Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Mark Chun (Radiance Christian Church), was originally posted on March 8, 2013.
Devotional Thought for Today
“The Lord is My Shepherd”
Psalm 23:1-6 (ESV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The twenty-third psalm is probably one of the most beloved chapters in the entire Bible. It is classified as a confidence psalm because it describes the absolute trust that David has in the personal goodness of God. It is not a prayer in the typical sense of that word but rather it is a proclamation of what God has done and continues to do in his life.
For David, God isn’t merely a theological concept, He is both his shepherd and his host. These are two images of God that David would have been very familiar with from his own life. As a young boy, David was in charge of protecting and caring for his father’s flocks of sheep. As the king of Israel, David would have known how to treat guests at his royal table. He applied both of those everyday pictures from his life to connect with God.
Meditate on how God manifests himself in your everyday life. What reminds you of God on a daily basis (like the laughter of your kids)? What are some experiences with God that continue to evoke confidence and trust in Him?
Prayer: Lord, You alone can guide me through the ups and downs of life. Help me to follow after You with confidence, knowing that You will lead me to quiet waters and green pastures. Teach me how to rejoice in your goodness as I spend each morning dwelling in Your presence.
Bible Reading for Today: 2 Kings 24
Lunch Break Study
Read John 10:11-16 (ESV): “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
Questions to Consider
- Who said this and in what context? (John 9:40-41)
- What are the responsibilities of a good shepherd? (John 10:14-16)
- Who is the enemy of the sheep? (John 10:12)
The picture of the shepherd and the sheep is an important one in the Bible. For those of us who have spent our entire lives in urban settings, it’s hard to imagine the emotional connection between a shepherd and his flock. For the average Israelite of the time, this image would have immediately stirred up feelings of care, protection, and sacrifice.
- This is one of the seven “I am” statements from the Gospel of John. Jesus said these words to the Pharisees who were harassing the blind man that he had healed on the Sabbath. Without compassion, they had kicked the man out of the temple for his association with Jesus. (John 9:13-16)
- The duties of the shepherd are to know the sheep by name, to protect the flock even with his own life, and to bring other sheep who are not in the fold.
- The enemies of the sheep are the hired hands who have no vested interest in the flock. As soon as danger comes, they scatter and leave the sheep to defend for themselves because they have no real concern for them. Jesus was implicating the Pharisees as hired hands who only cared for their own well-being and not the well-being of the people they were called to minister to.
Have you spent some time worshipping God today? Has life been so busy that you feel like you have no time to spend in prayer? Try to take a few moments before going to sleep to pray and listen for the voice of God. Write down what you feel like He is saying to you.