December 05 2022
Today, Monday December 05
The Shepherd and His Sheep
“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.
I have stood by the bed of hundreds of dear people at the hospital or in their home, ministering to them and their family in their time of sickness, and often as they are passing into eternity. I would quote Psalm 23 and watch as the Lord would fill the room with His presence and comfort that comes from this wonderful passage that assures us of His loving care and His promise to be with us as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death!
This Psalm never grows old and the more you read it, meditate on it, the more you love it and desire to read it again and again! Someone said you could divide this Psalm into three parts.
The Great Shepherd is One Who can take care of our frailty (vv. 1-3).
The Great Shepherd is One Who can take care of our foes (vv. 4-5).
The Great Shepherd is One Who can take care of our future (v. 6).
A great Bible commentator was going through the Bible of his dear deceased mother and found where she had written these words over Psalm 23. “This is where you will find the secret of a happy life, the secret of a happy death, and the secret of a happy future.” What a great way to look at this Psalm!
Throughout Scripture, God uses the image of the shepherd and his sheep to teach us about the care of our heavenly Father for us. The first person ever born on earth, Abel, was a shepherd. Genesis 4:2 tell us “Abel was a keeper of the sheep…”. He was also the first person ever killed because of His close relationship with God. I’m sure this would be a great message because from the very beginning God was giving us a picture of a coming Messiah Who would be killed because of His willingness to do His Father’s will.
The patriarchs of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were shepherds. Moses spent forty years caring for his father-in-law's sheep, and David, Israel's greatest king, served his father as a shepherd. The whole background of both the Old and New Testaments is built around an agriculture culture and community that existed in those times. So, it is no wonder that God would use this image of the shepherd and the sheep to illustrate so many powerful lessons for us. It is something that especially the people of Bible times would understand.
Then there is the image of God as Israel's shepherd that begins in Genesis 48:15, where Jacob said, "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day”. Jacob calls God his Shepherd again in Genesis 49:24, and this image continues throughout Scripture (Psalms 28:9; 80:1; 95:7; 100:3; Isaiah 40:11; 49:10; Jeremiah 31:10; Matthew 10:6; 15:24; Mark 6:34).
The promised Messiah was seen as a shepherd in the prophecy of Ezekiel 34:11-25. “For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. "As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.” You can also see this picture again in Micah 5:4; Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 2:6; 26:3; Mark 14:27. In John 10:1-18, Jesus Himself proclaims that He is the Good Shepherd that lays down His life for the sheep!
It is my prayer that this Shepherd Psalm will come alive with meaning for us over the next few days!