David wrote Psalm 23 from the perspective of a sheep. As a shepherd he gave constant care, compassion & comfort to his sheep. David was able to relate to the Lord with trust & confidence as the ultimate shepherd. He then could move toward his destiny as the Shepherd-King of Israel.
Psalm 42 paints another picture. David was in exile because of the cruelty of King Saul. Saul was seeking to kill him . Jonathan, his best friend was dead. David & his rag-tag band of warriors were hiding in caves. David was suffering from deep discouragement. God seemed far away.
Was it a pleasant August morning when David penned Psalm 42 ?
From the doorway of the cave where he was hidden did he pour out his raw emotions & his unanswered questions?
Perhaps it sounded like this .
A white tailed deer is over there drinking from the creek. It is taking big gulps of that cool clear water.
I remember when your Words & your Presence were like cool water.
Will I ever experience your Presence again?
I’m so thirsty. I’ve been on a diet of salty tears. Tears for breakfast, tears for supper for weeks now.
I am pestered by my soldiers & by my own thoughts day & night asking ‘Where is your God now?’
I go over & over all that has happened . I examine every detail of the last few years, emptying the pockets of my life.
My heart is breaking. I remember that in past years I was always the one leading the people in worship.
I was always presenting such a positive picture of you, Lord.
I was always encouraging people to trust you; encouraging them to count on your goodness & unfailing love.
I was so strong in faith, so full of enthusiasm.
I desperately want to be that person again. I am so thirsty for you Lord.
I am so tired of being down in the dumps. I’m so tired of letting these negative thoughts rule my life. I’m so exhausted from being held captive by fear, grief & depression.
It ends today, Lord.
Today I Choose
Today, I choose to come again to You.
I choose to rehearse everything I know to be true about you. I go back to my journal where I wrote about you from a sheep’s perspective.
I choose for just today to fix my eyes on You.
I choose to smile knowing that even though I am in a dark place You are with me.
I choose to let You handle the fear or depression or lack or ……….. that are ruling my life.
I choose to believe that You are with me. I choose to hear your whispers saying ‘I am with you’.
Seven Minutes With The Shepherd
Step #1 Ask God which 1 or 2 verses from either Psalm 23 or Psalm 42 to reflect on.
Step #2 Write a paraphrase of those few verses that reflect your experience/circumstances today.
Step #3 Ask God what he says about what you have written.
Step #4 Listen for his response. Write your impressions in your notebook.
Step #5 How will you do life differently today because of this time in his presence?