Dear Friends of “Dial Daily Bread,”
Can anybody in the world repeat the 23rd Psalm and claim that the Lord is his or her Shepherd? Or is that a privilege reserved only for people who have done things right? Or, in stronger language--can sinful people who have wasted their lives make that claim?
There is nothing in the Psalm that says, Warning! Don't say this unless ... ! Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ..." (Matt. 11:28). "All you." No restriction.
The problem with saying that the Lord is your Shepherd is that you immediately obligate yourself to follow where the Good Shepherd leads you! His destination is "home," His Father's house, where you will be welcome, no matter who you are or where you have been.
Just believing and saying that "the Lord is your Shepherd" will strengthen your faith because you realize that you do not deserve the blessings that are wrapped up in that blessed psalm. Immediately you will sense that they are conferred on you undeservedly and are given to you through the much more abounding grace of the Shepherd of your soul; and that is step one toward salvation in eternal life.
Your self-pride is washed away in tears of repentance; just simply realizing how unlimited is your debt of gratitude, becomes a step toward Christ. "He who comes to God must (1) believe that He is, and (2) that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6).
Memorizing and every day repeating the 23rd Psalm is eating the "bread of life" and drinking the "water of life." It reminds your sinful, worldly heart of the kindness of the Lord to you. Your heart is melted; faith begins to grow; you begin to "comprehend [appreciate] … what is the width and length and depth and height—[and] to know the love [agape] of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:18, 19). That last step can be nothing short of translation at the second coming of the Lord Jesus.
Of course you never stop with one Psalm; your hunger and thirst have been activated. They have been there all along as you "dwelt" in the world, but now they have been aroused from dormancy and you become aware that you want to know more and more. Eternal life has begun! The Holy Spirit says, "Welcome!"
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 6, 2007.
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