The Lord is my Shepard

The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not be in want (Psalm 23:1)    The sermon at today’s service at Living Hope Church (www.livinghopechurch.com ) focused on the very first line of Psalm 23.  The main theme for the next several weeks is about Worry and Stress.  Ah worry, ah stress — it seems we are having an epidemic of the stuff.  There is no argument that we are going through a world period of economic challenge.  Challenge in the way we live, in the resources available to us (or not), how we can do more with less, and the uncertainty of the future.  I don’t think there is one among us who hasn’t wondered when things are going to change and where do we go from here. 

As pointed out in the sermon a shepard’s main job is protecting his or her sheep.  So if God is our Shepard then WE are the sheep.  Also pointed out in the same sermon, sheep are animals of prey.  They are animals of weakness.  They are not defenders – they are the ones needing defending.  The human person does not go around life always being the strong one.  There are many many things that can destroy a human being.  Nature can kill us, food can kill us, another predator (human or otherwise) could destroy us.  In fact, we can easily be wounded by just a cruel word.  There are a lot of “walking wounded”  among us these days.

The point of the first verse of this sermon – The Lord is my Shepard, is to begin to realize that we MUST depend on God (or a higher being, if you wish) for everything we get in life.  We are the sheep that must be protected. 

To further elaborate on the role of a shepard, he is accountable for all of the sheep in the flock (if one strays, that shepard will go and fine the lost one).   Sheep will eat anything put in front of them and will make themselves ill if allowed to eat and eat and eat.  A shepard needs to be sure the field of food is palatable for a maintaining the flock’s health.  A shepard knows where the ultimate destination he must get the sheep to.  He doesn’t sit at the side of a mountain and watch while the sheep wander aimlessly, putting themselves into harms way.  However, there is ONE key difference between sheep and us.  We, as human beings, were given a brain and choice.  So if we want to wander and go our own way the Lord, our shepard, doesn’t force us to stay with him.

When we wander away from God’s protection we can become very aware of our vulnerability.  If we truly believe that God is our protector, then we should believe He will keep us from harm if we want him to do so. 

Let’s continue with the second part of that verse, “…I shall not be in want.”  If you really believe that God will protect you no matter what, wouldn’t it make sense to question why we are worrying about things we have no control over?   After all won’t those things be handled very effectively by God, if you truly believed HE is your shepard, your protector?  Think about it.  More pointedly, believe it.  Find a way to grow in relationship to God and begin to let go of the worry and put it all in HIS hands instead.  Let go and let God.  It’s not just a cute pithy phrase.  It really is true.  It really does work.  Let go and Let God. 

Those of you that have become consistent readers of my blog know that I don’t believe in worrying.  I find it a waste of energy that doesn’t do any good.  I firmly believe in prayer and building a strong relationship with God.  I believe in asking God to show me the right direction to take to find solution to what might be preoccupying my mind.  I truly walk the talk — I do let go and let God.  He has never failed me.  I know He will not fail you either.

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