He Guides Me Through
Day 1: Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me…” Feeling that God is with us when everything is going well can be easy, but when life gets tough, when we are scared and things seem hopeless, God can feel very far away. What is your valley? Maybe it is in the recent past, or maybe you are walking through it now. It may be on your horizon. Thinking back to our Christmas series, “And He Shall Be Called,” Read Isaiah 9:2-7. In Isaiah 9:2 we see the same Hebrew word for, “valley of the shadow of death.” It can also be translated as, “land of deep darkness.” The good news is that into our, “deep darkness” a light has shined. There is hope. God has come. Jesus our Good Shepard is with us, and we need not fear. Take some time now to be still, and acknowledge God’s presence in the context of a valley in your life. He guides me through.
Day 2: David, who wrote Psalm 23, went through many, dark valleys. His enemies tried to kill him. He often had to flee or hide-out. He lost children. He even had a son betray him. Yet, even in the midst of it all, God was with David walking him through his dark valleys. As a result, David learned to trust his Shepherd. Likewise, our Shepherd has not abandoned us. Instead, He walks alongside of us, guiding us through the darkness while comforting and protecting us. Read Psalm 57. David expressed his trust to God through music. Psalms are songs in the Bible. Do you have a favorite song you can give back to God? Take some time sing or read the words of a song that reflect your trust in “my” shepherd. If one doesn’t come to mind, consider It Is Well with My Soul by Horatio G. Spafford.
Day 3: Read John 10:1-18. Who is your Shepherd? Who or what do you trust or follow? When you are in trouble, to whom do you look for rescue? Often, we can look to ourselves for rescue, and sometimes we can even do an okay job of getting through things on our own. But, when we are in the worst parts of life, when we are confronted with darkness, evil, and death, we realize that we are just helpless sheep in need of rescue. Take some time to consider the areas of your life. Where are you going it alone? Become aware. Admit and confess. Ask Jesus to lead you today.
Day 4: When David writes in Psalm 23:4, “…Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me,” David is speaking with the experience of a shepherd. Read 1 Samuel 17:33-37 as David pleads before the king to fight Goliath. As a shepherd, David knows the lengths a shepherd would go to in order to protect a lamb. That’s why he uses the metaphor of a shepherd when describing God’s protection and comfort. If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Romans 8:31. How we can walk through the valley of the shadow of death without fear? Because, God Himself is the One protecting and comforting us. Consider yesterday’s devotional. In what area of life are you having a hard time trusting that God will protect and comfort you? What would it look like for you to choose to trust Jesus, your Shepherd, today? Write it down. Be specific. Commit to do it today.
Day 5: A close family member has been struggling with a failing heart for many years. This weekend he received the prognosis from the doctor that his heart is inoperable and he will die within the next week. So, he has said goodbye to his family, pet his dog for the last time, and had his last cup of vanilla ice cream. Now he waits and prepares to die. The shadow of death hangs heavily on our family. We believe that Jesus, our shepherd, will guide us along the right paths, give us comfort and rest. Yet, in the end it’s not enough. Death comes for us all and is ever-present reality for my family. Read Revelation 21:1-7 Jesus our good shepherd is not just delivering us from the fear of death, He is delivering us from death itself. In the middle of this broken world, heart disease, messed up families, school shootings and so on. He is making all things new. God our Shepherd has become a lamb, a sacrificial lamb who died for us, so that we might be delivered from death. What does Jesus’ death mean for you today? Share your response with someone today.