YOU FOR BEING MY SHEPHERD AND GIVING ME THE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR POWER TO HANDLE EVERY SITUATION AND PERSON IN MY LIFE, NO MATTER HOW HARD OR DARK THE TIMES OR PLACES ARE. AMEN!
Article Source: Mike White @ Summit church of Christ
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