The relationship between God and Man is described all throughout the Bible as a “Shepherd-Sheep” relationship. In Psalm 23, we find David describing God as the Good Shepherd and what He does for us as His sheep. Too often, we, like sheep, wander away and go astray. But Jesus, our Good Shepherd, always leads us back to Him. And not only does He lead us, He also gives us so many good things as David enumerated in Psalm 23. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who acts and leads His sheep and provides us with all that we need. He makes sure that we never lack. (Psalm 23:1)
Here are 7 things that God as our Good Shepherd gives us:
- He gives us REST. (He lets me rest in green meadows…” – Psalm 23:2)
In such a restless age as this, there is perhaps no greater need for rest than now. In Mark 6:31, Jesus tells His disciples, ”Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat. And Jesus knew the importance of rest. He is not a slavedriver. Rather, He is a loving God who knows rest is a priority for His people. Inasmuch as physically we must find time for sleep no matter how severe the pressure of work is, so too we must find time for rest spiritually. The Good Shepherd says, “I will give you rest.” The Master never expects us to always be on the go. He tells us to “rest awhile” and if we do not pay attention to this invitation, He Himself will call us out of the rush and into the hush of life. In what specific area of your life are you being called today to rest?
- He gives us REFRESHMENT. (He leads me beside peaceful streams…” – Psalm 23:2)
There is no thirst in the human spirit and there is no craving that is not satisfied in the refreshment of Jesus. In John 4, Jesus told the woman at the well that the one who drinks from Him shall never thirst again (John 4:14). Jesus is the refreshing stream, He is the living water. Think about that time in your life when you were so in need, you were so dry and you sat down and spent some time with Jesus and He refreshed your soul and spoke those Words that you needed to hear and melted away the grief, the anxiety, and the loss. And in just that one moment, you were refreshed. Jesus is always inviting us to this stream. Why don’t we go to that stream more often?
- He gives us RESTORATION . (He renews my strength.” – Psalm 23:3)
Did you know that this line from Psalm 23 literally means ”My Soul, He brings back”, or “my soul He returns”? This is what God does for us: He restores us by renewing our strength when we are worn down and by bringing us back after our wandering. No matter how many times we try to go astray and leave His presence, the Good Shepherd always finds us and brings us home, back to Him.
- He gives us GUIDANCE. (“He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” – Psalm 23:3)
This follows on the restoration that God provides for us. He not only brings us back, He also leads us and guides so that we won’t go astray again. Having recalled us from the wrong paths we’ve disobediently been through, the Good Shepherd always leads us back to the right way so that we can bring honor to His name. We can wander wide easily enough, but if we are to be kept in the right way, it can only be done through the Shepherd’s care. God guides us through His Word, through our circumstances, through His Spirit, and through the community of believers.
- He gives us a LIVING PRESENCE. “( “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” – Psalm 23:4)
God is not just merely with us in the darkness. He is with us ALWAYS. He gives us the sunshine of the living presence of a Guide, a help, a friend, and a Savior. He is always on the believer’s path. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we would be able to always remember this? That in every circumstance, God is always with us. There is not a day that He isn’t. There isn’t a struggle that He can’t see. There isn’t a cry that He doesn’t hear. But our own constant forgetfulness or even unbelief hinders us from seeing this. If we would only realize that His presence goes with us whenever and wherever, then we would “rejoice always.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
- He gives us DISCIPLINE. (“Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4)
The rod and staff are special emblems of the Shepherd’s care in tending and ruling the flock. In the same way, Jesus as our Good Shepherd chides us when we wander, and sometimes uses sharp measures as He brings us back. And this should comfort us! We must view God’s disciplinary dealings as one of His greatest mercies upon us. For after all, the Lord disciplines those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6).
- He gives us AMPLE PROVISIONS. (“You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.” – Psalm 23:5)
The riches of God’s love and life are the provisions on which we feed on daily. Our souls can grow and thrive because God supplies us with all that we need. We never lack. By God’s grace, we are being ministered to, even while our enemies prowl around. God treats us as His guests at the Father’s house and prepares for us an abundant banquet where we can feast on as long as we like. His provisions for us are so rich and so abundant that our cup always overflows. So today, why don’t we come to Jesus? He is inviting us to take His hand, to rest, to feast, and to allow Him to lead us. Can you hear His voice calling out to you?