Shepherd and Psalm 23

Our neighborhood study group was able to cover chapters one and two in one meeting – barely. We do like to talk! A couple of the gals grew up on farms or with actual sheep. They added a lot to our meeting.

This week we will try for chapters three and four. Three is really long by comparison and I doubt we can get through it. Then when I read four I realized it was rather short. We will see.

Some of my notes from the book in chapter three include:

Keller wrote that “it is almost impossible to make sheep lie down unless they are

  1. free from all fear
  2. free from friction with others of their kind
  3. free from pests like flies or parasites
  4. free from hunger”

Certainly sounds like people, huh? He continues saying “It is actually the owner who makes it possible for them to lie down, to rest, to relax, to be content and quiet and flourishing.” Do you look to our great, good Shepherd for these needs? Do we truly see Jesus as your owner, shepherd? He will even help us when conflict arises from other sheep!

There was a time when it was Christian fashion to wear a collar or lapel pin of an angel. They were readily available. I positioned mine on a cork and sat it in my kitchen windowsill as an object lesson for myself. (I just LOVE a kitchen windowsill!)

I named her ANN, not necessarily after my mother, but to remind me to be Anxious for nothing, to be NOW Here and to Not jump to the furthest negative conclusion. I was trying to hone those skills. I had learned anxiety, mind racing and negative thinking so very well that it took a lot of effort to unlearn those things. I still have times I must work at it.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Tim 1:7 NKJV

To enjoy the above mindset, I must allow the Holy Spirit not only access to my thinking, but permission to change my thoughts. I must learn to live and move in “a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The Shepherd bought this for me, and I must choose to live in it.

Chapter four is “He leads me beside quiet waters.”

“My people have committed two sins:

They have forsaken me,

    the spring of living water,

and have dug their own cisterns,

    broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

Jeremiah 2:13 NIV
Broken cistern

Keller wrote, “It is a compelling picture. It is an accurate portrayal of broken lives – of shattered hopes – of barren souls that are dried up and parched and full of the dust of despair.”

He gives an example of watching native herds in the ‘blazing equatorial sun of Africa’ being led to clear water in deep cisterns that were like huge rooms dug out of the rock and out of the sun. The owner had to get in there and bale the water into a drinking trough for the animals. Keller was impressed again ‘by the fact that everything hinged and depended upon the diligence of the owner, the shepherd. Only through his energy, his efforts, his sweat, his strength could the sheep be satisfied.”

He draws the parallel that when we are in deep, dark places, Jesus, our Shepherd is there with us in it. “It is His energy, effort, and strength expended on our behalf that even in this deep, dark place is bound to produce a benefit in us.”

Are you trusting Him in all things?

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