Psalm 23 The LORD is my Shepherd….
In studying this Psalm, one of the beautiful things that I noticed, is the different positions of the LORD our Shepherd in relation to His flock. In choosing Him as Lord, we become the recipients of His continuous care. As members of His flock, His eye is on us and He meets our needs, hour by hour, day after day, the same as a shepherd meets the needs of his flock. His goal is always to keep us safe and healthy, to make us productive in Him.
Ahead of us. Sheep cannot rest when there are enemies nearby so the Good Shepherd drives them back. Similarly, to enable us to have peace and lie down, the Lord is working ahead of us to drive away our enemies, that which preys on us and causes us to fear. He is also out ahead of the flock when He leads us to quiet waters, showing us the way to that peaceful and satisfying place that He has for us. In guiding us in this life, in our choices, He is at those critical junctures in the trail, showing us the path of righteousness to take, the right choice, the one that will not harm us.
Beside us. In the darkest spots in life, the valleys of the shadow, including the death experience, He is with us, right next to us, His rod and staff touching us and giving comfort. In preparing a table before us, He has once ahead gone ahead to prepare the feast of heaven for the saints, His precious ones. When He anoints our heads with oil, there He is, directly before us, soothing oil in hand, His hands on our minds to drive away life’s annoyances, sadness, and frustrations.
Covering our backs. Goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives. It means to me that He is also our rear guard protecting our vulnerable blind spots, protecting us from the dangers and sins from our past.
His precious care is from all sides, ahead and behind, near and far, on the right and left, causing our hearts to always long for His presence and care, to always desire to dwell in His presence forever.