The Lord Is My Shepherd

Psalm 231 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 23:1–6 (ESV)

1 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.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm uses the imagery of a shepherd to tell us things about God. He is the one who takes care of his sheep. He leads them and guides them. He protects them from harm. And he makes sure they have all they need to live and thrive. This is what God does for us throughout our lives. And, even when we draw near to the end, when we are in the valley of the shadow of death, we have no reason to fear because we know that God is with us and will guide us even then.

As a pastor, I have found this passage of Scripture to be an all-time favorite of so many. When I visit friends in the hospital or in their homes, especially those dealing with serious health issues, they often ask to hear Psalm 23. It is a great comfort to hear these words and be reminded that God is with us throughout our lives. If you have not already done so, take the time to commit this psalm to memory. It will prove to be a great comfort and encouragement to you throughout your life.

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God Offers Peace to All

Luke 213 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Luke 2:8–14 (ESV)

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus, the Messiah, had been born, but there was no one to celebrate the event. An angel went out to a nearby field and told some shepherds about what had happened. The shepherds were fearful, but the angels told them that Jesus had been born as a Savior for all people. There was no reason to be afraid, but this was cause for celebration! The angel was then joined by many other angels and they praised God for his grace.

The song of the angels was a praise to God for bringing peace on earth, but it is important to notice that peace was not for all, but for those with whom God is pleased. The Bible teaches that God sent his Son to save mankind, but only those who turn to Christ in faith will be saved. This is how we please God, by believing his word. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith.

Our sin has put us at odds with the holy God, but he has offered peace to all who will place their faith in Jesus Christ. This Christmas, be sure to accept the greatest gift ever given.

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Good News of Great Joy

white sheep on farm

Photo by kailash kumar on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Luke 2:8–20 (ESV)

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Yesterday we read how Jesus was placed into a manger, which is an animal feeding trough, when he was born. Such an amazing thing to think that the King of kings, the Creator of all things, would enter into the world in such a humble way.

Today, we read of the birth announcement. Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah promised in the Old Testament Scriptures. The Jewish people had been waiting for hundreds of years for his arrival. So, when he does arrive we expect it to be a grand occasion! What we get is an angel appearing to a few shepherds out in a field nearby. The angel makes sense, but why these lowly shepherds?

Jesus was a Savior for all people. He did not come just for the rich or the powerful or the social elite. As the angel said, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all of the people.” The birth of Jesus was good news for everyone, including the shepherds. It was good news for you and for me. And it is good news for all who will turn to Jesus as Savior. Let us do as the shepherds did: let us tell the world of Jesus and give glory and praise to God for all we have seen and heard.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. Please subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. We are reading through the life of Christ as recorded in the four Gospel accounts in 2019.