The Lord My Shepherd

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, 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.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Psalm 23 NKJV

How many times have you consciously or unconsciously said the verses of Psalms 23? 

When you say the Lord is my shepherd, do you really mean it? Do you really understand what you are saying? Do acknowledge what it means to be a sheep? Do you consent to the Lord as your shepherd?

Do you know that sheep technically don’t have lives of their own? They depend completely on the shepherd for direction, forming, feeding, trimming, protection and every little bit of their life. The shepherd determines where the sheep goes, where they eat, what they drink, when it’s time to be shaved, etc. Their life is directly dependent on the goodness of their shepherd.

Hmmm.. A good shepherd.. The good shepherd.. 

Do you know that Jesus Christ, my Lord and saviour is the good shepherd? In John 7:11, he said it clearly, as plain as day;

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

John 7:11 NKJV

And this he did on the cross when he gave his life for our redemption, and washed our sins in his blood.

So then, the next logical question to ask is, is Jesus Christ your shepherd? Have you accepted him as your shepherd? or better yet, when was the last time you let Him be your shepherd?

When was the last time you let the Lord shear you? The bible says;

For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.

Hebrews 12:6 NKJV

When you were dealing with that waiting period, how did you handle it? How are you handling the current one? Are you complaining in the waiting or are you trusting God? Do you look at John 15:2-6 NKJV which says;

2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

John 15:2-6 NKJV

and you say;

“Yes! That’s me right now.. I’m being pruned for more fruiting! For bigger and better things!”

Or do you say;

“Oh God why hath thou forsaken me?”

Yea, 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.

Psalm 23:4 NKJV

When you read verse 4 of Psalm 23, do you get excited about the Lord being with you in the valley of the shadow of death but forget that his rod and staff when they hit you are actually for your comfort?

2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Psalm 23:2-3 NKJV

When it’s time to take a step, do you wait on God for direction or you step out like a goat, headstrong and thinking you know better than the master, jumping to and fro, completely ignoring the leading and calling of the shepherd? 
Are you allowing Him to lead you to the still waters to restore your soul? Are you following the path of righteousness? Or are you all about getting to the still waters and green pastures but not the faith and trust that is needed in the shepherd to get there?

Look at what John 10:27-28 says;

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

John 10:27-28 KJV

Are you following the voice of a stranger and ignoring the voice of your shepherd calling you into fellowship? Do you realise there’s no safety in the voice of the stranger but only destruction? Do you see that your safety is in following the good shepherd and completely trusting him like a sheep would to a shepherd. He has made this promise, and he never fails!

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.

Psalm 23:5 NKJV

You know, you can’t eat from the table prepared for you in the presence of wolves and lions of the earth if you don’t let the shepherd lead you to the prepared table. You can’t enjoy the calm, peace and comfort in the valley of the shadow of death, if you don’t allow the Lord take the lead.
Your head can’t be anointed if you are not steady and trusting in his presence like a sheep to a shepherd.
You are defenceless from the devil who is like a roaring lion looking for whom to destroy if you don’t let the shepherd set the encampment around you that protects you.

Do you know that in John 10:7-9, Jesus told us about this? That only in him is our salvation and safety?

7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

John 10:7-9 NKJV

So, you do see that; 
Only in Him do we find rest.
Only in Him do we find good pasture and still waters.
Only in Him do all our fears disappear.
Only in Him do we know for sure that we are defended, kept and secure.
Only in Him do we have eternal life.

My friend, you probably love reciting Psalm 23; You probably started reciting it since you were 4 years old; It was probably your first memory verse; but are you really fulfilling the terms and conditions? Are you really living subscribed to Christ being your shepherd? Think about it.

If you are not, it’s time to retrace your steps. You have to find your way back to the shepherd before it’s too late.

But maybe this is your first time ever coming across Psalm 23, and you can’t believe how great it is; Yes, I understand. I get how you feel. I feel like that all the time too!

The unconditional love of God and his promises to his children (yes really, we are his children see John 1:12), is always overwhelming like that, but you can’t enjoy it when you are not a member of the family of God. You’ve got to come in, and trust me, becoming a member of the family is super easy. You just have to do these 4 things;

  1. Realise that you are a sinner and can’t save yourself from your sins.
  2. Believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your salvation and was raised on the third day.
  3. Take a stand and make a decision in your heart to turn away from your sin; to accept the offer of salvation made available to you by the death of Christ on the cross and accept him to be your Lord and Saviour. Because, salvation is found in no other or is there any other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12)
  4. Ask him to come into your life by saying a short prayer. You have to say it out loud, because Romans 10:10 NKJV tells us that;
    For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation..

So, if you understand those 4 simple steps, say this prayer with me;
“Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I realise now that I’m a sinner and acknowledge that I can’t save myself. I now know that Jesus died for me by shedding his blood that I might be saved. Today, I accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour. I ask that you forgive all my sins. Wash me in your blood and make me whole. I forsake the devil, the world and a life of sin and sinful habits. I believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that Jesus is my Lord. Father, I thank you because you have saved me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.”

And that’s it! You are done! Washed and clean. You are now in Christ and thus a new person! (Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new – 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

Welcome to the family of Christ! Oh Hallelujah!

Keep winning with Christ!

Abiola Malik

If you said that prayer, drop a comment for me, or if you’ve lost your way and you are looking for a way back, and I will reach out personally to pray with you, and welcome you into the company of the father. We all need each other on this journey of faith!