A Shepherd’s Musings Devotional for Week 37- 38:
Psalm 23 may be the most read and most well-known psalm of our age. David starts the psalm with a very personal statement, “The LORD is my shepherd”. Then we learn that as a shepherd, God provides necessities, heals souls, leads in right paths, is near, comforts, feeds, cares, and gives. If you read Psalm 23 thoughtfully, noting these amazing benefits of relating to God as your shepherd, you can’t help but conclude and exclaim, “God is a good shepherd!” The question that should flow from this is, “How can I have Him as my shepherd?” David was confident that God was his shepherd. How can I?
We can see God relating to others in the Old Testament as a shepherd as well. Jacob, whom God renamed Israel, considered God his shepherd. In blessing Joseph’s sons he said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys; and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Furthermore, the prophets, Isaiah and Ezekiel each referred to Jehovah God as Israel’s Shepherd (see Isaiah 40:10-11 and Ezekiel 34:12-15). Other psalmists in the psalms acknowledge and plead for God to be their shepherd:
Psalm 28:8-9, The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Psalm 80:1, Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Psalm 100:3, Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
But how can God be my shepherd? In the New Testament, Jesus reveals Himself as God the shepherd—the shepherd who will give His own life for the sheep. He says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me” ( John10:11-14). God becomes our shepherd in a personal way when we know Jesus and are known by Him. Jesus later said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30). So, how can God be our shepherd? We must hear Jesus’ voice, be known by Jesus, and follow Jesus. We find great security in being known by Jesus Christ and being brought into His fold, hearing His voice and following Him. It is like we are in the hand of God the Father and the hand of God the Son covers us. No one can take us from their all powerful and all knowing hands.
Be careful. There is a great danger in knowing the religion of Christianity without the Person of Christianity—Jesus Christ. Can you say as David said, “The Lord is my Shepherd”? Are you experiencing the blessings of Psalm 23 as a lamb in His fold? Do you hear and follow the voice of Jesus as your loving and caring Shepherd?
With Prayer, Mark |
© September, 2011 Scripture quoted: ESV – Emphasis added
Verses for our meditation: God is our Shepherd
Psalm 23, The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even 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 overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Isaiah 40:10-11, Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
Ezekiel 34:12-15, As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD.
Matthew 2:6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'”
Hebrews 13:18-20, Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 2:24-25, He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
1 Peter 5:2-4, Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
Revelation 7:13,-17, Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”