There once lived a young shepherd boy named David. He was the youngest of eight brothers, so he was often overlooked and left out. He spent a lot of lonely nights out in the fields, watching the flocks to protect them from danger.
Was it in these moments that God became personal to him? Real to him? The Shepherd to him?
Was it alone in the fields, the stars twinkling over head, when David wrote Psalm 23?
I know how we as humans tend to think, and I cannot honestly say that I would be full of praise, appreciation, and gratitude if I were sitting alone in a sheep field. Discounted by my family. Practically disowned by my family. Purposed isolated from my family.
But David seems to have found joy. David seems to have settled into peace. David seems to have gotten personal with God.
And, whether suddenly or gradually, the sheep fields weren’t so bad. Nothing physical changed. He still had to endure the weather. He still was awake through the night. He still inhaled the awful smells of the pasture. He still chased wandering sheep too stupid to say safe within the sheepfold. He still rarely saw his family.
So what happened? He became aware that God was always with him. And that truth penetrated the broken and lonely places in his heart to change him. To give him the confidence he was loved. To open his eyes to see he was never alone.
Thus he could say “the Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1) and know he was well cared for. Even alone in the field. Because a good shepherd never abandons his flock. He makes sure their every need is met – “green pastures” (2a) to graze and “still waters” (2b) to drink. He protects them from any danger – his “rod and … staff” (4c) always ready to defend. He leads them through safe paths (3b) so no harm will befall them. He is always present and always watchful. Because His sheep matter to him.
You matter to God. He loves you deeply. And He wants to take care of you. So you can confidently say “I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1b). Because “You [God] prepare a table before” us (5a), full of everything we need to get through today successfully. Because “You [God] have anointed” us (5b), covering us with Your grace and glory. Because Your “goodness and mercy” (6a) chase us, wanting to envelop us and protect us.
And not just once. Not just in times of trial. But “all the days of my life” (6a). That means every day you are alive, God promises all these things to you.
And then if all that was not blessing enough, He invites us to “dwell forever in [His] house and presence” (6b). To be with Him. To know Him. To love Him. To serve Him.
God met with David right where he was – in the sheep fields. And He is waiting to meet you right where you are, no matter where that is. Because He wants you to be able to confidently declare “The Lord is my Shepherd” (1a) and to confidently know that He is taking care of you.
So will you allow Him to be your Shepherd?
Marie Fremin. 10/7-10/8/16