David, the Shepherd

   Searching His Word

     Seeking His Heart

As promised, we will explore the 23rd Psalm. It need not be read strictly at funerals, though that is appropriate, it can be a wonderful encouragement at any time. 

Looking back at many of the early psalms, they read like prayers from David to his heavenly Father, prayers of praise.

I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. Psalm 9:1

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1

I love you, O Lord. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer. Psalm 18:1-2

Prayers of petition.

Hear, O Lord, my righteous plea: listen to my cry. Psalm 17:1

Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. Psalm 16:1

Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Psalm 5:1

Do you hear the intimacy, the pathos, the relationship in just these few words? Where did he learn that? I believe it was in those quiet, alone times on the hillside.

Remember, before David slew Goliath, before David was a mighty warrior, before he ran for months in hiding from crazy Saul, and before he came King of Israel, David was a shepherd boy.

He learned the skill of a sharp shooter with his sling; he learned the bravery of facing off with a lion, he learned the wisdom of protecting his flock in the grazing areas. He worked hard caring for his sheep. He knew how totally dependent they were on his leadership and care.

In the afternoon as the sheep rested and at night once he had cared for and secured them in the sheep pen, David could relax in solitude. I believe it was in these precious moments that his mind turned to the Lord. Perhaps he played tunes on his shepherd harp and made up words to sing with the tunes. I believe he talked out loud to the Lord, words that came from the heart.

At some point it hit him, the Lord is my shepherd. He cares for me like I care for my flock.

So, this time, the song wasn’t a prayer to God, it was song about God.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want [or in need.] He makes me lie down in green pastures. Psalm 23:1-2

I think that’s why the Lord carried me away to those ancient green pastures last week. (Strength from the Pasture) He wanted me to have a quiet time in the pasture to remember that He is perfectly capable of taking care of all my needs. “Rest in me,” He says. “You don’t have to do it alone.”

Or as David learned to pray, “You are my refuge and strength, O Lord.”

I hope you will have some “pasture time” this week so that He might restore your soul.

~ Joyce ~

David – Preparation

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

How did King David handle his fears? I think much of his ability came with early preparation as a shepherd on the hillside. 

David developed his natural skills as he cared for his sheep. I picture him practicing with his sling over and over again, aiming his stone at a medium rock, then a smaller rock, vying for accuracy ten times out of twenty. Then 15 out of 20 or victoriously, 20 out of 20.

Maybe David challenged himself at greater distances. Perhaps he aimed at birds in flight, anticipating how far ahead the stone would need to go to coincide with the bird’s path. Whatever he did in practice, we know it eventually paid off with precision and strength when his target was a lion or bear and eventually the forehead of a giant. Preparation!

No doubt this handsome, Jewish boy had been taught about God. His psalms were evidence of a growing faith—many of which were likely made up in the calm of a day’s feeding time or in the quiet of a long watch at night. His prayers and meditations formed easily into songs of praise, sung over and over until he remembered them.

Wouldn’t you love to have heard his voice or listened to his harp accompaniment, a harp he fashioned from just the right arched-shaped branch, wide enough to accommodate a few different length strings, but small enough to sling over his shoulder. In those early days, Israel’s great song writer began the hymnal for his people. He learned the technique that calmed agitated sheep and later calmed the very soul of King Saul. Preparation!

In the days on the hillside, David poured out his heart and soul to the Lord, meditating, praising, seeking the Lord’s strength, drawing near to Him. He looked at his woolly charges and pictured the Lord caring for him like he cared for his sheep.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

As David provided fresh pastures for his sheep, he watched them lie down following an afternoon of grazing. He continued to develop the comparisons.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. he restores my soul. Psalm 23:2-3

However, in David’s life, as in ours, life was not just pleasant skies, lush green grass, and lazin’ around. He had strays to rescue, wild animals to subdue, and at the end of the day, burrs to pull out and cuts to anoint with oil. The ruggedness of shepherd life was enough to remind him that:

I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Preparation! We will see how that plays out in the next few weeks in David’s life. 

How does your preparation play out for you? How can your meditative times prepare you for whatever is ahead? Let us say with David:

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust. Psalm 25:1

~ Joyce ~