The Shepherd's way ...

a little journey through psalm 23: part 2

God is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.

You lay me down in lush meadows.

You guide me toward tranquil waters, reviving my soul.

You lead me down paths of righteousness, for that is your way.

I have always marveled that the first thing King David says God does - just after he states that God is his shepherd and that he lacks nothing - is lay him down in lush meadows.

Not - "God puts me to work" or "makes me study hard" or "asks me to set goals for my life."

No, God lays him down in lush meadows.

The very first thing God the Great Shepherd does for King David is to cause him to rest.

To seek peace and quiet and repose.

What does that tell you about the heart of God toward you?

What might this give you permission to do?

Then, God guides King David toward tranquil waters ... a source of refreshment, a source of soul-deep revival.

Water, the one simple thing we need for life.

God, the Good Shepherd doesn't always guide toward wine, cheese or meat, but he does guide us toward life-sustaining, soul-reviving water.

We can rest in his Providence. We can trust that when our soul is weary, he will provide a resurgence of strength for us.

And he leads us toward ways that are right and good and true and just.

I picture a shepherd gently leading his sheep - not forcing, not coercing, not driving - but gently leading.

When we feel lost, when we feel powerless, helpless, hopeless, we can trust our Good Shepherd to gently guide us in ways that are right, not for us alone, but for our neighbors, as well.

For that is the Shepherd's way.

His way is always right and good.

God is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.

Amen.