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With the Shepherd

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23:6

In Psalm 23, David talks about the personal relationship he enjoyed with God. He declares that if the Lord is your Shepherd and you are His sheep, you will not lack for anything that you need at any time. Looking back at his life, David tells us that his Shepherd has provided rest and refreshment, restoration and guidance, courage and comfort, protection and security. And what is more, David looks to the future with a sturdy confidence. The Shepherd does many things for us, but you will have missed the meaning of the psalm unless you realize that David is singing about his personal, intimate relationship with God Himself. David ends the twenty-third Psalm with the affirmation: “I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Although many readers think of heaven when they read these words, David did not have heaven in mind. He was not thinking precisely where he would be in the future, but with whom he would be.

Psalm 23 begins and ends with the Lord. “The Lord is my Shepherd … I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Christianity begins and ends with the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2). Do you know Him? I’m not asking whether you know about Him. Thousands of men and women brought up in Sunday School and church know all the facts, but they don’t know Him.

Jesus calls you to Himself. “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).

You can know that the Lord is a shepherd, but that will not do you much good. You can even understand that the Lord is the Shepherd—the only Person in the universe who can fully meet your deepest needs. However, it is only when you place your confidence in Him personally that you can sing with David, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” And it is then that you can affirm with conviction, based on God’s promise, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

—Condensed from Trusting the Shepherd by Haddon Robinson