“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”Psalm 23:1
What great confidence speaks out of these words! David kept God before his eyes as the Good Shepherd into whose confident guidance he completely entrusted himself. Should we not do the same? Don’t these simple words awaken new confidence and give us courage for the new year’s journey?
In earlier times, shepherds were strong men who even took on wild animals. They knew their herd and led them to the best pastures and resting places.
David had also been a shepherd in his youth. He knew a shepherd’s life and the many-sided tasks and responsibilities. But here he looked back on the leading of his own life and testified, “The Lord is my shepherd!” Leadership such as he had experienced through all the circumstances and storms of his life could only be from the Lord. In reflecting on the guidance he had experienced, he changes the form of his song by suddenly beginning to speak to His good shepherd in grateful prayer, “Lord, you have been noticeably close to me. Even in the dark valleys and depths of life I have been able to experience You. Your rod and staff comforted me and showed me that You were there! You have always laid a table for me, even in the face of my enemies, and You have shown me care and fellowship. I have experienced only goodness and mercy from You, and You give me the joy of faith and hope that I may remain united with You forever.”
Shouldn’t we have such a deep, intimate conversation with the Good Shepherd right now, at the beginning of the year? Doesn’t He want to do the same for us and let us sense how wonderfully He can lead?
Anyone standing fearfully and timidly on the threshold of the new year should delve into the New Testament shepherd’s message from John 10. Here, Jesus explicitly says: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (verse 11). He will even go to the point of death for them! Further, He says: “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly” (verse 10), and in verse 28: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” Isn’t this a glorious promise and a truly comforting assurance?
A poet wrote: “Walking hand in hand with Jesus is so wonderful, since He leads well. He hears your silent and your audible pleas, so take courage!” Referring to this, someone said, “Yes, all is well holding His hand, but we must continue holding His hand in faith and never let go!” This is exactly what the Good Shepherd admonishes us do when He says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (verse 27). When someone walks ahead of us to show us the way, following is not difficult at all.
Anyone who has driven in the dark or in a snowstorm knows the feeling of relief when the vehicle ahead shows the way and direction with its taillights.
The path into the new year lies veiled and dark before us. No one knows what they may already encounter with their next steps. But we are all offered the best guidance. Blessed is he who can confidently say with David: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…my cup runs over” (Psalm 23:1, 5).
Empty boats are easily driven by crosswinds into shallow waters where they become stranded, but well-laden ships stay in deep waters and on the right course. It is the same with us. Those who are empty inside and have no spiritual resources are easily marooned and cannot withstand the storms and waves of life. But a human heart that is equipped with the heavenly gifts of divine peace, justice, love, and assurance of salvation will be able to move forward in the waves of temptations and tribulations, stay in the deep waters of faith, and keep the right course in the storms of time.
Dear soul, the Good Shepherd wants to give you these essential resources. Kindness and grace accompany the child of God like two angels through the perilous life on earth until we arrive in the Father’s house.
Go confidently and with courage into this new year; God, the Father, is with you at the beginning and the end!
Whatever you may encounter, wherever you are:
You rest in God’s love, which is constant!
We wish everyone a blessed new year, a year with the Good Shepherd, before Whom we can stand one day, filled with thanksgiving, and say: “Lord, you have led us well and good! We have lacked nothing, for You have always been for us and with us!”