Saturday, July 14, 2012

There's No Such Thing as a Cliche Verse

I have always heard the 23rd Psalm.  I think I've had it memorized since I was in Children's Church. You hear it read at every funeral, and even recited by secular rap stars- but I never thought about what it really meant.  I've unfortunately always thought of it as a "cliche verse", in which case there's really no such thing. I pray that it blesses you the way that it just blessed me.

Psalms 23 was written by David. 

The Lord is my shepherd; -David was a shepherd. Sheep are a very trusting animal.

I shall not want. - the sheep have no worries over tomorrow, what they will eat, what they will drink.  Their shepherd provides all of their needs-their only job is to follow their Master.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. - He's a good Shepherd, who gives good things to His sheep.  He doesn't give them His left overs, or what will just "make do", dirty water or just a place to stay. He's a good Shepherd who takes pride in His flock.

He restores my soul. -  His presence brings His sheep peace.

He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name's sake. -
He leads me to do what is right - He takes pride in me, He shows me off. As a shepherd shows off his flock he adores, cherishes and protects.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; 
    your rod and your staff, they comfort me. -  It does not matter where His feet may lead me, I will have no fear in the presence of my Master. He guards me from evil and fends off my enemies. - I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.-John 10:11 (ESV)

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; -I can face my fears when He's guiding me. In His presence I am never alone.
you anoint my head with oil;- He blesses me.
my cup overflows.- His love overwhelms me
Surely goodness (steadfast love) and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life, - When I pursue Him, when I follow Him, when I cling to His side, His Blessings will never cease!
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. - and I will forever remain in the presence of my Good Shepherd!

I was thinking about all the times as a sheep, I ran off from the flock.  I wound up chasing butterflies or something else and lost sight of my Master. 

Don't we, so often, start chasing after something else and somehow wind up stuck in the thorn bushes?  Crying out for our Shepherd and sometimes having the audacity to blame Him saying "Why did You bring me here? Why have You left me?" When I'm the one that left and it started when I began chasing after something else?

Then I am overwhelmed at the realization that I have "the Good Shepherd".  He doesn't roll His eyes and think - "I told you so. Too bad, so sad." Nope I have "the Good Shepherd" who instead:
...If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.- Matthew 18:12-13

He chases after you with His steadfast love, rejoicing when He finds His little one. In those days of shepherding; if a shepherd had one of his sheep run off, when he found him, break his legs and carry it across his shoulders, to retrain that lamb to remember his masters voice and for the lamb to remember the goodness and provision found in the master's presence.

Lord I pray to have complete trust in You, as a lamb does for it's shepherd. May I know Your presence and bask in Your goodness. Lord break my legs if it will draw me deeper into Your presence. Increase my faith.
Your Clay,

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