The Good Shepherd

March 27, 2020
by John Stuart   —   Audio controls are below the devotional to listen to this devotional or to hymn music while you read

When I looked at the Old Testament Psalm 23, I realized that those ancient words of David would be very reassuring and valuable to us in our present circumstances.

Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. (NIV 2011)

The sole purpose of a shepherd is to look after all of the sheep under his care. In ancient times, the shepherd made sure that the flock had plenty of grass to graze, water to drink, and a sheltered place to be protected. The sheep, usually quite timid creatures, needed to feel secure in order to get through each day. The shepherd's presence gave them that peace, and so they followed him gladly, because they knew that he was looking after them. So, the very first thing that we learn from the psalm is this: God is our Shepherd who will take care of us and give us what we need — reassurance, hope, and love.

Psalm 23:2-3 – 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. (NIV 2011)

The shepherd's presence in the field with the flock allowed the sheep to lie down. Usually herds of animals remain standing so that they can run immediately if they are threatened by predators. But here, we have a picture of sheep feeling so secure that they can lie down in the lush grass to peacefully rest and relax. There is no stress here. There is only tranquility and peace. And there's also confidence that when the sheep need to graze elsewhere, the shepherd will guide them safely to the right place.

This is a beautiful image of God and His people. One of the main purposes of worship is to get us to stop all of our busyness and free us from stress in order to decompress and receive God's peace. In the midst of this crisis, we wonder what tomorrow will bring, and we often worry about the future. But what God is saying to us right now is, "Be still and know that I am God. I have plans for your future and well-being. I will help you and guide you through this." So, we take a few devotional moments each day to worship God in our homes, to feel His presence in our lives, and to give us a time of faith, hope, and love.

Psalm 23:4 – 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. (NIV 2011)

In the midst of all that is frightening us, we need to know that God is ready to protect us, and if need be, is prepared to redirect us if we wander away from His presence. When we get scared or anxious, or when our daily routine is broken, we can fall into despair and worry ourselves. As our Good Shepherd, Christ does God's work of looking after us so that we are empowered and enabled to get through these times that try our souls. He says to us,

Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (NIV 2011)

If God be for us, then who or what can be against us?

Prayer: O God, dear Shepherd, today and every day, allow us the peace of Your holy presence. Reduce our fears and increase our faith. Keep us and our loved ones free from all that threatens to harm us in body, mind, heart, and soul. In Christ's great name, we pray. Amen.


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John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.


    Very nicely said.


    Needed words, John.


    Thanks, John, for this comforting message.


    Good on you.
    Encouraging.


    My favourite Psalm, and a great message John. Thanks.
    (Canada)


    That was a beautiful and comforting devotional, thank you.
    (Canada)


    Dear John,
    Thank you so much for this lovely and timely devotional. You have enlarged this psalm so beautifully.


    Dear Pastor John:
    Thank you for your reassuring words of hope, love and peace. I pray you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.


    Thank you, John, for sharing these uplifting devotional thoughts with us today. God blessed us when Jesus redeemed us and sent His Holy Spirit to fill us, comfort us, and encourage us to empathically repent for our sin sick world. Blessings.


    As always, John, your devotional is uplifting and comforting! Thanks for sharing the reassurance that we can come to God and have ‘His Peace’.
    Blessings to you and yours.


    Thank you, John.
    It is good to be reminded that, even in the midst of this crisis God is still there to comfort and strengthen.
    I hope you and your family are staying safe.


    Good morning John
    I’ve missed seeing your devotions. I really appreciate the image of the shepherd… especially following the lectionary reading on March 22. This Psalm is a helpful prayer to guide us through this anxiety producing pandemic.
    Blessings and peace to you


    Dear John
    It is so nice to see a devotional from you again. I hope that you are staying healthy and avoiding the horrible virus that affects us all.
    I believe that our world will be a calmer and more loving place when we come through this turmoil and that we will count our many blessings.
    Wishing you peace.


    Thank you, for a message of peace and assurance. That’s what we need right now.
    We pray, “Dear God make our faith grow stonger, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.”
    And we pray for safety from the C–virus.
    And we pray, “Dear God, help those working to develop an anti-virus or injectable serum to protect the humanity of the world. May they succeed– with Your input.”
    For Jesus’ sake. Amen.


    Greetings John,
    Thank you for this very special devotional this morning. It sure took me back to my early school days when we were allowed to have the Lord’s Prayer and Bible verses in school and when we had to do recitations in front of the class. I remember so well doing the recitation of Psalm 23. This Psalm sure gives us reassurance of our Lord’s love and care and definitely gives us comfort as we deal with the present situation in our world today.
    Blessings to you for the writings you do and may you stay well through the days ahead.
    (B.C.)


    Good Morning John, Can’t sleep so rather than tossing and turning I get up and do something. I am so glad I caught your lovely devotional to start my day.
    The theme of The Good Shepherd, is a wonderful reminder to me of how much this beautiful old Psalm comforted me several years ago at Easter when my husband lay in a Coma following a brain aneurysm. I know the Good Shepherd was with me every hour I sat there holding his hand.I felt at peace, so much so that a church member commented that she could tell God was with me, and I knew He was there with me in the valley of the shadow of death. When it came time we all joined hands around ted bed and recited “The Lord Is My Shepherd”, he indeed was then and still is. How wonderful, in this time of terrible torment going through our world, to be reminded that He Still Is Our Shepherd and will continue to take care of us. Thank you. Keep well
    (B.C. Canada)


    Beautiful.
    I pray for those who have no Christian faith at this time.


    Thank so much for bring comfort and assurance to our souls in this critical time. May God bless you forever and all our fellow Christians.
    (ON CANADA)


    Thanks so much John for such comfortable devotional. We celebrated our son’s birthday in very special midst “in isolation” because the COVID-19 which has made the whole world stop our daily routine. I am TRUSTING IN GOD’S PROMISES AND PROTECTION. Psalm 23 is a great interpretation of GOD willing for us for today. We have to learn to be dependent of GOD. Hope and Love for all of us.


    Hello John,
    Thank you for such a comforting devotional. This one is a keeper for me. I’ve always appreciated your devotionals and haven’t been in touch for a while. These past months have been difficult including the loss of my husband. Now I’m completely on my own during this latest crisis and yet I know the Lord is my Shepherd and looking after me. It’s a wonderful consolation amidst turmoil and stress. Thanks again, John.
    May God bless you and keep you safe. Be well.


    Dear Sister-in-Christ,
    I am seldom speechless Rose, but your devotional has led me to tears!
    May God continue to use you in a mighty way!
    Blessings.

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