“The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” (Psalms 23:1-2 ESV)
Like a loving Shepherd, God provided a beautiful garden as a home for Adam and Eve, His newly created little flock. The Creator gave them “every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit” (Genesis 1:29b ESV). They could drink from a river that watered the garden. Adam and Eve had green pastures and still waters. They had everything they might need, but they chose to wander from God’s Word and command. They sought greener pastures, and Eve saw that the forbidden fruit “was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6b ESV).
Eve, and Adam with her, chose to eat of the tree that was forbidden to them. Realizing what they had done, they tried to cover their sin and shame and hide from God. But like a Shepherd, God came looking for them. He confronted them with their sin and showed them the results of that sin, the suffering that lay ahead in shattered relationships with their Creator, with each another, and with creation. But in mercy God promised that an Offspring of the woman would come to do battle with the serpent who led them astray. Driven from the green pastures of Eden, Adam and Eve carried in their hearts the hope and the promise of a Savior. At the appointed time, the promised Offspring of the woman was born among us. God sent His Son to take on human flesh and be our Savior and Shepherd.
We are the sheep of the Lord’s pasture, but just as our first parents chose to rebel against the Creator, we also choose to stray from the paths of righteousness. We wander along our own paths, frequently preferring pastures that offer what we want rather than what we need. The world’s temptations are attractive, but what may appear to be nourishing green pasture turns out to be poisonous weeds. We turn from clear, still water to follow the rushing, polluted waters of our own sinful desires. Jesus came to find His wandering sheep and to lay down His life to save them. Our Shepherd is also the perfect Lamb of sacrifice, who took onto Himself all of our sins and carried them in His own body to the cross. There He suffered the penalty of death that we deserved for our wandering ways. Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross and placed in a sealed and guarded tomb, but on that first Easter morning, the Good Shepherd who laid down His life took it up again!
Jesus our Shepherd holds us firmly in His strong hand. We follow Him along paths of righteousness. He knows our needs. He leads us to the nourishing green pastures of His Word. He refreshes us with the living water that is the Spirit of God. The crucified and risen Lord is our Shepherd, and in Him we have everything we need.
THE PRAYER: Jesus, my Shepherd and Savior, nourish me through Your Word and refresh me with Your Spirit. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries
1. Have you ever raised or cared for farm animals? How hard was that to do?
2. How is Jesus both a Shepherd to us and a Servant to God the Father?
3. What do you think “green pastures” and “still waters” means in the 23rd Psalm?