December 3, 2010
A Shepherd by Choice
The LORD is my shepherd… —Psalm 23:1 (NKJV)
Let's be real. Let's not romanticize this. A shepherd's life in biblical times wasn't what we see gracing the covers of Christian greeting cards. For the most part, it consisted of spending every waking hour with stinky, smelly, stubborn, stupid creatures. Not the sort of existence many, if any, would want to sign up for.
In fact, most shepherds didn't sign up for being a shepherd, it was an occupation they were born into and stuck with. Keep in mind that in Bible times people's futures were pretty much determined once they were born. Unless they possessed an extraordinary gift or skill, they were destined to maintain the family trade. A shepherd typically wasn't a shepherd by choice.
That's even the case with David, who being the youngest of eight boys, was the one stuck with his household's shepherding responsibilities. And it's noteworthy that we never see his older brothers sharing this chore with him. They seem all too happy to have dumped the shepherding on little David (1 Samuel 16-17). Suffice it to say, shepherding wasn't something people willingly chose to do; almost any other profession would have been preferable!
And then there's the Lord, who has the ability to be anything He wants to be, yet He chooses to be our Shepherd. It's what He desires to do! How encouraging it is to know that our Good Shepherd isn't there by default but by desire. He doesn't long for greener pastures doing something else, but is completely content to tend us—even with all of our stinkiness, stubbornness, and stupidity.
Good and Great Shepherd of our souls, thank you for willingly and faithfully caring for us, faults and all. Help us to both know and follow Your voice as you lovingly lead us.
Think about it…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?