monday if devotion
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Psalm 23:1 & 2

David wrote the well-known 23rd Psalm from the perspective of a shepherd who understood and cared for his sheep.  I don’t know about you, but I have not been around a lot of sheep in my life.  As I prepared to write these daily messages, I read about shepherds and sheep and what that relationship is like.  It was enlightening!

For example, sheep depend upon their shepherd for EVERYTHING!  They need their shepherd to lead them, to provide for them, to care for them, to love them, protect them and to provide the sense of well-being they need to rest.  Over time, a relationship forms between the shepherd and the sheep.

If we say the Lord is my shepherd, it implies that we are the sheep, and therefore we depend upon Him to provide us with not only all our needs but a loving relationship as well. Putting this phrase at the core of our belief is key to developing a relationship with our Lord.

I shall not want” is sometimes translated “I lack nothing”.  Personally, I think these are different.  The latter says that I have everything I need (which as believers, we know is true, even if we don’t always feel it), but to say “I shall not want” could mean that I literally do not have the feeling of wanting.  I don’t envy, I don’t desire, I don’t worry what others have.   At any given moment, many of us have all we need, or we can at least acknowledge we are blessed in some area of our life compared to others.  Yet, we still “want”.  What if being a sheep in the Lord’s flock means we can live a life without longing? What freedom!

He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;

Do you envision this?

sheep beside still waters

David’s reality was probably something like this:


Not so inviting, huh?  However, if the shepherd is a “good” shepherd (see what I did there?), the sheep are still well fed and watered because the shepherd makes sure of it.  He leads them where they need to go and to the grass that is best for them.

Sheep also require quiet, still waters.  They are afraid of running water.  Simple reason – if they fall into running water, they will likely drown.  They would be weighed down by the heavy wool on their bodies.  Running water is also noisy, and they are easily startled by noise.

As women, we tend to be on the move.  Constantly.  There is an expectation that women (at least admired women) never sit down, never stop thinking… planning… preparing.   There is always something to be done – at work, at church, at home, for our spouse, for our children, for our parents.  So many people depend on us.   We are surrounded by noise.  Taking time for ourselves seems selfish.

I read that no one can actually “make” a sheep lay down.  She won’t do it…unless she is fed, watered, and feels safe.  Then she will lie down in quiet, still rest.  What about us?  Don’t we rest better when we feel the same?  Isn’t it easier to lie down on a lounge chair in our backyard (green pastures) with a cool drink (still waters) in our hand when we have that sense of peace and contentment?

We CAN feel that way!  All the time.  If we just let the Lord be our shepherd.  If we take the time to sit in quiet stillness and listen (especially before a busy day), we can have that sense of contentment.  It won’t even matter if everything on our to-do list isn’t crossed off.  We will know that our Good Shepherd has our back.

See you Friday and look for the next installment tomorrow! 😊Jenny Burns, IF Team

PS: If you want to take a deep dive into this topic, pick up a copy of A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller.  It’s been around for a long time, but it is a good read!

Check out IF INFO for reminders on times and general info. As the week goes on, we’ll add details such as song list and what to expect when you arrive. Can’t wait to “IF” with you this Friday! 🙂