A few years ago while Ashley and I were living in Gainesville, she was exercising one morning and came across a strange sight. Right in the middle of our suburban street stood the goat you see in the picture below. Poor thing was lost and followed Ashley everywhere she went as she tried to finish her exercise. It was no use. After a while, she and other neighbors corralled the goat and leashed him for the man who owned it. Problem solved.
The Lord is my shepherd… —Psalm 23.1a
Psalm 23 is one of the most familiar scriptures, not to mention its opening phrase. It’s heard most often at funerals and is the one scripture you hear on TV shows in cemeteries. But why do we associate this text with the dead and dying? This is a scripture of proclamation, of life and the pursuit of victory!
To claim just the opening phrase is something to rally around. For God to be our shepherd, the one who leads, guides, protects—all the things the rest of the psalm describes—is bold and worthy of a battle cry! It’s a psalm of relationship and struggle, things that exist in the confines of life, in the here-and-now, not simply in the then-and-there.
I hope today that you can claim that the Lord is indeed YOUR shepherd. Like the old hymn says, “Where he leads me I will follow / I’ll go with him, with him, all the way.” Follow your shepherd and may it be your life’s joy to know that it is God who leads you.