Psalm 23, which was shared as this week’s Monday Vitamins, is one of my favorite psalms. It embodies, to me, the intimate, personal, loving relationship God makes it possible for us to have with Him, a relationship that is summarized in verses 1 and 4:
“The LORD is my shepherd” (verse 1a) and “For You are with me” (verse 4b).
Much has been written about the LORD being our Shepherd; I will focus on an excerpt from the Reformation Study Bible’s commentary on Psalm 23:1; “The shepherd stays with the flock (Is. 40:11)… His sheep are totally dependent upon him for food, water, and protection from wild animals.”
Dr. Shermaine Y. Sanders, highlights several characteristics of sheep and their related need for a shepherd:
- Sheep habitually “stray into running creeks for water, causing their wool to grow heavy and as a result, they drown!” Consequently, they need a shepherd to lead them “…beside…still waters” (Psalm 23:2).
- Sheep lack natural means of defense such claws or horns. Therefore, they need a shepherd with “…a rod and…staff.”
- Sheep do not have a sense of direction. As such “they need a shepherd wise enough to lead them ‘in paths that are right’ (Psalm 23:3). Or ‘in the right direction’, says The Message Bible.”
She also notes that, as believers, we are very similar to sheep. For example, we “tend to drown in circumstances we should have avoided; are without natural defenses against our true enemy, ‘who goes about as a “roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”’ (1 Peter 5:8 NAS).”
I am thankful that each of us who have accepted His gift of salvation can truthfully say, “The LORD is my Shepherd” and “You are with me,” always, and experience His guidance, protection, provision, and presence. May these truths sink deep into our beings and bring peace.