Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Thoughts On The Shepherd - Part 1

Christmas was a few weeks ago.  Recently, I was talking with a friend about it.  After sharing with each other about what gifts we gave the kids, the conversation turned a little more serious.  I told him, "You know, I don't think I even asked for anything this year.  I guess I'm realizing I don't really need anything."  His reply was, "Yeah, same here.  I didn't ask for anything either." 
I think a lot of people reach that point in life.  Part of it is just growing up.  But I think it's more than that.  Ultimately, it's the realization that nothing in this world can satisfy us like God can.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."  This is the first verse of Psalm 23.  Sheep are blessed to have a shepherd look after them.  And we are blessed to have God look after us. 
I like that phrase "I shall not want."  The Message puts it this way:  "I don't need a thing."  And the Holman Christian Standard Bible states "There is nothing I lack."
A shepherd meets the needs of the sheep.  When his work is complete, they are filled and satisfied.  In the same way, God meets the needs of His people.  And because of Him, we too are filled and satisfied.  That is why we can say, "I shall not want."  With God, we have everything we need.
I once heard Charles Stanley talking about this idea of satisfaction.  He described walking through a mall and seeing all sorts of nice merchandise.  Then he talked about how when he returned to his car in the parking lot he thought to himself, "Thank God I don't need any of that stuff."  See, he realized that everything he really needed was found in God.
In verse 2 and 3 of Psalm 23, we see a quick list of some blessings we receive from God:
[a]  "He makes me lie down in green pastures" -  This means God gives us peace so we can rest easy.
[b]  "He leads me beside quiet waters" -  This means God meets our basic needs.
[c]  "He restores my soul" -  This means God helps us catch our breath and recover from the demanding and exhausting seasons of life.
[d]  "He guides me in the paths of righteousness" -  This means God points us in the right direction. 
It really is true.  Everything that the human heart longs for can be found in God.  He satisfies us like nobody else can.
Here's a word of caution:  Let's never love the gifts more than we love The Giver.  It's great to enjoy the benefits of a relationship with God, but let's remember it all starts with the relationship.
May the words "I shall not want" become a reality in your life and my life. 
May we remember that a connection with God through Jesus Christ is what fulfills a heart the most.
And may we worship Him with hearts full of gratitude for all that He is and all that He does.
As members of His flock, we really are blessed, aren't we?!

No comments:

Post a Comment