Sometime in July 2021
A dear spiritual director once told me to pray and meditate on Psalm 23. He asked me this – do you know the meaning of being sheep? When you pray with Psalm 23, I want you to focus on verse 1. Hmmmm. You see, being Nigerian, this particular Psalm is literally ingrained in your head from your childhood. As in it is by force. I can vividly remember reciting this psalm and not paying much attention to the first verse. The most heavily quoted part is verse 4:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
Psalm 23:4 KJV
Everyone – literally every single person – knows that verse. However, have you ever thought of the significance of verse 1? It reads:
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
Psalm 23:1 KJV
What on earth does that really mean? Sheep are genuinely the cutest animals ever! They literally graze, commune with their brothers and sisters, and trust their shepherd completely. Let’s take it one by one:
- Sheep gotta stay alive so they graze: They eat to stay healthy
The way I think of this is that as sheep I need to rest and eat something which keeps me whole, healthy, and relaxed. Now, I’m pretty sure a luxurious meal at some fancy restaurant will do this however, what I’m referring to isn’t temporary food. I’m referring to food which keeps the fire in me alive – the WORD of God. As I graze I will be kept full. There is no need for me to worry or seek other short term sources of satisfaction.
2. Sheep are never alone usually: They are in community
Earlier this year I completed this study titled ‘Experiencing God’ by Richard and Henry Blackby. One of the units speaks about the importance of community within the church and with people. Think of it, in a community, you feel supported. In Ephesians, the bible speaks about how God unifies us as one body. There’s more I can touch on but the point I want to make is that when we surround our sense with people, particularly those filled with Chris we feel a sense of community that keeps us from feeling alone as we journey through life. A shepherd will usually have lots of sheep and I think it’s because he would want the sheep to know they are not alone!
3. Sheep trust in the shepherd completely
Now this is the part I’m going to focus on. Have you ever seen the sheep talking to the Shepherd about the strategy of how they should move? Yes, I know we’ve all watched Dr Doolittle but seriously. Think about it! No! The sheep rest in the fact that the Shepherd knows the way. He has carefully thought of the bumps on the road and the best path to get each and every single one of us to the promised land. He is the ultimate strategist and director. He knows way more than the sheep. As far as he’s concerned, the sheep should eat, commune and TRUST HIM.
Do you get the picture I’m painting 😉 Trust me, it’s easier said than done. As I walk with God I’m asking him to teach me how to trust. I’m still so young and I want to learn how to lean back and trust. Part of my reluctance per say is because I can be quite controlling. So it’s almost like “Ahn Ahn God let me assist you now. Let us strategise together”. Na so. Unfortunately no. That’s how He wants it. I am not privy to the map of the universe therefore I do not know the true and correct path that offers the least resistance for whatever situation I find myself in. He on the other hand does. Therefore should I try to strategise by myself I may lead myself into a pit. He doesn’t want that because he loves me beyond that which I can understand.
I could carry on and on. My point is this – you and I are sheep. Why don’t you relax and trust that he knows what he’s doing? Has he ever failed you? Don’t say yes because I know that he says this:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 NIV
ALL THINGS. Not some things. ALL THINGS. EVERY-SINGLE-THING.
Did some of these experiences hurt? Definitely. However, trust means you believe that verse. Believe Psalm 23 and trust that he is leading you and has no intention to harm you.
Be good sheep okay? Just chill, graze and commune 😂❤️