Psalm 23:6 - Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
"The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1). In that statement, we hear a sheep talking. It is a sheep that has a lot to say about the shepherd, a sheep that is content and confident in the shepherd's care.
Sheep often get a great deal of bad press. They may be described as smelly and silly, which is to say that they are not highly regarded (perhaps unfairly so) for their intelligence. Sheep tend to wander away and get lost, which means the shepherd must go out and find them. They are sometimes accused of docilely following one another like, well, so many sheep.
Jesus the Good Shepherd, who knows some things about sheep, instructs us in His opinion about those in His care: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:27-28). Jesus is a Shepherd like no other: "I know My own and My own know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep" (John 10:14-15). He brings all His sheep safely into His fold.
We, of course, are the sheep that belong to our Good Shepherd. Like sheep, we had wandered, becoming hopelessly entangled in the temptations of the world and of our own sinful desires. We were thoroughly lost in the darkness of sin and unable to find our way to the fold. But our Shepherd came looking for us. He lifted each precious sheep to His shoulders—shoulders that once bore the heavy weight of the cross—and, rejoicing, He carried us home.
However undeserved, sheep may not have the best of reputations, but they know some things. They recognize the voice of their shepherd and they follow him. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we, the sheep of our Lord's pasture, we know some things, too. We hear and recognize our Shepherd's voice in His life-giving, restoring Word. We are fed at the Shepherd's table, where we receive His body and blood given and shed for us. We follow the Shepherd with confidence, even through the valley of the shadow of death, because He has been there before us.
Securely held in our Shepherd's nail-scarred hand, we confess, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever."
THE PRAYER: Good Shepherd, walk with me through every shadowed valley and hold me safely in Your hand until I dwell in Your house forever. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
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