Reading: Psalm 23
A psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
If there is a biblical recipe or prescription for the good life, it can be found in the words of this psalm. This is a psalm that drips with satisfaction. It oozes with the very fullness of life; it overflows with a quiet peace. There is a mellow ripeness to these words that runs down your chin, lights a spark in your eye, and puts a spring in your step.
He leads me beside quiet waters — photo by David Kitz
The first line is the key to it all. Is the LORD your shepherd? If He is, then all the rest follows: the refreshing, the goodness, and the love, simply come trailing along behind Him as you follow in His steps. This is so easy, so obvious; you can miss it, because it seems far too simple.
We live in a world that is in feverish pursuit of the good life. The self-centred pursuit of happiness has become the crowning, but ever elusive goal. The word ‘pursuit’ says it all. Apparently, happiness is something we are to chase after. Apparently, happiness can be found in a whole host of products, devices and programs.
What a profoundly different model for the good life is found within the words of this Psalm. The good life, which in our hearts we all seek, is anchored in the Good Shepherd. Jesus is that Good Shepherd. Listen to his words, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep, and my sheep know me” John 10:14 (NIV).
It is in following him, rather than following our own desires, that happiness comes. There is an abundance that comes into play the moment we surrender our stubborn will to the Good Shepherd and then begin to follow him with our whole heart.
Response: O LORD my God, I want to follow after you. Dear Jesus, be my Good Shepherd, now and throughout this life that you have given me. I love you because you first loved me. I want the good life that comes from following you. Amen.
Your Turn: Why do self-centered pursuits leave us feeling empty?