Are you feeling unprotected, exposed to the elements of life? Financial struggles, marital difficulties, unfair treatment or just the daily pain of living in a fallen world? God’s Word has a refreshing truth for you. There is One to protect your weary soul and guide your path and call you His own. David illustrated this truth as he begins to paint the classic, Psalms 23.
“The LORD is my shepherd” (Psalms 23:1a) the literal translation of this portion of verse one is “YHWH ra’ah” which means Lord, my shepherd. No actual verb is used, but rather just a name of God proclaimed.
David’s claim in this first verse cannot be fully appreciated apart from insight into the art of shepherding. Shepherds were often young men who were needed by the various town settlements to lead several owners’ sheep to pasture. A shepherd could even be employed to look after the sheep of a whole village. The fact that David calls the Lord ‘my’ shepherd is significant because a shepherd rarely cared for sheep of his own.
But Psalms 100:3 teaches us to “Know the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
God’s people are His sheep and He is our shepherd. Shepherds were hard working men, who spent all their time with the sheep. The sheep got to know the Shepherd intimately and would even know the sound of his voice. John 10:27 illustrates this is true of Christ and his sheep, as well. “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.”
Do you get the sense God is possessive of His sheep, as He nurtures and cares for them?
The Amplified Bible gives us three points of need the shepherd met for his sheep and that our Shepherd meets for His own…
“The LORD is my shepherd [to feed, guide and shield me]” (Psalms 23:1 AMP)
This is a generalization of the chores of a shepherd. The Psalms will paint a more vivid picture as you read through it, but based on these three points, I asked myself, if my Shepherd is offering to feed, guide and shield me then how am I choosing to receive that?
• What am I feeding on…watching, reading, and meditating on? Is it truth from my Shepherd? (1 Peter 2:1-3)
• What is guiding me? What am I looking to for direction? Is it the Lord and His Word? Am I spending time in prayer as I look to be guided by Him? (Psalms 16:11)
• Do I really believe that God is a shield around me? Or am I spending time fretting and worrying about my protection and provision? (Psalms 46:1)
God, the Good Shepherd is a perfect Shepherd who extends His grace for you and me today. He is introducing Himself as YOUR Shepherd; will you trust His feeding, guiding and shielding?
Let us fix our eyes on Him alone, knowing His provision is enough, His grace abounds and His love is personal.