Are you under a dark providence? Do you feel alone? In the 19th century, George Matheson penned these beautiful words that are full of hope:
“I trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not in vain
That morn shall tearless be.”
Right this moment, you may be asking, ‘How can I trace the rainbow through the rain?’ The clouds may be covering the smile of God. Right now, you may be asking, how can I feel and know that the promises of God are not in vain?’ My friend, you can know with absolute certainty that the promises of God are not in vain. How? It is all because of the Good Shepherd who loved me and gave himself for me. Christian, right this moment, in your moment of despair, you must cast yourself upon your Good Shepherd.
In this brief devotion, I want to look at Psalm 23 with you. As we enter the Psalter, it is important to know that there are several Psalms that comfort the fearful heart. Is your heart fearful? Well, encounter God in the Psalms! The Psalmist is aware that the Christian life is full of many dangers, toils, and snares. As a believer, you will face many seasons where your present circumstances cause you to grow fearful. If there is one Psalm that you must anchor your soul in, it is psalm 23.
As you look at the beginning of this Psalm, you will see quite quickly that this Psalm was penned by King David, the little shepherd boy. From childhood, David would have been familiar with the role of a shepherd. The atmosphere that David grew up in was that of a shepherd and his sheep. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, argued that “David has left no sweeter Psalm than the short 23rd. It is but a moment’s opening of his soul.”
What does the open soul of David tell us? In simple terms, it is as if David’s soul cried out, ‘Behold, your God! Christian, Behold your Shepherd!’ Most of our problems in the Christian life stem from the fact that we forget who our God is. So easily, in the trials and pressures of life, we forget the nature of God and the character of God. By personal experience, David wants you to know something about God. What does he want you to know? He wants you to know that “the LORD is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). The LORD Himself is David’s Shepherd. My friend, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the LORD is your Shepherd!
Now, notice how David writes: “the LORD is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). The name “LORD” is the Divine Name. It speaks of God’s self-existence and self-sufficiency. The eternal One is your Shepherd! The One who had no beginning and no end is your Shepherd. The One who never changes is your Shepherd! This awesome and majestic God is your Good Shepherd! He cares for your soul every moment of every day. Do you feel like these days are uncertain? Though all things around you seem to be changing, the LORD never changes. Though your friends may forsake you one day, the LORD will never leave you.
How can you say with full confidence that the LORD is my Shepherd? Spurgeon, in his commentary on the psalms, makes a very import point:
“The position of this Psalm is worthy of notice. It follows the 22nd Psalm, which is the Psalm of the Cross … There are no green pastures, no still waters on the other side of the 22nd Psalm… It is only after we have read in v.1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” that we come to “The LORD is my Shepherd.” … We must by experience know the value of the blood-shedding, before we shall be able truly to know the sweetness of the good Shepherd’s care.”
My friend, the only way you can say with David that “The LORD is my Shepherd” is because of Psalm 22:1. On the cross of calvary, the Good Shepherd cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Since the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, was forsaken by His Father, we know that all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will never be forsaken. With full confidence, we say with the hymn writer:
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
As we conclude, you may be asking, how can the Good Shepherd become my Shepherd? My friend, it is simple. Come to Jesus Christ. Call upon His name! The Lord Jesus Christ gives this precious promise to you in John 5:37: “whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” It is my prayer that after reading this article, you will say with the great hymn-writer:
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood.