I have been growing and stretching (read struggling) in many ways lately. It is always interesting and comforting to me how God uses His Word and the scriptural books I am reading to speak to me and teach me. Have you ever had that situation where you are reading several things and somehow God brings a main idea together? It always packs a punch – and maybe is the kick in the pants that I need. Unfortunately, I resemble a stubborn donkey more often than I should.
I have been reading a book with the girls called Sammy and His Shepherd. It is an exposition of Psalm 23 for kids. Each day we read one of the phrases of the Psalm and there is a story to illustrate one of God’s attributes as our Shepherd. It has been so good for me.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
We learned that Jesus is our good shepherd who takes care of us and knows our name.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
We learned that we can rest because we know we are safe, we are free from irritations, and we have all the food that we require.
He leads me beside still waters.
We learned that our good shepherd knows our needs and He is diligent to provide what we need.
He restores my soul.
We learned that a sheep will get cast down and unable to get up for various reasons. Sometimes they are weak because they are sick or haven’t had enough food. Sometimes they can’t get back up because their wool is covered with dirt and debris and they lose their balance and can’t get their feet under them to get up. Jesus restores us – lifts us up – when we are helpless in our sin and unable to get ourselves up.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
A shepherd knows that sheep will keep eating in the same place even when the grass is gone and all they are eating is roots. So, they move their sheep to another pasture with fresh grass.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
The Shepherd leads us on a narrow and sometimes hard path, BUT He is always right there ahead of us leading the way. We do not walk the path alone, we have nothing to fear. And, best of all, the destination is wonderful!
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
The shepherd uses his rod and staff for guiding, for rescuing, and to protect from enemies.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
The sheep can enjoy their new pasture the shepherd has led them to because he has gone before the flock and prepared it for them by getting rid of enemies and things that could hurt them. The shepherd also has provided clean water and food for his sheep.
You annoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.
The shepherd puts a special oil on the sheep so that nose flies will not bother them which can be so bothersome that a sheep will hit his head on a rock to get rid of the flies and kill themselves in the process. In this lesson we also learned that our acknowledgment of our good Shepherd’s love, care, guidance, and protection of us is crucial. We must see that there is not just a drop in our cup – it is so full as to be running over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…
Our Shepherd teaches us that every sheep in the flock is special because they were chosen and purchased. If we realize that every believer is loved by God we will accept and love them just as the Shepherd loves us.
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
We learned that the more we know our Shepherd, the more we become like Him. We also have a desire to share about Him with others who do not yet know Him. Once we belong to our Shepherd we are His forever!
There is more, but I will let this digest for a bit and write the rest of it for you later. I hope that you will be encouraged by this picture of your good Shepherd.