The rewards of a warrior are many. Some come in this life and some in the next. As a victorious warrior, I want to stand tall on a platform and have a medal put around my neck by my Commander in Chief. I want the spoils of victory strewn at my feet. I want trumpets playing and there to be dancing in the street. That’s what I want and then some. Yet in Psalm 23, David paints an entirely different picture of my reward. The Greatest Warrior is called a Shepherd, which makes me a sheep, and I don’t get it! Isn’t the Greatest Warrior strong and fierce, and doesn’t He reign terror on the enemy? That’s what I want. Why would I need a Shepherd? Why would I need to spend time as a sheep?
Yet, maybe I am asking the wrong questions. Maybe I should be asking, “Why would I not need a Shepherd?” The daily battles of a Warrior are difficult and tiring and can completely drain me. Even though I may fight seemingly superhuman battles day after day, the truth is that I am human. This Greatest Warrior that equips me daily for battle and fights alongside me, knows me well. He knows what I need and when I need it. There are times that I need to be restored and in those times, He becomes my Shepherd and I become His sheep. David tells me that my Shepherd gives me everything that I need. He takes me to lush pastures and refreshing waters. He restores my strength and keeps me on the right paths. He takes away my fears. He feeds me at a magnificent feast and fills my cup to the brim. He shows me that what I wanted is not what I needed. My reward is not standing on a platform with a medal around my neck and a lot of pomp and ceremony. My reward is a Shepherd that restores me and prepares me well for the next battle. If I am to be a great warrior, I have to also spend time as one of His sheep. It’s kind of funny. You don’t often see pictures of a great warrior surrounded by sheep - unless, you look at Jesus. This Greatest Warrior of all time, surrounded by all of us warriors who fight the battles daily with Him, is also our Shepherd and we are also His sheep. He will pursue us with His amazing goodness and mercy our entire lives.
Then David closes this Psalm with the promise of an even greater reward. One that will never end. One that will go on day after day forever. One day the Greatest Warrior will take our warrior shield and our warrior weapons from us and lay them aside. He will look us in the eye and say, “Well done.” Then Our Shepherd will take our hand and lead us into His house where we will live with Him forever.
How does the promise of living eternally with Jesus help you fight the battles of today?
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