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My Shepherd

April 29, 2020 Dear Praying Friends, Thank you for joining in prayer for our prodigals and for revival. The whole tenor of the Bible relays a clear and sublime message: God cares intimately for each of us. This was Peter’s conclusion in his first letter, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you” (1Pet. 5:7). A few weeks ago, my men’s study group started a series on Psalm Twenty-Three, which has been very beneficial and uplifting to us. In the next few articles, I would like to consider this well-known and beautiful psalm of David; all six verses point to the wonder and greatness of our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.  David starts by proclaiming, “The LORD is my shepherd.” Who is this person that David calls my shepherd? The LORD! When you see four capital letters for the name of God, you know it is a name of great significance. The LORD is Jehovah, Yahweh, the ever-existing, self-existing, never changing, one true God. The one who revealed His name to Moses as, “I am who I am.” This is the God who is always faithful and always keeps His promises. Essentially, David was saying that this same incredible God was his Shepherd.  The personal pronoun “my” before the word shepherd conveys something exceedingly special and personal. He is the great Shepherd of His people, but to David, to you, to me, He is my Shepherd. This is relationship. If you know Him as Savior, He is also your Shepherd. Because of who He is and what He has done, He not only knows your needs but He cares deeply for you. I love the words of Mark Hall who sings —  Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth Would care to know my name Would care to feel my hurt? Who am I, that the bright and morning star Would choose to light the way For my ever wandering heart? Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who You are. Some of you may live in the country and be well acquainted with the work of a shepherd, but many of us who live in the city don’t know too much about it. I haven’t seen any degree programs at our local universities on shepherding. So what is the work of a shepherd? A shepherd’s first priority is taking care of sheep and sheep are helpless, needy, creatures. They are not attractive, strong, or helpful. The shepherd chooses to care for, feed, nourish, direct, and protect them. I’m not sure if the impact of this is hitting you yet, if the Lord is our Shepherd, then we are His sheep. Without Him, we would wander, stray, and die. Thankfully our Shepherd proved His love by giving His life for us. “I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep” (Jn. 10:11). And He continues to prove His love by daily giving us His life. “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (Jn. 10:10). David tells us that the result of a shepherd properly caring for sheep is that all their needs will be met. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” This phrase “not want” means that there will be nothing lacking. So then why is it that I go after sinful, hurtful, damaging things to satisfy my longing heart? Why is there often an emptiness inside that makes me feel like there is something lacking? This is where the prodigals are today. Sheep are prone to wander and we are no different. We need to stay close to our Shepherd because He is the source of all we need. As we enjoy His nearness and allow His Words to satisfy our hearts, we discover true contentment. Next week we’ll consider more how He does this but for today, appropriate for yourself the comforting truth that your Shepherd is able to satisfy you completely. Enjoy His presence today. Love in Christ, Bryan and Rachel


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