The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3
Psalm 23 is probably the most well known and beloved of all the Psalms. Maybe it’s so well-loved because it is so personal and individual. The Lord is pictured as OUR Shepherd and we as His sheep.
Not many of us have had the opportunity to work with sheep and therefore may not understand the full meaning of the 23rd Psalm. Sheep are some of the most defenceless animals on the face of the earth, and unfortunately, tend to be rather willful. Those two characteristics create a very dangerous scenario for their safety.
As you know, David was himself a shepherd and he makes no apologies for comparing himself and us with those same willful, self-destructive animals. The Lord Jesus, with his rod and staff at hand, guides and comforts us, continually pulling us out of dangerous situations. Though we would tear ourselves from his grasp, and rush headlong down a dangerous slope, he gently prods and guides us into paths of righteousness.
In his book, “I Shall Not Want”, Robert Ketchum tells about a Sunday school teacher who asked her group of children if any of them could quote all of Psalm 23. A little four-and-a-half-year-old girl raised her hand. A bit sceptical, the teacher asked if she could really quote the entire psalm. The little girl came to the front, faced the class, made a little bow, and said: “The Lord is my shepherd, that’s all I want.” She then bowed again and sat down. She may have overlooked a few verses, but I think that little girl captured David’s heart in Psalm 23. The idea throughout the psalm is that we are utterly contented in the shepherd’s care and there is nothing else that we desire.
God created us, saved us and continues to look after us. His salvation does not only guarantee us a place in heaven for eternity but guarantees his constant watch care over us every single day of our lives. It may seem, at times, that God is far removed from us, but the truth is, our Shepherd has never left our side.
Christ is our faithful Shepherd who knows who His true sheep are and never neglects or abandons them. With the Psalmist we may say in confidence,
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. – Psalm 23:6