My Psalm for the week this week is Psalm 23. A very familiar passage indeed. In fact, so familiar that I almost missed it completely; I almost missed out on the way God was coming to meet me right in the midst of the place I happen to be living these days. I have to admit that I have a tendency to be a bit of a sentence finisher. Oh maybe not out loud, but definitely within my spirit. When something is familiar to me on the surface, or I hear a conversation where I think "I know where this is going,” I have a tendency to stop listening because I “already know” what’s going to be said. I'm sure it drives my wife crazy…and rightly so.
Luckily, with Psalm 23, God didn’t allow me to finish his sentences for him. He had something very specific he wanted to say to me—and I am so glad. Because, these days, I find myself in some rather uncertain and anxious circumstances; and I am in need of being reminded of the character and power and faithfulness and trustworthiness of my God. He is my Shepherd…I have no need to want. He will provide for me, protect me, defend me, and guide me. He will make me lie down in green pastures. If I will truly believe in his desire and his ability to care for me, then I will be able to let go of my anxious, fearful, controlling behavior and will have the freedom to lie down in his presence and simply trust in his love. He will lead me beside quiet waters—not chaotic, frenzied, crazy-out-of-control waters—but quiet and still waters where he will (and he alone can) restore my soul.
Every image that God gives us of himself is actually an invitation…a picture to step into. Because with just about every image of God, there is a corresponding image of us. In this case, he is the shepherd, and thus, we are his sheep. So, this week I have received a great gift. I have found myself often in the arms of my Shepherd, and it has been exactly what I have needed…as well as longed for. I’m so glad he didn’t allow me to finish his sentences this time around, because mine wouldn’t have been near as good as his.