The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)
God Is My Shepherd
The twenty-third Psalm is one of the most visible passages of scripture. It is often quoted and numerous arrangements have been sung to the beauty of its simple message. David knew everything there was to know about being a shepherd and he could see how the heavenly Father was like a shepherd. Written in a brief style the psalmist captures the life of one who guards, protects, provides and sustains creatures that have no defense and no guidance. Sheep are animals that have many enemies. They do not have any form of defense and must rely upon the shepherds care for defense. The sheep are unable to find green pastures or still waters on their own and need a guiding hand to take them to where they will find life. Sheep are completely dependent upon the shepherd. Without the work of the shepherd the sheep will die.
Shepherds know their role is to care for every sheep in the fold. Unlike a hireling who is only in it for the money a shepherd will take the time to look after each and every sheep. He provides them abundant fields of greenery. Waters that rush across the rocks will not help the sheep so the shepherd finds still waters. When the roar of a bear echoes across the hills the sheep crowd close to the shepherd because they know he will protect them. There is no fear in the flock. From time to time a sheep will wander away. He is lost among the crags and valleys with no defense. His bleating will reach the ears of his shepherd and with great joy sees his protector coming to rescue him. What a wonderful feeling to know the arms of the shepherd will carry him to safety and back to the fold. There is peace with the sheep because of the shepherd.
David realized the God was the great shepherd. Living for God each day will bring a peace that passes understanding. Only by the hand of the Lord God are provisions given for daily food, raiment and the needs of life. Hearing the voice of God daily is a way to follow the path of righteousness. There is no fear in the hearts of a child of God because he knows the will of God will guard his life, protect him from the roaring lion and comfort him in times of storm. If life takes a difficult toll and one wanders from the truth he knows that a loving Father will forgive and receive back the prodigal son with great joy.
There are too many Christians who know the twenty-third psalm but have never known the great Shepherd of the psalm. David had a personal relationship with the Father and He could feel the joy of the great Shepherd in his life every day. Our Father is longing for us to know Him, trust Him, live for Him each day and He will take care of us. As we worship God today let us lift up our voices of praise to the Shepherd of our salvation. Thank you God for being my Father. Thank you God for being my Shepherd.
The highest lesson God wants to teach us is to “trust Him regardless.” If everything made sense to our understanding we would need no faith. (Vance Havner; 1901-1986)