Top Priority (Psalm 23:1-3a) – March 15, 2023 (85/365)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

We have established that because God is not only a Lord but THE Lord, He is great. He is powerful. But He is much more than this, because David called this God, who is Lord, His shepherd, as well. For him to call God his Shepherd not only implies that God is great and powerful, but also as good and as merciful, and as gracious as a Shepherd is.

We took some time to talk about this, but I think it was totally worth it. God is good. God is great. And we can definitely say this and claim it for ourselves and our entire beings and lives. Is it because we are good and great? No – it’s because Christ, the good Shepherd – what HE did was great… in fact SO great that we can say that God, in all His greatness, is good to us.

Take that in. God is good to us. This great God, who is the Lord of Lords is as good to us as a Shepherd is – He is willing lay everything down just for His sheep.

That that in from another perspective. This great God is good to us. This good God is absolutely great. The writer of Psalm 50 shares that every beast of the forest is His, even the cattle on a thousand hills. He knows all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is His (Psalms 50:10-11). In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, we read that He knows the number of hairs on our head.

Of course, I just had to Google. There are at least a hundred thousand hairs on our head at any given moment, and throughout the course of our day, we shed around 50-100 hairs from combing, brushing, or whatever. If you take into account that He knows how many numbers of hair on your head, and all our heads combined, then that accounts to at least 7 and a half QUADRILLION hairs that He knows on the heads of every human being at any point of time.

What am I trying to point out here? The God who has all that there can be had, and He knows all that there can be known… And His love for us is as everlasting as His power and His wisdom. It is from this point of view that David can certainly say, even in the face of all that this world can offer – ‘I shall not want’. Other translations phrase it as, “I have everything I need”; and, indeed, all that we want and need is not only IN God, but IS God Himself.

God, as a good and great Shepherd who is for us, is certainly willing and able to give us whatever we need, and responds to whatever we say we want, with His infinite power and wisdom. And see here, David could have said, immediately after this, that He prepares a table for me in the presence of our enemies. David could have written, right after saying that God is His Lord and Shepherd, and right after saying that he shall not want, and he has everything that he needs, that He also anoints his head with oil, and his cup overflows. Well, while we’re at it, David could have written stuff we’d probably think would follow immediately after that today – He is the Vanguard of Truth in a world full of lies. He is the Defender of the brokenhearted, the One who gives us all that we can ever be blessed with; And he still wouldn’t have been wrong!

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

No, friends, I believe that God was speaking through David, not only in his choice of words, but in the order of how he wrote them – What God wants for us, more than anything else that we need or want, is to be at peace.

He makes us lie down and rest in green pastures. I’m led to say, that’s what I want for you as well. If anyone comes to you and just asks you to pray for them, and says for nothing in particular, but to just pray for them in general, consider praying that they would lie down in green pastures. No, not UNDER green pastures.

What am I trying to point out here? Our good and great God wants us to rest in peace. No, not as the Undertaker would say it, but break those two down – He wants us to lie down. He wants us to rest. And He wants us in green pastures. He wants us in peace.

Why? Well, have you ever tried doing exactly that – to lie down in a green pasture? Back in my day (say that in Abe Simpson’s voice), we wouldn’t just sit, but lie down in the open fields that we were blessed to have access to, and we would look straight up to the sky, and talk amongst ourselves, even quarrel about how this cloud looks like a turtle, and how that cloud doesn’t look like a Christmas tree, but the tip of the great arrowhead that struck Achilles’ heel, finally hitting a weak spot and essentially ending his life.

When we rest in peace like this, we’re free to think and appreciate the goodness of God, and in so doing, we’re brought deeper and deeper into the knowledge of His saving grace, and as such, we grow wiser, and we grow stronger. I mean, think about it – we’re lying down and resting, but at the same time we’re being brought to a higher understanding of how God is, and just how good and how great He is for us.

I like one song by Jamiroquai, solely for its title – Travelling Without Moving. That’s exactly what’s going on with us, with the Lord God as our Shepherd.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

I think we can look at these two sentences as one. Just as He would want us to lie in green pastures, He also wants us by still waters, to restore us. The same God who wants rest and peace for us, first and foremost, well, He also wants us calm, and restored.

Friends, I don’t think it’s an accident that we’re talking about this.

Does it seem like everything out there is trying to rob you of your energy? Have you ever had times where you think you’ve had enough sleep, but you still wake up feeling really tired? Well, maybe it’s in those times that we need to know that God wants us to rest. Christ became restless, for us to rest.

Are you feeling troubled, or anxious about everything, everywhere, all at once? Congratulations to Michelle Yeoh and everyone else who contributed to that nice movie, by the way. But are the winds of circumstance and the waves of unfortunate events rattling you and having you screaming in the storm? Friends, God wants you at rest, and God wants you at peace, even in these hectic moments. The same Christ whom the winds and the waves obey – He took our anxiety, for us to be at peace.

Does it feel as if you’re feeling out of control, or as if something in your heart and mind is just telling you to rage and scream out at anything and everything in this world? My brothers and sisters, it’s during these moments that you may want to check yourself, and allow the Holy Spirit to remind you to take a deep breath, count to 10, and be calm. Christ took all the uncontrollable emotions associated with sin and death, for us to be calm.

Are you thinking that things are hopeless, or without a way out? Are you troubled by things you may have done that have done damage beyond repair? Friends, if you’re asking if something is too hard for God to do, you aren’t alone. As far back as the very first book of the Bible, we read of Abraham asking the same thing. God responds to him with a rhetorical question – ‘Is anything too hard for the Lord?’ (Genesis 18:14)

Countless generations later He would answer His own rhetorical question with a definite and absolute answer. To Jeremiah, He says, ‘There is NOTHING too hard for God’ (Jeremiah 32:17)

Friends, Christ took all of our doubts, all of the anxiety linked to uncertainty, for us to understand, and to naturally appreciate, that God is willing and able for us to be restored.

Christ is our Good Shepherd. And we know this, because He lay His life down for us… that we would have rest, that we would be at peace and calm, and that we would be restored.

Have you been blessed?

Until the next post, God bless you.

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