God, My Shepherd – Psalm 23

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” Ps. 23:1

There is perhaps no more familiar and beloved passage of Scripture than Psalm 23 – the Shepherd’s Psalm. David, the Psalm’s author, was a shepherd of sheep. When God called him in 2 Samuel 5:1-2, He said to David, “You shall be shepherd over my people Israel.” (See also Psalm 78:70-72). But in Psalm 23, David, the shepherd of Israel, confesses his own need for a Shepherd who was greater than he; so he wrote, “the LORD is my shepherd.” In this statement David makes an analogy that is found throughout the Hebrew Scripture, and fully appreciated through the lens of the New Testament (John 10) where we learn of one Person, Jesus Christ, who uniquely expresses the qualities of a Shepherd to His people. Jesus calls himself, “The good shepherd.” He is called elsewhere, “The great shepherd,” (Heb 13:20-21), “the chief shepherd,” (1 Pet 5:4), and John describes Jesus as a royal shepherd – a Lamb on a throne who is shepherd of His people (Rev 7:17). But I pose this question to you today:  Is He YOUR shepherd?

If Jesus is your shepherd, there is a very important effect which is brought out in verse 1; it is that we, His people, shall not want – that is to say, we will lack no good thing. If the Lord Jesus Christ is truly my shepherd, then there is no good thing that I lack. He supplies all my needs and satisfies me completely. He has provided me with a complete salvation, to which I need to add nothing. He takes care of my life, so that I need be anxious for nothing; and even those things which are unpleasant in life, I can trust are in His hands. He will guide me safely to my final destination, whether it is through green pastures and still waters, or dark valleys and shadows of death. I need not fear, in fact I am comforted, by the fact that my Shepherd will defeat all of my fiercest enemies as He bears the rod and staff which He uses to protect me.

You must know however, that there are other shepherds whose voices compete with the voice of our Shepherd – so you must beware who you are listening to? Jesus assures us that, without exception, all of His sheep will hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27). Is Jesus your shepherd? Can you read Psalm 23 and say, “Yes, Jesus is all of this, for me?” Are you following His voice, as He speaks through His Word? If so, then take heart, for He will lead you and guide you in this life; He will cause you to enjoy the green pastures of His Word, and refresh you beside still waters. And when you are finally brought safe into His house forever, he will continue to shepherd you as the Lamb, who is shepherd of heaven leading you in ever-increasing praise and adoration, exciting you and filling you with deeper knowledge and understanding, as He continues to shepherd His flock in eternal realms of glory. He is most certainly the only truly good shepherd. Be sure you are hearing and following Him, and not another.

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