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Psalm 23 - When we reject the Shepherd's guidance

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Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
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 your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

Footnotes:

Psalm 23:4 Or the valley of the shadow of death

New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Sometimes we don't want to lie down in green pastures, so we work or run around in circles until we are on the brink of a cliff or walking into the valley of the shadow of death or depression because of our own stubbornness.

Other times, we find ourselves in the valley of the shadow and the Shepherd guides us out of it to rest and recover in green pastures. We feel displaced, set aside.

Sometimes, when he prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies, we can't enjoy it because we fear the foe more than we trust the Father. Other times, we gloat over the enemy, as if we had prepared the feast ourselves. "See! Shepherd favors ME!" we boast, resenting even the crumb that might fall from our table in our enemy's (neighbor's*) direction.

Shepherd, give me the wisdom to understand where you lead me, or if not understanding, to be able to find rest of both body and spirit by trusting in you.

*Who we call enemy, Jesus usually calls our neighbor.

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