Psalm 23 is one of the best-known passages in the Bible. But how many of us really take these verses to heart? Here the psalmist gives us an in-depth picture of what true intimacy with God looks like.
Sheep are neither smart nor strong. For them to survive, they need a shepherd. Scriptures reveal many metaphors that depict our relationship with God: father-son, husband-wife, potter-clay, vine-branches, etc. These are all great metaphors, but none is more endearing and poignant as that of a shepherd and his sheep.
If God is your Shepherd, you will have all your needs met. Since He knows everything that you need, you will not lack any good thing (Ps 34:10, 84:11).
He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.” Sheep won’t lie down when they are hungry, anxious, or afraid. In the same way, sheep won’t drink from running water for fear of drowning. A good shepherd leads his sheep into green pastures, literally makes them lie down, and makes a way to let them drink from still waters. Our Shepherd knows how to meet our needs whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Thank Him and trust that where you are right now is your green pasture where your soul can be restored.
Our behavior affects God’s reputation. The problem is, like sheep, we are prone to go astray from God’s will. Since God is more concerned in our character than our comfort, He gives us His Word as our guide on how to live a life that is pleasing to Him (Ps 119:105) and disciplines us when we wander away from it (Heb 12:6).
Sometimes, in order to find green pastures, the shepherd leads his sheep through the dark valleys. Sheep are not afraid of danger so long as their shepherd is with them. The shepherd’s rod is used to protect them from their enemies while the staff is used to bring them back when they go astray. If straying has already become a habit, the shepherd would need to break the sheep’s leg. He will hold the sheep close to his heart until the wound heals. By then the sheep has already learned its lesson: he must stay close to the shepherd for his good.
Sheep can relax even when danger is imminent, given that their shepherd is near. Like them, our security is not so much in the absence of danger but in the presence of our Shepherd. He doesn’t only protect us from harm, but He also sets us apart for blessing.
God’s loving faithfulness will not just follow us but will pursue and overtake us. His heart is set to bless us. The New Testament tells us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11). Is He your Shepherd? The Bible tells us that there are tests by which we can determine this. Do you hear His voice? More importantly, do you follow His leading? (Jn 10:27-28)
Two thousand years ago, the Good Shepherd laid down His life for us (Jn 10:11) and this is what makes a personal relationship with Him possible. Whatever our failures in the past may be, Jesus wants to shepherd each one of us and He assures us that when we enter His fold, no one will be able to snatch us away from His hand (vv. 28, 29). The question is, will you let Him be the Shepherd of your life?