The following devotion is taken from In the Secret Place: A Pilgrimage Through the Psalms by Jerry Rankin.

Psalm 23

Assurance of God’s Care

Key Verse: The L
ord is my shepherd, I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)

W
hat could be said about this beautiful and familiar “shepherd Psalm”? Many devotional books have been written on these verses; no other Scripture passage is quoted so often. There is a danger in that which is most familiar losing its meaningfulness to us. But there is, indeed, a wealth of blessing and application in this graphic image of the shepherd loving and caring for his sheep.

Like a shepherd, the Lord is our provision and protection. Apart from Him there is nothing that we need or desire. He provides for us not only adequately but in abundance, like a shepherd who leads his flock to the pastures of green grass. He leads us out of the turbulent waters of turmoil and stress of daily life to quiet our hearts and to drink of the peaceful, quiet water of His presence. He restores us when we come to the end of ourselves, realizing we cannot do it ourselves, and causing us to turn to Him. When we are willing to follow in submission to His will, He is faithful to guide our lives and will always lead us according to a righteous and holy life, to do what is right and that which glorifies Him.

Not only does He feed and nurture us, care for us and lead us, but He also protects us when we go through times of need. I have observed that the reality of one’s faith is evident in times of adversity and affliction. When a severe accident takes the life of a loved one, or one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, becoming distraught and reacting with anxiety or bitterness reflects a shallow and perfunctory faith.

But one who has a genuine, intimate relationship with the Lord can walk through the “valley of the shadow of death” (v. 4) without fear. Even in the presence of personal attacks, ridicule, and confrontation with those who would cause us harm, our confidence is in the fact that the Lord is with us. He will protect us by the anointing of His hand upon us and will even flaunt His blessings as a testimony to our enemies.

Walking daily in a trust relationship with the Lord is the source of blessings that overflow in abundance. We can be confident His mercy and goodness will go with us all the days of our life. He will never leave us or forsake us. Our eternal security is guaranteed. We will dwell with Him forever, not because of our own goodness and righteousness but because we are His sheep and our trust is in Him.

Prayer: Lord, like sheep I tend to wander off and follow my own path of self-will, thinking I am adequate for whatever I may face in life. I confess that I need You to guide me and protect me from trials and concerns that attack me each day. I long for the peace that only You can provide from the pressures and stress of life. I need to be assured of Your hand upon me when the temptations and the enemy of my own fleshly nature tend to control my desires and my affections. You are my shepherd; You care for me and want only what is best. Help me to follow as Your sheep in submission and trust.