Psalm 23:1-6 (NRSV)

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;   3 he restores my soul.  He leads me in right paths  for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,  I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely  goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

Psalm 23:2-3 (NRSV)

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;   3 he restores my soul.  He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.   

DEVOTION – Andy Baker (Tennessee)

Many times, King David, the writer of Psalm 23, needed to have his soul restored – to have life put back into him.  When Saul was chasing David and threatening to kill him, God restored David’s courage and confidence.  During those days of grief after David lost his son Absalom in death, God restored his soul.  When David sinned with Bathsheba and felt the heavy hand of God on him as a result, God restored his soul also restored relationship with him.

In this psalm, that relationship is depicted as a shepherd with his sheep.  When a sheep has lots of wool and falls over onto its side, it is very difficult for it to get up again.  After a few hours, the sheep’s stomach will expand with gases and eventually compress its lungs.  If the shepherd doesn’t intervene to restore the sheep to an upright position and then message its legs to restore circulation, the sheep will soon die.

In a similar way, when sins or trials put us flat on our backs, overwhelming us with grief and despair, it takes a shepherd to restore our souls.  As we pray, read and meditate on scripture, and fellowship with other believers, our Shepherd reassures us with his grace and mercy and gives us back our strength, joy and courage.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: When our trials drain us of hope and strength, the Great Shepherd can restore our souls to life.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, our Shepherd, thank you for hearing our cries of helplessness and for restoring us to life and relationship with you.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: SHEPHERDS

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