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God's presence

A Shepherd and a Best Friend

We literally lack nothing…

A cliché is a phrase that once was thought provoking but became boring or ineffective because of repetition. A cliché isn’t necessarily untrue. It may be just as meaningful now as when it was first penned, but we stop being impacted by it because we’ve heard it too many times.

Psalm 23 is a good example of a Bible chapter that could become a cliché. Many of us have heard this chapter over and over. It’s been read at hospital beds and funerals. It’s been a favorite memorization assignment in Kid’s Church. It’s so well known we could easily stop feeling its impact.

Let’s turn fresh eyes and an open heart to the first verse of Psalm 23 and move past the cliché to the richness of this verse.

“The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1). The word translated as, “shepherd,” is from the Hebrew word, “raah.” It actually has two meanings. The first meaning is shepherd. We like to think we’re smarter than sheep. We like to think we can shepherd ourselves. But we’re prone to go our own way, get lost, get injured, or get in trouble.

We desperately, urgently, constantly need a shepherd.

John 10:14-15 says, “I alone am the Good Shepherd, and I know those whose hearts are mine, for they recognize and know me…I am ready to give my life for the sheep.” When we lean into the guidance of the Good Shepherd, we have everything we need and absolutely nothing to fear.

We needed a shepherd. And we also needed a friend.

The second meaning of “raah” is, “best friend.”  A best friend is someone we value above other friends in our lives, someone we trust, and someone in whom we confide. Our best friend is the first person we call when we get good news or bad news. When we just want someone to hang out with, we look to our best friend.

Jesus is not just our shepherd. Yes, he leads us and protects us. Yes, he provides everything we need to thrive. But he’s also our best friend. He can be trusted and can handle all our secrets. He rejoices in our good news and comforts us in our bad news. He’s always available and he always cares.

How blessed are we? Our shepherd is also our best friend. We lack nothing. Every physical need—supplied. Every spiritual need—supplied. Jesus is a companion who will never leave us or forsake us. He is our redeemer, the forgiver of our sins, and the one who conquers sin, death, and the grave.

Jesus is both our Good Shepherd and our best friend forever. We have nothing to fear. And we lack no good thing.

Dear Jesus, you are my closest friend, always with me, always listening, and always caring. And you are my Good Shepherd, leading me, protecting me, and providing for me. I am abundantly blessed. I know I will lack no good thing. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.