Crossroads: The Lord is My Shepherd

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Psalm 23

My Story

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to Israel for several weeks. This trip was an incredible spiritual high point in my life filled with many wonderful and memorable experiences. When I think back over my memories of that trip, one image that always seems to appear in my mind is the picture of the many real, live shepherds we saw as we traveled the country. Even though Israel is a modern nation with cars, roads, and contemporary buildings, shepherds still lead their flocks of sheep throughout the cities, villages and rural areas of the land.

The most interesting thing about watching the shepherds was seeing the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep. The sheep followed the shepherd wherever he went—across busy roads, through shallow streams, and over steep hills. They listened to his voice and obeyed his commands. The sheep moved close to the shepherd when they were afraid, and looked for him when they could not hear him. The sheep were totally and completely dependent on the shepherd and they trusted him with their lives.

Your Story

Maybe you have never been around sheep, but you might have a pet—a dog or cat. Can you think of a time when your pet had to trust you?

Can you remember a time in your life when you had to trust another person? Describe the experience. How did it feel to be completely dependent on someone else?

Do you find that it is easier to trust yourself or to trust someone else? Why?

The Bible Story

Psalm 23 is a beautiful, familiar psalm. The words are meaningful because they remind us of how we are to live. Just like sheep are totally dependent on their shepherd for life, we are to depend totally and completely upon God. We follow God wherever God leads us. We listen for His voice. We look for God when His voice seems very quiet. We move near to God when life becomes scary or difficult. In many ways, we are much like sheep.

And what we find is that God provides for us everything we need. When God is our shepherd, we never want for anything. That doesn’t mean we always get exactly what we want, but it does mean that God provides everything we need.

The Lord is our shepherd, and we shall not be in want. —Psalm 23:1

Discussion

• Can you think of a time in your life when your needs were not met?
• Describe what it means to trust God. What does it look like? What does trusting God require of us?
• Is it easy or difficult for you to trust God? If easy, what makes trusting God easy for you? If difficult, what makes trusting God a challenge?
• How does it make you feel to be compared to a sheep? What other animals also make good comparisons for our relationship with God?
• If the psalmist wrote Psalm 23 today, would he use the image of a shepherd? What other image can you think of that would represent our relationship with God?

Prayer

Thank God for being your shepherd. Tell God all the specific things He does for you that make you feel thankful. Ask God to help your trust grow stronger every day.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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