Monday, January 28, 2008

Is "the Lord is my Shepherd" enough?

We looked at Psalm 23 in our homegroup Sunday evening. It is a highly personalized psalm, as seen in the repeated use of "I" and "me". Though this is for all of God's people, it is instructive that the personal nature of this Shepherd/sheep relationship is important here.

Community is crucial in our life in God, inherent in fact. But we also have our individual part in the whole. This must never be lost. And God also takes us seriously as individuals, not just as individual parts of the whole, or one of the many. But his care for each of his sheep is complete down to the very hairs of our head.

Is "the Lord is my Shepherd" enough for us? Are we satisfied with that? As such he provides us each with needs met, rest, refreshment, guidance, protection, discipline, honor in grace before enemies, rich blessing, and God's presence for end of days. This is a blessed life in this present existence, meaning in a state of continued need in every way and protection from enemies. Of course we need all of Scripture to see this psalm or any other part of Scripture aright, especially passages in the New Testament that see this Shepherd imagery fulfilled in Jesus.

Is "the Lord is my Shepherd" enough? Most certainly in this psalm. And if so in this psalm, then true for our lives as well. By faith I must accept this metaphor that God in Christ is my Shepherd, that I am a sheep. And be satisfied with God's provision on his terms, not on my own. God's goodness and loyal love, or commitment will chase us all our days (Goldingay). And as sheep, how much each of us needs that. I know I do, as when I go my own way, or complain about my lot before God.

God wants us to find what true life in him means, a life more abundant, to the full. We'll find it only in this way, through the Lord who opens up the way to this life, and he being our Shepherd, and "we...the flock under his care."

What comes to mind here that you would like to share with us?


preacherman said...

I think if it was good enough for David a man after God's own heartt is should be good enough for us today as well. In life as well as death.

Rachel Mc said...

Yes, the Lord is enough and I try to remind myself contantly of this.
Let me take this conversation down a different path, if I may. As a 'newbie christian", I find myself keeping God, Christ and Holy Spirit distinctly separate (in my mind) as I work on my relationships with God, Christ, and Holy Spirit. I don't want to discuss the Trinity because I get that (don't understand it but I get it) so my question/thought deals with praying and working on your relationship with God, Christ and Holy Spirit. Do you keep them separate (in practice praying and worshipping each differently and when you have different needs) or does it really not matter because your relationship with God, Christ and Holy Spirit is all the same?
When I think of the Lord as my Sheperd my thoughts go to a mental picture of Jesus (as I would picture him) and then that leads me to worship him differently than God and Holy Spirit because I view the three as different. (If you want to not take this conversation down this path I understand, maybe you can post on this another time)

NaNcY said...

it is more than enough.
it is wonderful that each little sheep in the flock is precious to the shepherd.

i am becoming more aware of how important our own personal relationship to God is and actually necessary to being part of the body.

it is necessary to maintain a relationship with God to be used by God. God uses us through relationship. God works through relationship.

my job is to maintain a loving relationship with God which allows me to be available to God in a way that His Spirit works through me.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen, Kinney. We can learn alot from David's life. I really like Eugene Peterson's chapter on David in his recent book, "The Jesus Way." Very helpful to me, along with bonhoeffer's "Life Together", and I need to keep working on all of this.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Wow, this is driving me crazy. I just typed out a rather long explanation for you, Rachel, and sent it, then received notice that this was unavailable and lost it all!

Here goes again.

Thanks so much, Rachel for the good question and good thoughts.

I generally pray to the Lord, in my mind normally meaning the Triune God: Father, Son and Spirit.

When tired or down, I ofen pray to Jesus, asking him to help me, since we read in Hebrews that as a human (along with being God) here on earth, having experienced this life and having been tempted in every way as we are, he empathizes with us, and is able to help us by coming alongside us through the Spirit, and by his interceding for us in prayer.

I pray to the Father and sometimes to the Spirit. Normal general way of praying as revealed in New Testament is to the Father through the Son in, or by the Holy Spirit.

Though distinct, if you honor or pray to one, the others are included, since they are perfectly joined together as One and as One God.

Thanks again.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Very well said. I hope everyone reads your comment. Thanks!