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The Pastor's Blog

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“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 Lordforever” (Psalm 23:1–6, NKJV).


David’s psalm is a literary masterpiece. It’s also a humble admission by an aging king. (Though we aren’t certain of the Psalm’s date, I expect that this poem was penned toward the end of his life.) David looked back on his tumultuous life and saw clearly. Much like his sheep, David needed a shepherd.


The royal psalmist could remember guiding his sheep to new pastures and to “still waters.”He remembered guarding “his father’s sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock, (David) went after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb from its mouth. If it reared up against (him), (he) would grab it by its fur, strike it down, and kill it. (David) killed lions and bears”(1 Samuel 17:34–36). David’s sheep were dependent upon their shepherd’s protection.


David, the once fearless warrior and now aging king, knew he needed a shepherd. David, a sheep like me, was reliant upon Jehovah, his Shepherd.


David wasn’t the first to see Jehovah as the Shepherd. In Egypt, at the end of Jacob’s life, he blessed both of Joseph’s sons. “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all harm—may he bless these boys”(Genesis 48:15-16). Later he blessed Joseph in the name of “the Mighty One … the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel” (Genesis 49:24).


Jesus, David’s great, great, great… grandson, invited His followers to trust Him, to see Him as a sheep sees the shepherd. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me... I lay down my life for the sheep… My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:11–15, 27).


A good shepherd knows his sheep. He knows their fears, their faults, and their failures. He knows the lamb who constantly wanders away from the flock, and the one who stays nearest. He knows the one who remains longest at the stream, and the one who is first to rise in the morning. Lucky, Harry, Sally, Blacky… He knows them. And the sheep know their shepherd. When the shepherd calls, the sheep follow.


Why does this analogy work so well? Why did David sing about sheep and their shepherd? And why did Jesus claim to be the Good Shepherd? Why? Because we’re much like sheep … dumb, dirty, and defenseless. Sheep need a shepherd to guide them and guard them, to love them and lead them.


So, let me leave you with this thought… this prayer: “May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—through the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with everything good to do his will, working in us what is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen”(Hebrews 13:20–21).


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