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Our Shepherd

Bible Studies for Life lesson originally published here at the Biblical Recorder.

Focal Passage: Psalm 23:1-6

Our youngest son, Nathan, was a difficult baby. He had colic along with an irritable stomach. Eventually, we had to give him nutramigen baby formula for him to eat. If you’re not familiar with nutramigen, that’s ok. Think of it as liquid gold. At least that’s what it seemed like when we paid for it. Anyway, I can remember fighting with him to eat. We knew what was best for him even if he didn’t want to eat. I think David had something similar in mind when he penned the verses of his most influential psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd…” As a shepherd, David knew that his sheep were entirely dependent upon him. They required green pastures and still waters (sheep will not drink from moving streams). But more than provision, the Lord our Shepherd guides us. He guides us to places of provision and protection. Our Shepherd also leads us in the “paths of righteousness for his names’ sake.” David understood leadership. It was his responsibility to lead and guide his sheep. But when David comments about God’s leadership, he reflects on God’s purpose. As sheep, we don’t know what is best or where we need to go. We tend to wander and drift. But God leads and guides us, and notice why. He guides “for his name’s sake.” God guides us because he’s redeemed us. We are the recipients of his love, the bearers of his name. So he guides us because we reflect his reputation and glory to the world. The Lord “leads us in the paths of righteousness” because the only way we can walk in righteousness is by him and through him. When we walk in righteousness, it becomes obvious to others that we are walking with wisdom and purpose. Would you join David? Would you follow the leadership of your Shepherd in the paths of his righteous word for the sake of his glorious name?

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