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The Good Shepherd

Psalm 23 KJV 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley…

I memorized this Psalm when I was young but I did not know what any of it truly meant. I did not know what a shepherd was or did. I know people eat lamb and that I am allergic to wool. But that did not help me to connect Jesus to being my Good Shepherd and without this connection Psalm 23:4-6 are words but not reality. We will all walk through times of severe trials and testing. These times will be our own affliction and correction or will be about watching others make one destructive choice after another which will cause us sorrow and grief. When we don’t know who we are in Christ or Him as our Shepherd it can feel as if “the valley of the shadow death” will consume us. Since we are going to walk through this valley, how do we walk through without fearing that evil will invade us. To enjoy verses 4-6, we must understand verses 1-3.

Who Is The Good Shepherd

Jesus As Our Shepherd

Shepherd Lambs
by Martin Young – biblecartoons.uk

Psalm 23:1 KJV The Lord is my shepherd;

In Matthew 9:36 we find Jesus deeply moved with compassion for His sheep because they are without a shepherd which causes them to be in a state of constant weariness and helplessness to defend themselves. The health of the sheep are completely dependent upon the shepherd. 

In John 10 Jesus tells us all about Himself as our Good Shepherd. 

John 10:11 KJV I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Jesus is the believers Good Shepherd. How did He become our Good Shepherd? We walked through the door of faith in Him and received Him as our Shepherd (John 10:7). Why did we walk through the door of faith? We were called by name (John 10:9). Now we are lead by Christ and we listen to the voice of Christ only (verse 5).  What did Jesus do to become our Good Shepherd? He willingly laid down His life for our sins. We are now a part of the kingdom of heaven and as such we have been restored, we have been given life, abundant life (John 10:10). 

What Does Jesus Mean By The Word Life

life-2222-zoe- Life (physical and spiritual). All life (2222/zoe),… i.e. it always (only) comes from and is sustained by God’s self-expant life. The Lord intimately shares His gift of life with people creating each in His image which gives all the capacity to know His eternal life. (HELPS Word-studies)

Our abundant life is in Christ. Our life is to declare His image, that is, our focus is to do the will of the heavenly Father. The life we live before others is to honor and glorify  God’s name. We will meet great opposition on our straight and narrow path so we must know our Shepherd as our provider, our protector, and our rewarder. 

My Provider

Psalm 23:1 KJV The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Green Pastures Psalm 23
by Martin Young – biblecartoons.uk

Jesus will meet all our needs. This is not the wants of the worldly gospel but it is the needs God knows we need. What do we need? We need to learn to be content with all the things of God. Ephesians 1:3 says in Christ we have been blessed with every heavenly

blessing. When we are discontented we do not see Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Instead we are always on the hunt for what we consider to be better. But this hunt will lead us outside the boundaries God has placed us in permanently by His laws. Our thinking is, there has to be something better than what I have and somewhere better than where I am. To see Jesus as our provider we must believe He will not leave us wanting but learn to be content in whatever God sends our way (Philippians 4:11-13). 

My Protector

Psalm 23:3 KJV He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 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.

hen and chicksIn Luke 13:34 Jesus tells Jerusalem that His desire has been to shelter her like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wing to protect them. This does not mean Jesus will protect us from the hatred of the world but it does mean He will protect us from straying. Jesus has a rod and a staff that He uses to guide us on “the paths of righteous” for His good name. Once again we see our life is to honor and glorify His name. When we allow Christ, through the Holy Spirit and His Word to guide us, we will stay within the boundaries His word has set. There we will find rest, peace, and strength (Matthew 11:25-30). Fear is reduced when we know Jesus is always with us in all things providing what we need at the time (Hebrews 4:16) and protecting us (Psalm 91:1-2).

My Rewarder

Psalm 23:5 KJV Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Wilderness Desert
By Martin Young – biblecartoons.uk

Psalm 78:19 asks the question, Is God able to prepare a table in the wilderness? Jesus has prepared a table before our enemies. The wilderness is a time of testing (Deuteronomy 8:2, Luke 4:1-2). We have things in us that are making us spiritually weak and Christ,

through the work of the Holy Spirit, will examine our heart to reveal what to remove that is hindering us from truly feeding on the word of God. Hebrews 11:6 says there is no way to please God except through faith. That faith must believe He is alive, Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and He is a rewarder to those who diligently seek Him. We do not have to find food to eat in our wilderness it is already there. That table was set at the cross of Christ. Our reward for Jesus finished work on the cross is peace with God. A home with God and eternal life in heaven. Our food is the word of God (Matthew 4:1-10).

What Is The Proof Jesus Is Our Good Shepherd

Psalm 23:6 KJV 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.

Goodness and mercy is following us. That is we not only receive mercy and goodness from God but our heart desires to deposit His goodness and mercy toward the lives of others. I pray when I get to the judgment seat of Christ I have left goodness and mercy all over the path of the race I am running. 

So, let us ask, is our past a field of weeds and worthless pasture that is destroyed and useless. Is our past a green and lush pasture for others to know the goodness and mercy that our Good Shepherd has and is showing to us. Are we living for Christ’s name sake? Knowing Christ as my Good Shepherd consistently changes me. My favorite verse in all the bible is, 

Psalm 27:4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

This mind set changes everything. 

We have provided reading material on Psalm 23, book by Phillip Keller , a shepherd looks at psalm 23 

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