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The Lord is My Shephered part 3

We continue to look at Psalm 23 and the wonderful privilege we have to be in relationship with God, where we can
experience what it means to know God as our Divine Shepherd.

In today’s world, materialism is only one of a number of problems that has beset our society. Busyness has become
a major problem. Some folk are now working longer hours than ever before. With contract employment people are
expected to achieve growing quotas with no increase in staff. For others they are driven to achieve as a means of
acceptance by their peers, or to obtain significance in this world, or to improve their self-esteem.

I am sure for a lot of us, busyness is always a problem. For me, the next deadline is looming on the horizon and I
must achieve that goal. I remember one writer saying that if we don’t take time to come apart, we simply come
apart. That is definitely true as one views the number of people taking stress leave from work. One health
professional I spoke to, said he was dealing with record amounts of stress related health matters and it was
continuing to increase.

When we read in Psalm 23:2, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures;” it comes as a much needed salve to our
bodies as we try and cope with all the pressure. I know for some of us the thought of laying down anywhere is a
luxury we can’t afford. Max Lucado shares in his book, Travelling Light, ‘people are consuming literally tons of
sleeping pills and other forms of medication to help cope with insomnia and other associated stress related
disorders’.

The word that got my attention in Psalm 23:2 was ‘make’. I know for some of us, we block the messages our bodies
are telling us because we can’t afford to stop, or at least that is what we think. When we are told to take the pedal
off the metal, we just ignore it off and press on. However, our divine shepherd knows that we need to pull aside for
a while for our sanity, for our marriage, and/or for the wellbeing of our family.

If we are not willing to listen to God, then being the Good Shepherd He is, He will move to make us to lie down in
green pastures. If we take our eye off the shepherd we can find ourselves getting lost in a jungle of over work,
busyness, stress and the like. If we are hard of hearing, God may have to make us pull aside. How might He do this?

It may involve illness. Then during the time of recuperating, He can have the necessary input into our lives. It may
mean a loss of your job. It is not pleasant at the time when it happens, but with the passage of time you realize it
was the only way God was going to get your attention.

It may mean God uses the loss of a loved one. During the grieving process God is able to minister to us at our various
points of need. We find during these times God desires to refresh and renew us in our walk with Him. He gives us a
fresh hunger to not only read His word, but to hear His word. We pray with fervency and an expectation that maybe
we have not known before.

My experience with these sorts of occasions is where I have grown most in my Christian life. Verses I have regularly
read have taken on new meaning and relevance, as they spoke into the situation that I was going through. All this is
to show us that the Shepherd is in charge and He knows what is best for us. He is the one who directs our steps and
stops, but in the busyness and stresses of life we get our perspective on this a little confused.

God desires to lead us to the quiet waters of rest and balance. Leading has the idea of the need for us to willingly
follow, as well as recognizing that God enables us to set the right priorities for our daily lives. He enables us to set
realistic goals that are not excessively stressful.

We can serve God effectively as we allow Him to lead us. This speaks of being submissive to the Shepherd. We don’t
argue with God, but gladly follow His leading. If we are unwilling to do this then we can find ourselves getting weary
and just plain worn out. This is why Jesus says to you and me in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who labor and
are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

When we try to struggle along in our own strength it is hard going, which is why Jesus says in verse 29; “Take My
yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

When we look to Jesus as our Shepherd, life becomes much simpler as He directs us in our daily walk. As we gladly
submit to His leading, He directs us to green pastures and those refreshing still waters. Why not start today and
experience the difference.

Carl Carmody
Challenge Editor

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