Bible Society of South Africa

Grace: Psalm of abundant grace – 18 November 2022

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

The LORD our Shepherd

1The LORD is my shepherd;

I have everything I need.

Psalms 23:1GNBOpen in Bible reader

Many different nuances of grace have emerged in our daily reflections, and today’s focus illustrates something of its rich fullness, while yet remaining varied in its application, as we see it through eyes of, “a man after God’s own heart”. (1 Samuel 13:14) David started out as a shepherd boy, then became a king; he had a wealth of differing experiences in his personal relationship with the Shepherd, who, always remained unchanging.

The very well-loved Psalm 23 is a relatively short psalm that brings comfort and peace as it radiates God’s tender love and intimate care for each individual in His flock. This psalm is read, or sung, on many different occasions because it applies in different human experiences, and has the power to comfort heart and mind as we discover that the Shepherd recognises our needs and is able to meet them, whether we deserve it, or not.

When the LORD is my shepherd, as He was David’s, I know him and He leads me; I have everything I need, because, as Creator and Friend, He cares for me in my own personal circumstances and provides for me each step of the way. He knows about my busy, stress-filled life so He regularly leads me to quiet, beautiful places, where I can experience newness of heart, mind and spirit in His Presence, as He “gives me new strength”. (Psalm 23:3)

Because the shepherd is good, He always has our best interests at heart and provides for each of us in the way He knows is best; so, as we remember that He is caring for us, we can cease worrying, because He doesn’t want us to get lost and will always protect us. “He guides (us) in the right paths, as he has promised” as He sets us on “the narrow road that leads to life, (which) only a few find”. (Matthew 7:14)

He equips us to maintain this peace.

On those days when life is challenging and we feel that we’re, “go(ing) through the deepest darkness,” (Psalm 23:3) challenged by a crisis – a life-threatening illness, unemployment, unending pain, or rejected by those we love, we find comfort in trusting His strong presence, and his peace, to replace our fear because we know that this Shepherd is “not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses”. (Hebrews 4:15)

The Shepherd doesn’t leave us at any time. He is even present when we are contending with our enemies!

David, as shepherd and king, is so overcome by God’s blessing that he feels He “fills his cup to the brim”; (Psalm 23:5) and God makes whatever his enemy – bear, lion, giant, father-in-law – powerless to thwart his purposes for him, and the experience becomes the means of a rich feast through His grace.

Is the LORD your Shepherd?

Prayer: Gracious Shepherd, “I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life; and your house will be my home as long as I live.” (Psalm 23:6) Amen

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