By Greg Robbins ( e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
King David had a shepherd to whom he belonged, and he knew it well. What a comforting thought to contemplate Jesus as being our shepherd. Jesus is the good shepherd who loves his sheep. To have Jesus watching over me is a wonderful thing. I have seen his protection on so many occasions. A number of times I have miraculously been spared traffic accidents. Once I was almost burned to death when my apartment caught fire and I was asleep. The fireman said it was a miracle that I had escaped without being burned.
I was a travelling street preacher for five years. My life was threatened 13 times, I was threatened with bodily injury on many occasions, I was cussed at innumerable times, people called the police on me frequently. Never was a finger laid on me to harm me. As David said in verse 4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” I was constantly aware that there was a protective hedge around me at all times. This was my daily prayer.
I have seen so many miracles of divine provision. I still to this day live by prayer and faith alone. I work full-time for God without a paycheck or supporters. Yet all of my basic needs are always met. I have seen God send people to the tops of mountains to provide my needs. I have never been stranded anywhere during all of my travels, and I have prayed in two new sets of tires for my car, and two new car batteries. All my other needs have been met too. I don’t live in luxury but I do not lack anything either. As David said in verse 5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”
My life is getting closer and closer to the standard of righteous living. The longer I walk with Jesus and serve him, the more perfected that I become. God is doing his work in my life. My life is the work of art that he is creating for his own pleasure and glory. He does the same thing in the life of everyone who truly loves and serves him. David said in verse 3, “He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
David had a gift for seeing God’s hand at work in his life. He was able to recognize God’s guidance, protection, provision, and loving care throughout his life. Yet as we read the history of David’s life, we see problems, hardships, and tragedy at every turn. David didn’t focus on the negative, but on the good. So David said in verse 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.”
Many people think that my life is difficult. I have very little and live in poverty in most people’s estimation. But I am happy! I think that I have things very good. For I have learned to trust the Lord for everything. Since he is my only source, I know that every little thing that I get came from him. So I am very thankful and full of praise for all that I have. This produces happiness. “For godliness with contentment is great gain.” I am now content with having little.
Although not a Christian, we have an American icon who preached living on but very little. He is revered in our modern culture. I am speaking of Henry David Thoreau. I went to Walden Pond in Massachusetts which is now a national landmark. They have a replica of the tiny shack that he built and lived in. I admired it and thought that he truly WAS rich. He lived in nature, was content with but little, and was happy. Now if an unsaved man could accomplish that, why can’t all Christians do the same thing? The answer to my question is that we focus on different things than Thoreau did. He enjoyed nature and day to day living. Modern people focus on money, possessions, fame, and so many other worldly things.
Learn to see the Lord as being your shepherd. Learn to trust him more than ever before. He can become very real to you as he has become to me. Live in the twenty-third Psalm. It is a real place. We were meant to live and to dwell there. In the ninety-first Psalm this very same place is called “the Secret Place of the Most High.” Jesus called it abiding in him. It’s really there, but sadly only few have the spiritual vision necessary to see and to appreciate it. It is indeed real, and from someone who abides there, I can tell you that it is a very nice place indeed.