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Psalm 23, More Than a Shepherd

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

[F]or you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
— Psalm 23:4b

NL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, July 2, 2019

by Daniel D. Maurer, Clergy Stuff


Above all else, sheep need protection. When I first began my ministry in western North Dakota, there were few ranches in that area that raised sheep. The most common complaint I heard about them is that a sheep cannot fend for itself and the losses to predation and disease were much greater than with cattle ranching.

A shepherd must be completely dedicated to the flock for it to survive. In truth, the shepherd could be considered “married” to the flock, but I’ll dispense delving into that image too deeply lest you get untoward ideas about what I mean!

Psalm 23 is perhaps one of the most beloved Psalms from the Bible. Maybe in that way, its familiarity is its downfall, too—we're just too used to reading or hearing it that we forget its significance. Today, especially, I’m reminded how God’s rod and staff mean both protection and a device for correction for me. If I’m to be a member of God’s flock, I need reminding that I cannot do it alone.

The good news is that I do not HAVE to go it alone. God is there, as a shepherd, but more, too.

Thank you, God, for tending your flock, and reminding me that I need you always. Amen.

Earlier Event: July 1
Psalm 11, Learning to Trust
Later Event: July 3
Psalm 46, Psalm of Trust