Part 1By Vicky Moots
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth 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 thou are with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 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.”
“The Lord is my shepherd” implies that we are sheep and in need of a shepherd. Sheep are not able to take care of themselves. They are defenseless and not very smart. They need a shepherd to guide them and keep them from going astray and getting in danger. They must be led to food and water.
Isaiah 53:6 confirms this when it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way…”. David admits in another Psalm, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant…” (Psalm 119:176). David realized, through his own mistakes, his weakness and inability to be in control of his life, just like one of his sheep, and asked the Lord to Shepherd him. We all need to come to that realization.
This Psalm reveals to us, through David’s own experience as a shepherd boy, the important relationship between a shepherd and his sheep, and the need of the sheep for a shepherd. The sheep must learn to trust the shepherd and to know his voice. We will see as we study this how to apply it to our own lives spiritually.
Psalm 23:1a: “The LORD is my shepherd.” “The LORD:” David did not say “a” lord, but “the” LORD, the One and only Lord. “Lord” means “the Eternal One,” “Jehovah God.” LORD is all capitalized for it shows that He is the One who is over all and has complete authority.
A “lord” is “a person having great power and authority over a group of people; a master.” But “the LORD” is the One who is supreme ruler over all others.
The origin of the word “lord” literally means “bread ward or keeper,” the one who is responsible for giving out the daily portion of bread to all those under his authority. The Lord is also our “bread ward or keeper” and gives us our daily bread.
David then says “is;” not “was” or “will be,” but “is,” right now, my shepherd. He is the “I Am”, present tense!
Hebrews 13:20 tells us that He is the Great Shepherd of the sheep. In John 10:11, Jesus declares that He is the Good Shepherd that gives His life for the sheep. But David makes that relationship very personal when he says, “My Shepherd.” He was saying that the same Lord that is high and lifted up cares abut me.
David understood the love of a true shepherd for the sheep, for he was a shepherd himself. He knew also the responsibility of a shepherd: to lead, provide and protect his flock. He knew his sheep by name and loved and protected each one, and even risked his life for them when he had to fight off a lion and a bear.
David realized he needed someone to lead, provide and protect him also, and he claimed the Great Shepherd as his own. He knew the Shepherd’s voice and followed Him.
We can claim the Lord as our Shepherd too when we become His sheep by saying “yes” to His voice. He has spoken to us by His Word and called us to Himself, saying, “Come unto me…and I will give you rest.”
Have you heard Him calling your name? He wants to be your Shepherd too. He is not only a Shepherd, but He is the Door to the sheepfold, as He said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…”. Say “yes” to the Shepherd’s voice today if you have not done that and enter in through the Door into the safety of the sheep fold.
Psalm 23:1b: “I shall not want.” This means that we will not lack anything or be in want, as He will provide all our needs. The Apostle Paul tells us in Phil. 4:19, “But my God shall supply all our need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
That is the responsibility of the shepherd to supply all the needs of the sheep. A shepherd knows exactly what each individual sheep needs. Our needs are also met through Jesus Christ, our Shepherd. In fact, Jesus, Himself, is all that we really need. Claim Jesus as your Shepherd today, and let Him meet your needs.