Feb 21, 2021 First Sunday of Lent
The opening line of Psalm 23 is one of the best recognized and quoted verses in the Bible. The simplicity and comforting imagery immediately soothes the soul as it starts with an amazing relationship with Shepherd who is the great I AM, the Almighty Creator, the Sovereign Holy One. The image of God as Shepherd goes back to Jacob’s blessing of his grandchildren, identifying God as “the one who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day.” Genesis 48:15
How does this idea of life-long shepherding resonate with your image of God?
Isaiah develops the image of the shepherd God into one of greatness, a God who “comes with might as a ruler” yet “tends his flock like a shepherd.” The Lord God is our Shepherd King. (Isaiah 40:10-11) Yes, being a shepherd is not a job for the meek or weak, as sheep are helpless creatures who often are in danger of disease and death. Shepherding involves great management skills for the health, safety, and productivity of the flock, as well as a compassionate heart for the needs of each and every lamb. The Shepherd is a protector against all enemies and disease, a provider of daily needs and rest, as well as a mentor and guide who is ever present to comfort and lead.
What aspect of shepherding do you need most today?
Life Without Lack.
“I lack nothing… describes the life we all desire—a life in which we want for nothing, or better yet, lack nothing. The psalmist is portraying a life we were meant to enjoy, one that is imminently available to us.” Dallas Willard in Life Without Lack asks us this great question:
“But do you believe this verse is actually true?”
Being in control is a life characteristic that keeps me in charge, sometimes at great cost to my relationships. Why is it so hard to be shepherded like a sheep, allowing someone else to care for me? Jesus teaches us to seek God’s kingdom first, not our own, and the God-given result is “everything else will be added.” (Matthew 6:33)
Another way of understanding a life without lack is the idea of “enough.” Is God enough, am I enough, do I have enough? Enough is the amount that satisfies. The Shepherd’s desire is that his care is all we need:
“My people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:14
As we examine our heart’s and lives this Lent, allow Christ to be enough. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” 1 Pet 3:18 Christ is enough. The Shepherd became the sacrificial lamb to bring us to God, so that in Christ we are enough.
God declares that Jesus is enough, saying: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:11 And we also are “enough” as beloved children of God: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1a (NIV)
Can you imagine yourself as enough when you trust the Shepherd of your Soul?
BREATH PRAYER. Today repeat Psalm 23:1 as a prayer and a praise that in the care of the Divine, the one who is goodness, that you are enough, you are beloved:
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.”
Photo: 5th-century mosaic from the tomb of Galla Placidia in Ravenna.