Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.
Fear can be an innate instinct that provides protection. It warns us of impending danger. It can trigger a fight-or-flight response. But fear of intangible things like fear of the future or fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. (Matthew 13:22; Luke 21:34)
Sheep are timid and are fearful of rapidly moving water. They do not swim, and it may be instinctive as their wool coats can be weighted down, and they could easily drown. We see in verse 2 of Psalm 23 that the Good Shepherd leads us “beside still waters.” (KJV) Not only does He supply our every need, but He leads us to places of safety, solitude, and rest. This is an overall theme of Psalm 23.
When we find ourselves being anxious or fearful, we need to ask ourselves where these feelings are coming from. David tells us a lot about dealing with fear and anxiety in his other psalms. He tells us to commit our ways to the Lord and trust in Him. (Psalm 37:5) What does it mean to “commit our ways”? David tells us to seek to walk in obedience before God trusting that He will protect us. (Proverbs 16:7) It also means that we can commit our circumstances to Him knowing that the providence of God will work through all things for our good and His Glory. (Romans 8:28) He tells us to trust in God. David also tells us to “cast our burdens” upon Him and He will sustain us. (Psalm 55:22) How do we “cast our burdens” upon the Lord? It is a picture of handing over all those things in life that we are worried about. Can you picture yourself holding these things in the palms of your two outstretched hands and giving them over to Him?
It requires much prayer to be able to do these things. Prayer is not about manipulating God, rather as we pray the Holy Spirit gives us assurance; He speaks to us and brings us peace of mind.
As you pray today, take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center of the page. Make a list of those things that you are anxious about. On the left side of the page, list those things that are in your control. On the right, list those things outside your control. For those things on the left, work on doing your part for what you need to do. For those on the right, surrender them over to God in prayer and trust that He will sustain you.
Devotional studies this week are based on the sermon “He Leads Me Beside Still Waters—Psalm 23” from the series “Never Alone—Psalm 23” (Part 3) by Pastor Nate Atwood.
If you would like to hear the sermon in its entirety, go to KPC.ORG/Watch/Listen/Messages.