In his devotional classic, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”, W. Phillip Keller talks about the realities of raising and tending sheep. One of the dangers he recounts is when fierce wild dogs attack the flock and slaughter sheep. Needless to say, the sheep grow frightened and wary when any strange animal comes near. Keller addressed the problem by always having on hand a high-powered rifle to fend off predators.
Keller was surprised to discover that his mere presence when the sheep were endangered calmed them. He writes, “In the course of time I came to realize that northing so quieted and reassured the sheep as to see me in the field. The presence of their master and owner and protector put them at ease as nothing else could so, and this applied day and night.” He goes on, “In the Christian’s life there is no substitute for the keen awareness that our Shepherd is nearby. There is nothing like Christ’s presence to dispel the fear, the panic, the terror of the unknown.”
Jesus promised, “Lo, I am with you always.” When he was about to leave them and face the cross, Jesus promised, “I will not leave you desolate, I will come to you.” And he promised the abiding presence of the Spirit. I will send you another counselor.”
Jesus is with us. Jesus is vigilant. Jesus defends us. Jesus “leads me beside still water, he restores my soul.”
We can rest in peace, day and night because our shepherd is so faithful and strong that we can say in earnest, “I fear no evil, for thou art with me.”
Please join me in prayer. “Dear Jesus, thank you for being the good shepherd. Thank you for your vigilance and faithfulness. Thanks for your power over every enemy, including death. Help us always to follow you! Amen.”