PSALM 23:1-3: “The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need. He lets me lie down in fields of green grass. He leads me beside quiet waters. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths for the honor of his name.” (NIRV)
OBSERVATION: Am I the sheep or the shepherd? This may seem like a strange question, but it really is the question that holds within itself the key to how I live my life. If I view myself as the shepherd, I will live my life as I see fit, and I will expect the Lord to give me what I need and what I want. If I view my life as the sheep, then I will follow the direction of the shepherd, knowing that he alone will lead and guide me according to his plan. In essence it is the question of who will be the Lord of my life.
I love Psalm 23. Yet, I often live my life as if it read – “I am the shepherd, and the Lord will help me do what I want to do. He will meet all my needs, and bless me with open doors and great opportunities as I follow the path I have chosen for my life.” Yet – this is not what a sheep does. A sheep, with all due respect, is not that smart. Left alone, they will always wander away, and will always choose the wrong path. And worst than that – they will have a willing helper in the hireling. Jesus reminds us of this in John 10.
- “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so they can have life. I want them to have it in the fullest possible way. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. The hired man is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when the hired man sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired man. He does not care about the sheep.” John 10:10-13 NIRV
The enemy of our souls is the thief, the hired man. He loves to lead us into paths that will ultimately steal, kill, and destroy us. They are not paths that are filled with thorns and dry places at first glance. At first glance, they are the easy paths, the popular paths, the paths that appear to lead to abundance. Yet, if we follow these paths we find grass that is withered, pools of water that have grown stagnant, and darkness that is foreboding. We find ourselves lost and wandering, unable to find our way home. This is what happens when we try to be the shepherd. We are easily deceived.
Yet, if we take our place as the sheep, under the care of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord – everything changes! If we seek His path, if we follow His will, if we enter through His gate – we truly do find everything we need. He always leads us to the place of fulfillment (green grass). He always brings us His joy and peace (still waters). He always renews us with new strength and helps us fulfill our true destiny in life. He provides us with life, and life abundantly!
A sheep is meant to produce wool. This wool is not for the sheep, it is for others. It not only brings warmth and comfort to others, but it also brings honor and glory to the shepherd. This is really what our lives are supposed to look like. We are never called to live for ourselves. We are called to live our life to bless others, and to give glory to the Lord, our Good Shepherd. It is never about what I want, it is always about what He wants. This is the only posture that leads us in the pathway of life and the protection of the Shepherd of our souls.
Lord, I want to be a good sheep! I want to hear Your voice and enter into Your will for my life today. Guard and protect by your rod and staff, and lead me in the pathway of righteousness for Your name sake. Help me to be a blessing to others and truly bring glory to Your Name!
In Jesus Name!