The Shepherd David is the author of Psalm 23; however, when David wrote the Psalm, he spoke from a sheep’s point of view rather than a Shepherd’s. David spoke in such a personal way about his Lord being his Shepherd.
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want; He spoke with such confidence, as if to say; “Look who my Shepherd is, and he will take care of me!” The very God, who created all things for his glory desires to be my personal Shepherd. The Bible tells us in Psalm 95:7: For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To think the very God who rules the entire universe also desires to hold each of us in the palm of his hand. When I think of the magnitude of this great universe, it humbles me to think such an Awesome God would call us his very own sheep. He spoke the worlds into existence and breathed life into mankind, yet he is our Shepherd!
He created each one of us so that we could have a close relationship with him, and he paid such a great price at Calvary so we can have life more abundantly. His affection for us is beyond our comprehension, and his passion for us we will never fully understand. This is why He can truly say, “I am the good Shepherd; the good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep, as noted in John10: 11. As God’s children we can say with confidence; I shall not want. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:19, But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Unfortunately, sometimes our wants are more than our need; this is one reason why we need a Shepherd to manage our lives.
When one looks at the behavior of sheep, you will find that we as humans are a lot like them. A sheep is a very fearful animal and so are we; a sheep can be very stubborn and so can we; a sheep needs to be lead to survive and so do we. Sometimes it is very difficult for sheep to be willing to follow the Shepherd. Also, we as humans may find it hard to follow the Good Shepherd. Yet despite all of these adverse characteristics, the Good Shepherd chooses us and knows each of us by name. There is no challenge for our God; the challenge is on our behalf. I suppose we need to ask ourselves, are we allowing him to be our Shepherd and lead us? Are we truly satisfied with what our Shepherd has provided for us? Are we listening to the still small voice of our Shepherd? We must not forget it is the Shepherd’s desire that we are safe, and flourishing.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters: I suppose when I think of green pastures and still waters, I am reminded of one word which is peace. However, there are times, because of our human nature, that we can loose God’s peace. When one studies the behavior of sheep, you will learn they are very timid animals. In fact they scare so easily that a small harmless creature could frighten one sheep and the entire herd would run in fear because of one frightened sheep. We react the same when Satan comes suddenly and frightens one of us; we all scatter. We must not forget what the Bible tells us: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. We must not forget that God is in control at all times. The Bible tells us, He is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, and He said low I am with you always. The thief would desire to steal our peace because he knows there is power in walking in God’s peace. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 26:3: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Unfortunately, very few Christians today find peace and rest in God because they do not trust him. Some Christians have wondered away from the safety of God and prefer the dry barren pastures of the world. By doing so, they have allowed Satan to rob them of joy and strength that can only be found in the green pastures of the Good Shepherd. We must never forget, God has ordained peace for his children, and God desires for us to drink from the living waters of his word.
When one studies the life of sheep, you will find when sheep are thirsty they become restless. If their thirst is not satisfied, they will seek water for themselves. Often times they drink polluted water and pick up internal parasites. Many children of God wonder away from the living waters of God’s holy word and drink from the dirty waters of the world and pick up spiritual parasites. Jesus said in John 7:37b, 38, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Our Good Shepherd knows the living waters can be found in him and him alone. The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:6, Blessed are they which do hunger, and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.
He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake: One may ask, are there times a child of God needs to be restored? Yes, I believe so, because some Christians get carried away with the cares of this world. Many Christians today are so deeply involved with their careers that they grow cold in their relationship with God. Often when we are at the top we forget we still need the guidance of God. Many people are self-sufficient due to good paying jobs, and material gain. We must not forget the Parable of the Farmer who desired to build bigger barns because of his material gain. We need to seek first the Kingdom of God, and he will give us the desires of our heart, which should be spiritual blessings. I am so grateful God is in the business of restoration, and he desires to lead and guide us daily.
Sheep are rather peculiar creatures of habit just as we are. If they are allowed to graze to long in the same pasture, they will rut out trails, and the overgrazing will cause erosion of the land. As a result the ground becomes polluted with diseases and parasites. Often times as God’s children, our paths become a rut and we grow weary. Sometimes we even take the wrong paths. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
I suppose we should ask ourselves, are we willing to follow our Shepherd, even through the dark lonely paths? Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod, and thy staff they comfort me. One can take the valley of the shadow of death in two ways. One way is when we pass from this life and go to be with our Shepherd. Another way is when God begins to deal with our flesh to die to the sinful nature and take on the nature of Christ. The Bible tells us in Galatians 2:20: I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Nevertheless, as God’s children we will all face the valley of the shadow of death. We all want to stay on the mountaintop, but it is in the valleys that God fashions us into a vessel of honor. It is while we’re in those dark lonely valleys that God’s rod, or his word, shapes us and molds us and even gives us correction. His staff, or his Spirit, will comfort us because our Shepherd has promised us he would not leave us comfortless, but he would send his Spirit, which is the Holy Ghost, in his name. He is such a wonderful God, the Bible tells us in Psalm139: 7,8, Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. To think our Good Shepherd cares enough to prepare a table for us to feast at in the presence of our enemies truly proves his love for us. The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 28:7: The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face; they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. It is so wonderful to know that our Shepherd is the one who fights our battles for us, and he even gives us spiritual insight in the midst of our battles. We should love our neighbor as our self, love our enemies, stand still, and see the hand of God work on our behalf. We must not forget what the Bible tells us in Isaiah 54:17: No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
God also desires that we be full of his Spirit, which is the anointing, and this gives us complete satisfaction. I recall going to a Farm show, and watching a man shear a sheep. After he finished, he allowed me to feel the sheep’s skin, and there was thick oil on its bare skin. Our cup needs to be running over with the thickness of God’s glory, which is the oil of the Holy Ghost.
Surely goodness, and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Where would we be with out the mercies of God? The Bible tells us in Psalm 136:1: O Give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. His eyes of mercy are upon those who belong to him; it is not His will that one of us go astray. The Bible tells us he left the ninety and nine for the one lost sheep. One may ask why? It is all because of His love and mercy, and he desires for us to dwell in his house forever. I cannot help but think of Psalm 84:10: For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. There is so much truth in the word of God that just a day in his courts is better than a thousand.
In closing, the Bible tells us in Revelation 21:4: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away. What an Awesome Shepherd we have! He is leading his sheep all the way to glory where the pastures truly are green.
Until next time,
Pastor Melinda (Mindy)