The Lord's My Shepherd

 When I was a very young boy, I was given an autograph book, in which friends and relatives wrote something memorable, or humorous, or encouraging. I very clearly remember one such entry:

‘When you are up to your neck in hot water, be like the kettle and sing’

Of course, that was written in the days when boiling kettles really did sing and whistle, and did not turn off automatically; which perhaps is something unknown to children today!

We all have times of stress and difficulty and feel that we are up to our necks in trouble, maybe deep in hot water, possibly through no fault of our own.   But do we sing?   What do we sing?

A very popular song today, certainly for people of an older age group, sung very frequently at major celebratory events filled with both joy and sadness, like weddings and funerals, was written in 1650 and is a hymn with very familiar words to many people, words taken from the Bible in Psalm 23:

 “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul”

Those familiar words, originally penned 3,000 years ago by King David, who was also a shepherd, are just as relevant, true, encouraging and comforting today and continue to bring great joy and blessing to all those who know and trust the Lord God Almighty, Who is the Great Shepherd of the Sheep  

If we are honest, as we live in the world today with all its difficulties and discord, trials and tribulations, we recognise the truth of God’s Word when we read:

“We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way”

That is a statement of fact, explaining why we struggle and strive in our own strength, getting lost and lonely in the mire of everyday life. But that same verse from the Bible does not stop there, but continues:

“and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth”

About Whom is Isaiah writing? What has that got to do with us? The glorious good news is that the Lord God Almighty, our Creator and loving Heavenly Father, saw the increasing selfishness and sinfulness, disasters and destruction in which we were enmeshed. And because He loves us, He took action:

He gave His Son, the Lord Jesus, Who came into this world to take our place of punishment

on the cross, just outside Jerusalem

“When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”

The Lord Jesus Himself said, “I am the Good Shepherd … I have come to seek and to save those who are lost … the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep”

We are swiftly moving towards Easter which is a celebration of that wonderful event.

A Christian is someone who does not just sing the tremendous words of Psalm 23; who does not just enjoy the tuneful melody; but is someone who has the absolute assurance that:

… the Lord Jesus is their Shepherd, their Saviour, Who rescued them from the slavery of sin

   … the Lord Jesus is the Provider of all that they need in this life and for eternity

      … the Lord Jesus leads them and guides them in good, peaceful paths in the midst of trouble

         … the Lord Jesus restores, renews and repairs their life to be what He originally created

May I ask … do you know the truth and reality of those lovely words which you have probably sung and enjoyed many times?  If not … you could … if you cry out to the Good Shepherd … today

Ron Brickman