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 art 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. Psalm 23:1-6 KJV
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Does it sound like the psalmist knew his Shepherd? Yes, this was a day-by-day, moment-by-moment relationship. So it need be with the Lord Jesus and those who follow Him. Not just flying into His presence with a panicked request for help, but day by day abiding. There is peace and blessed assurance in His Presence.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 KJV
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. The sheep are utterly dependent on the Shepherd. From good grass He has scouted out for the sheep to eat, to the “still waters” He finds. Sheep are easily unnerved, and will not drink from water that flows fast enough to scare them. Even the rod, for discipline, is for their protection, as well as the staff, which is used to pull them back when they wander. Sheep have no sense of direction, and will become prey to vicious wolves or blindly stumble over cliffs. The Good Shepherd keeps them close, going to look for them when they stray.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. The Good Shepherd restores our souls. Do you know sheep can fall over and be unable to right themselves when on their backs? This is known as being “cast down”. In this state, they are unable to get up on their own, and totally vulnerable. They will cry for help, bleating and flailing the air. If unaided, they will suffocate, since their stomachs fill with air and oxygen is cut off. Being “cast down” is increasingly uncomfortable, and then life threatening. Have you ever found yourself in such a state? Jesus is the Good Shepherd, Who hears when we call, gently reassures, gets us on our feet, steadies us until we are stronger, and leads us in His paths.
The psalmist, in verse 5, moves from speaking about the Shepherd, to talking to the Shepherd: 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. Outside Jerusalem is a steep, treacherous trail through a gorge named, “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” they sometimes had to cross. Fearful sheep especially did not like passing through this gorge. It was dangerous, and the curve in the trail made it seem like a dead end. But for those following their shepherd, there was no need for fear. He knew where he was going, and how to get His sheep safely there. With our Good Shepherd, we can walk safely through the most perilous circumstances of our lives, up to and including our own passing into the next life.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: David was honored by God when enemies persecuted him, continually protecting and rescuing him. He was not perfect, but his life was marked by praise, repentance, and dependence on God, his Rock, as evidenced in the Psalms and First and Second Samuel.
Thou anointest my head with oil; What is the significance of having his head anointed with oil? There are several ways this verse may be understood. 1) The Shepherd has anointed him and set him apart for special service to Himself 2) Symbolizes being filled with the Holy Spirit 3) In ancient times, a guest’s feet would be washed, and their head anointed with oil, as part of hospitality 4) Sheep had to contend with flies that would get inside the nose (nose flies) and lay their eggs, causing great irritation to the sheep, often leading to infection. The irritation would sometimes drive them to beat their heads against rocks, occasionally causing death. Anointing their heads (eyes, ears, and noses) with olive oil mixed with sulphur and spices helped protect them from this.
“My cup runneth over”. In the ancient Middle East, their custom was either to allow the cup of the guest to remain empty, and he would know it was time to go home! Or, when a host wanted to express his pleasure with and welcome a guest, the cup was overfilled, spilling over the sides. This word picture would have been well understood at that place and time. David knew God had honored him over and over again. This was one way of expressing that.
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. David expressed his expectation that God’s goodness and mercy to him would continue, and his own intention to follow all his life. Sweet relationship.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
John 10:10-11 KJV
He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. Luke 22:19-20 NLT Jesus has spread the table for us. His body, the bread. His blood, the wine. The new covenant between God and His sheep.
Is Jesus your Shepherd?
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 NKJV. Simple, but not always easy. Complete surrender. Living life His way. Not easy, but so, so worth it…
I would appreciate if you would share with me any faith decision you have made today, so I may pray, encourage, and help in that journey.
Categories: About Jesus
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