The LORD is my shepherd. – Psalm 23 NIV
When my youngest son first got his Australian Shepherd puppy, I had to chuckle. Did David have any clue how much time and effort it would take to train him?
The things this bundle of unbridled energy chewed up when I doggie-sat him! I seriously considered sending David an itemized bill for what I had to replace. Like my bird book. Like the spout from my stainless steel water bottle. Like a throw rug. Like the charging cord for my cell phone.
We’d call, “Tucker! Come!” But he ran the other way.
That was then.
Now Tucker is nearly two, and the time David has put into training him is obvious. While Tucker is still a bundle of energy, he’s obedient and tries hard to please. And he comes when he is called.
Just as it was important for Tucker to learn to submit to his master’s commands, it was also imperative for David to know Tucker, his Australian Shepherd traits and his unique personality.
When I think of Tucker, I think of Psalm 23.
Over the centuries, this beloved psalm has brought comfort, peace, and contentment in times of grief, sadness, and doubt. As we read the words the psalmist David penned – probably while he was on a hillside tending his father’s sheep – they resonate deep within our hearts and souls, and we sense an unnamed longing within filled.
We imagine ourselves relaxing in a verdant meadow, beside a lazy brook whose waters gurgle placidly downstream. Our souls are refreshed and restored.
But our relationship with this Shepherd who leads us to this quiet place, who makes us lie down (when we’d rather be hurtling full steam ahead), who leads us, not away from, but through the deep, dark valleys in our lives, is one of trust.
We must trust the Shepherd.
This, then, is a psalm of trust – something that seems to be in short supply these days. We seem to want to trust only ourselves to provide for our needs. We think we know what we want, what we need. And so, we, like sheep, run away from our Shepherd (Isaiah 53:6), each our own way.
But our Shepherd knows us better than we know ourselves. You see, He is more than our Shepherd. He is our Creator, the One who formed each one of us when we were still in our mother’s womb. (Psalm 139)
As our Creator-Master-Shepherd trains us, we learn He wants only what He knows is best for each of us. We learn He acts out of love. “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” (Hebrews 12:11 NLT)
When He formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life in him, did God have any clue how much time and effort it would take to train this species? Yes. But He did it anyway because in His eyes we are worth it.
You see, we are more than sheep in His pasture (Psalm 100:3). We are His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10), His crowning glory (Psalm 8:5).
Don’t you think it’s time we acted like it?
Thank you, Lord, for being my Shepherd. Amen.
Read and meditate on Psalm 23.
© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.