Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
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.
I’ll be honest – I’m not a farmer, nor do I live in the countryside. I’ve always been a man of the city. But bear with me in exploring the beauty of God’s presence through Psalm 23 – even for those without nearby pastures or waters.
This is perhaps the most memorised verse in the Bible, used more than any in times of panic and peace. But, due to its familiarity, I often forget the psalm didn’t write itself.
It was inspired by the life of David, who knew the Lord’s presence ‘with him’ (1 Samuel 18:12–28). This was the ‘secret’ to the fruitfulness of all his work and wisdom (2 Samuel 5:10). David was a shepherd boy, the youngest of eight sons, the least qualified on paper to rule a kingdom. Yet, with God’s presence, he believed he lacked nothing.
Do you feel you’re lacking anything right now? Maybe skills in certain areas, time for certain things or certain people? Maybe it’s a dream job, a spouse, home, or savings. Maybe, like me, you’ve suffered imposter syndrome, fearing you lack experience or intelligence at work. Or it’s a lack of peace in relationships with family or friends.
It’s easy to forget the psalmist himself rode out life’s highs and lows. We often remember David’s political and military successes. Yet he also endured some of the worst anguish imaginable: he lost three sons (one at birth), his daughter was sexually abused by her brother, while another son – Absalom – would murder his rapist brother and then die himself attempting to dethrone and kill his father. This was a family beyond disaster.
Yet, amidst highs and the lowest lows David declares, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing’. David knew the transcendence and omnipresence of God. But God’s presence was never impersonal or distant from his daily reality. God’s presence was as personally close as a shepherd is to his sheep – providing, protecting, and positioning them in the right path.
Whatever our journey in life, we can find all the spiritual resources needed in the presence of Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd who not only protects and provides for his sheep, but lays down his very life for them. So, we can now lie down in peace – whether in green country fields or grey city flats. It’s the personal presence of our Shepherd that guides and refreshes us on our frontlines.
Starting here, we can navigate the valleys to come.
Associate Pastor & Discipleship Lead, Christ Church London
How does the idea of God as your ‘shepherd’ shape your perspective of your frontline this week? How would an awareness of his presence make a difference where you are? Join the conversation below.
As you reflect on God as your shepherd, why not listen to this song to start your day or as you journey into work? Remind yourself of God’s presence beside you while going about your daily tasks. May it prompt you to pray for your frontline this week.