Grace & Truth Chapel
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"The Lord Is My Shepherd" (posted September 2, 2006)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
   - Psalm 23:1

Every believer can say, "The Lord is my Savior," but have we all definitely submitted to His leading, so that we can each say, "The Lord is my shepherd"?

Let us think for a moment of a flock of sheep without a shepherd. They are needy, foolish, weak, and timid creatures. If left to themselves to take their way through a wilderness scene, what would happen? Being hungry creatures they would soon starve; being foolish, they would wander and lose their way; being weak, they would grow weary and fall by the way; and being timid, they would flee before the wolf and be scattered.

In contrast, let us ask, what will happen if the sheep take their journey under the guidance of the shepherd? Now, if the sheep are hungry, the shepherd is there to guide them into green pastures; if they are foolish, he is there to keep their wandering feet; if they are weak, the shepherd is present to gently lead his sheep and carry the lambs; if they are timid, he is in front to lead them through the rough valleys, and defend them from every foe.

Plainly, in a flock without the shepherd everything depends upon the sheep, and this must lead to disaster. It is equally plain that if the shepherd goes before, and the sheep follow, it will mean a safe journey for the sheep, with manifold blessing by the way.

This, indeed, is the picture that truly represents the journey of the Christian flock through this world; for does not the Lord Himself say that He is "the shepherd of the sheep," that "he calls his own sheep by name," that "he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice" (Jn. 10:2-4).

The Twenty-third Psalm sets before us this blessedness of the Shepherd going before, and the sheep following. We, alas! in our self-confidence, may at times get in front of the Shepherd; or, growing careless, we may lag far behind. But granted the two conditions---that the Shepherd leads the way, and we follow---we can count upon the support of the Shepherd in every difficulty that we have to meet.

The psalmist touches upon seven different circumstances that we may be called to face:
   1. our daily needs;
   2. our spiritual needs;
   3. our failure and dullness of soul;
   4. the shadow of death;
   5. the presence of enemies;
   6. the daily path;
   7. the prospect of eternity.

All these things may, in varied ways and at different times, cross our paths; and, if we are left to face them in our own strength, they will surely overwhelm us with dread and disaster. Nevertheless, with the Lord as our Shepherd to lead the way, we can with confidence face the journey that leads to glory, in spite of the difficulties that may lie in the path.

Hamilton Smith

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