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Daily Worship


God's Work in a Time of Fear


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Sheep Need a Good Shepherd

by Elaine Pierce

How many times have you read Psalm 23? How many of you have this beloved psalm memorized? It is hard to look at Psalm 23 with fresh eyes, isn't it? And yet, when I ask God to show me what I need, and I listen and wait patiently, he will always bless me. So let's take a look at Psalm 23.

I read that this psalm comes from the time of David's life when Samuel anointed him the new King of Israel (I Samuel 16:10-12). God directed the prophet Samuel to choose a new king, and that king would be one of Jesse's sons. But when seven of his sons stood before Samuel, he knew he hadn't found the king. Jesse told him that his youngest son David, was away tending the sheep. This was a lowly task given to the youngest child. When they fetched David and brought him to Jesse, God made it very clear that this young man would be King David, and so, in obedience, Samuel anointed him King.

The job of a shepherd was not considered a career goal for which to aim. It was hard, lonely work. Sheep are smelly, recalcitrant, and, to be honest, not very smart. The hours are long and the rewards are low. But without a shepherd, sheep would not survive. They are totally dependent on the shepherd for everything.

What does the shepherd do in Psalm 23? Here are a few things:

  • He restores my soul.

  • He comforts me.

  • He anoints my head with oil.

  • He keeps me from harm's way.

  • He guides me in paths of righteousness.

This is a shepherd who has my best interest at heart, and this is a shepherd who knows better than I do what is good for me. This is a shepherd who is trustworthy. This is a shepherd who loves me. This is MY shepherd.

Probably the most well-known shepherds in the Bible outside Psalm 23 are the shepherds who visit Jesus after the angels tell them that a savior is born this day. But Jesus tells his followers that HE is the good shepherd. And he says this: "the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I know my sheep and my sheep know me (John 10)."

The sheep will encounter trials. There will be enemies along the way. There will be fears to face. But through it all, the shepherd will lead us. Take his hand. Accept his love. Bask in his forgiveness and grace and mercy. Yes, the valleys of the shadow of death will come to each of us, but our shepherd will provide a way out. Take his hand and allow him to lead you.



Spoken Prayer: Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading of Psalm 23 today. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.

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