Devotional Antidotes for Anxiety and Depression

God’s Prescription for Peace

Psalm 23:1 (NIV) The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

Psalm 23 is one of the most loved psalms and one of the best-loved and best-known chapters in the Bible. The great preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon called it the “pearl of psalms.” God provides a prescription for peace in this song which dispels doubt, wipes away worry, and supplies ammunition against the onslaught of anxiety. This psalm provides comfort through severely painful trials, emotional and mental suffering, grief and loss, physical illnesses, and dying. For some people, the words of this psalm have been the last uttered in their final breath at death.

What a powerful and personal promise Verse 1 claims! It is personal because the LORD is “my” shepherd, my personal care-giver. Shepherding, in ancient societies, was regarded as the lowest and most unpleasant of all jobs. Shepherds lived with the sheep twenty-four hours a day, an unending and exhausting responsibility. Day and night, summer and winter, in beautiful weather and through the tempests of storms, shepherds labored to nourish, guide, protect and provide for the sheep. What mentally stable person would choose to be a shepherd? Yet God, Himself, the LORD God Almighty who revealed His name to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3:14 choses to be our Shepherd. Our Creator and King of the universe stooped down to take care of you and me during this life and into the next one.

The LORD is God’s personal name, the name of Yahweh or Jehovah or “I am who I am,” as He revealed to Moses. The LORD’s personal name is unique. Even though it is repeated more than 4000 times in the Old Testament, it refers only to God, our Creator. Our Shepherd is the LORD God. His name is a name of power. His name declares many of His attributes. Our Shepherd, therefore, being the LORD is unchangeable, a personal being, self-existent, self-sustaining, eternal or timeless, inexhaustible, immortal, all-powerful, and self-sufficient. Self-sufficient means God needs nothing from anyone or anything.

Amazingly, our Shepherd is Jesus Christ. Jesus claims to be God in John 8:58, calling Himself by God’s personal name as revealed to Moses. Since Jesus is God, Jesus is our saving Shepherd. Remarkably, Jesus teaches He is a shepherd. He proclaims in John 10:11 (NIV), I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. As a result of Jesus being our Shepherd, He provides a personal relationship with us, thus providing what we need including rest, guidance, protection, safety, security, provisions, healing, peace, and eternal life.

As today begins and ends, remember the peace this verse guarantees. God, our immutable Savior, is the perfect Shepherd, ready, willing, and able to care for us, His sheep, with divine power through life’s trials and traumatic experiences.

PAUSE TO PRAY: LORD God, I praise You because through Your name alone, You are unchangeable, a personal being, self-existent, self-sustaining, eternal or timeless, inexhaustible, immortal, all-powerful, and self-sufficient. I confess I am helpless as a sheep. I confess I have tried to be self-sufficient and self-directing, ignoring my need for You. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for being my Shepherd. Thank you for the peace I find in Your Word. Help me today to recognize You as my Shepherd and to allow You to do Your job shepherding me through today’s or tonight’s storms. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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