Read: Psalm 23
A truth that lines all of Scripture is that God loves us, but it’s hard to believe that a perfect God could love me unconditionally. This is a truth that I struggle over, and I know that I am not the only one.
Psalm 23, one of the most well known Psalms written by David, centers around God’s love. Verse 1 says, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” This verse would have made perfect sense in biblical times, but is harder to grasp today because shepherds are not the norm in the United States. But looking at the verse in light of its context, it is clear that David is saying God knows him. The good news is that this applies to us too. God knows and cares about us just as a shepherd would know each of his sheep.
Not only does God know us, but He provides for us, restores us, and guides us. “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake,” David says. God knows all of our exact needs. When we fall, He picks us back up and wants to guide us to the path of eternal life. Just like a shepherd knows all of their sheep in the flock, God does this for each of us individually.
We continue to read about the attributes of the relationship we have with God in verse 4. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” God is our comforter and protector. The darkness in this verse is meant to describe a ravine or valley between mountain tops. This describes the Christian life – it’s a series of hills and valleys. God isn’t only with us on the peaks, but also in the valleys. Just as a shepherd protects his flock from predators, God is our comfort in hard times and our protection from Satan.
Finally, we read about the faithfulness of God in the midst of a storm in our lives. He’s not there for us just every once in a while. We can depend on Him. We read, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” In David’s time, honored guests were welcomed and anointed with oil. This is how God desires to treat His people. When we have a relationship with God, we also are invited to sit down and enjoy fellowship with Him. We are not exalted above, but have the gift of sharing in community with God Himself.
God loves us, knows us, provides for us, and restores us. He guides us, protects us, comforts us, and shares in community with us. Because Jesus died on the cross for us, we get to experience the unconditional and unmatchable love of God.
Take a few minutes to research how a shepherd cares for his flock then thank God that He loves us in this way.