Psalm 23:1-2 - The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
"I shall not want," our psalm proclaims. "I will lack nothing; I will have everything I need." That bold statement expresses our confidence in the Shepherd who cares for us. Still, that confidence we claim can fail very easily. In the face of trouble and need, we grow concerned. Just how far can we stretch our finances? We worry about paying bills, buying groceries, providing clothing for our families. Even if we are not concerned about those necessary things, the temptations of the world around us, the ever-hungry consumer culture in which we live, and our own selfish desires lead us to want quite a bit. We want—and think we need—more "stuff." We wish we had more money to buy more material possessions. We need much and want more.
When we become anxious about things we want and need, our Good Shepherd gently reminds us that we are not the only creatures in His green pastures. The Shepherd directs our attention to the birds and the lilies that share our pasture. Birds do not grow crops or worry about storing up food, yet God feeds them. Lilies don't weave cloth or even shop in department stores, yet the flowers' brilliant colors outshine even the rich, royal robes of King Solomon. God clothes the green pastures in bright grass that is alive one day and cut down and burned the next. God knows our needs (see Matthew 6:25-33). If He provides for the birds and grass and lilies, how much more will He care for the sheep for whom the Shepherd died?
God knew out greatest need. We were lost and wandering sheep, unable to save ourselves, unable to find the safety and comfort of His green pastures. God the Son was born among us to be our Shepherd and our Savior. The Shepherd came to be the perfect Lamb of sacrifice, to offer up His life for the sins of every lost sheep. On the first Easter morning, God "brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep" (Hebrews 13:20). Our sins are forgiven, and we have been brought by faith into the Shepherd's fold. He continues to seek and to save lost sheep and, rejoicing, brings them home to His green pastures and still waters. He satisfies our every need. For if God gave us His Son, "how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32b)
Anxious sheep would do well to pay attention to where they are and to whom they belong, and to stop seeking those imaginary, greener pastures. If we are to be concerned about something, the Shepherd reminds us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. The Shepherd's precious sheep need only concern themselves with the green pastures provided for them and the paths of righteousness in which their Shepherd leads them. The Shepherd will take care of the rest.
THE PRAYER: Jesus, my Shepherd, teach me to be content in Your care. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Are you anxious about your life and the future?
2. Does God still lead us to green pastures, to comfort us? What might that look like in our everyday life?
3. When have you longed for a green pasture that was imaginary, or less than you expected?
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