“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” — Psalm 23:1
I have been reading Psalm 23 every day the past week as part of my quiet time. It’s amazing the amount of truth and encouragement that is packed into those six verses. David is the author of this popular psalm and our focus will be on the first five words: “The Lord is my shepherd.”
I may not be one of the smartest human beings, but if God is referring to Himself as the shepherd, we must be the sheep. I’ll be completely honest in saying I don’t know much about sheep. The little I do know is that they are not considered very intellectual animals. Being brutally honest, they are dumb; thus, the need for a shepherd.
Sheep need the shepherd to guide them, lead them and protect them. It is said that sheep know their shepherd’s voice. The shepherd trains his sheep to listen to his voice. What a beautiful picture of who God is to us. He is our Shepherd. The One who will guide us. The One who will lead us. The One who will protect us.
The question is, do we recognize His voice? Are we close enough to God that we hear Him speaking to us? Proximity matters to God! “The closer we are to Him, the more we are able to recognize His voice.” He uses His Word, the Bible, to speak to us. It has been said that if you want to hear God speak, read your Bible out loud. Are we frustrated that we don’t hear from God? Do we long for Him to speak to us? I can guarantee that when you spend time in God’s Word, you will hear from Him. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. Open it. Read it. Meditate and memorize it. The familiar acronym is: Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth.
God can use messages, podcasts, testimonies, music and circumstances, among other incidents, to speak to us. He may choose to use a pastor, a coach, a teacher, a musician or a parent to speak to us. God speaks to us when we are in our place. Confess your sin. Pray. Be still. Wait. God will talk. I have never audibly heard His voice, but I have heard God talk to me. It’s beautiful and I’m grateful that I’m learning to recognize His voice.
God also uses my prayer time to speak. I’m learning prayer is more than just talking to God; it also involves listening. Ask God to speak to you and pray that you will recognize and understand His voice.
As we journey through this life, there will no doubt be highs and lows. We will enjoy several mountaintop experiences, but I’m confident we will also have plenty of times when we find ourselves walking through the valley. It’s important to remind ourselves that God is always there for us. Our Shepherd promises to never leave us nor forsake us. I am grateful to serve a God who will continue to lead, guide and protect. He is there every step of the way.
There have been times in my life, as I’m sure in yours, where I have wandered off my path. I got distracted. I got caught up chasing my own goals and dreams for my life, rather than chasing His goals and dreams. Rather than passionately pursuing Him and His calling for my life, I placed my priorities on my career, possessions, money, etc.
Our Shepherd is always there to get us back on track, back on the right path. He reminds us that our identity is in Christ and Him alone. It’s not in who we are or what we do. It’s always about Him and who He is and what He has done. He is our amazing and loving Shepherd who willingly and gladly gives up His life for His sheep.
— Jim Good
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