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Shepherds spend lots of time outside, and this familiar and
popular psalm attributed to David invites us to the healing
landscape of green meadows, flowing rivers, and tree-shaded
paths. Such places offer renewal and restoration, and needs are
I remember a time of discernment around a possible vocational...
Take me, Shepherd God, along peaceful paths. Slow me to a gentle pace where I hear the birds, smell the flowers, feel the brush of spiderweb, and smile. Sit with me in verdant meadows as I dip my toes into cool streams. Teach me to be a grateful steward of your handiwork. Amen.
First Samuel 16 reminds us of the bold risk that Yahweh took in the anointing of this young and unheralded shepherd. If 1 Samuel 16 causes us to wonder about the adequacy of all human shepherds, Psalm 23 reassures us that one Shepherd never fails. The New Testament passages consider the tension between light and darkness as a metaphor for the conflict between good and evil. In Ephesians 5, the struggle has already been resolved but takes seriously the continuing problem of sin. By means of the love and presence of Jesus Christ, even the power of evil cannot withstand the light. Then John 9 emphasizes the power of Christ as a bringer of light in the story of the man born blind.
• Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13. How often do you allow external appearances to affect your decisions? In what ways are you learning to look on the heart?
• Read Psalm 23. When do you take time for yourself by slowing your pace, breathing deeply, and allowing God to restore your soul? How might this become a daily habit?
• Read Ephesians 5:8-14. How do you discover what pleases God? How does your living reflect your discovery?
• Read John 9:1-41. When have you experienced a “healing” that brought you back into community—either at home, work, or faith setting?
Respond by posting a prayer.
Pastor Harold Stinson was given The Upper Room as a child by his mother. He is now 71 years old and still reads the devotional guide every day but now in large print. He also hosts a daily prayer call and uses the scripture from the meditation as the basis for that call.