The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads 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 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 runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever (Psalm 23).
God sees us as sheep, and He has the role of a shepherd in our lives. Here are some practical truths about sheep and shepherds that apply to our relationship with the Lord.
A shepherd knows his sheep by name and the sheep train themselves to know the shepherd’s voice. Sheep are helpless to defend themselves against enemies, and easily wander into danger. Jesus said, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me (John 10:27-28 – NLT).
God makes us to lie down in green pastures. A good shepherd will give his sheep the best food, and will lead them for miles to the greenest, most lush pastures. Good food means a healthy flock. Life is sustained by water, and the shepherd always looks for an abundant source near the grazing field. The Father is Jehovah Jireh to us. He provides us with everything we need to live in blessing. He’s always looking for the best supply for all of our needs! And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19-NLT).
God restores our souls. A shepherd looks after each sheep, and seeks to make it feel secure and cared for. God wants to minister to us and heal the emotional wounds that life brings. God as our shepherd restores our soul. He leads us to partake of the engrafted Word that will renew our minds and release pain from our emotions. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. (James 1:21 – NLT). He will lead us away from the activities of the flesh that rob us of peace and inward rest, and urges us to spend time with Him so that He can brush away our fears with His comforting Word.
The Lord our shepherd is with us in times of danger. The valley of the shadow of death is a gully on the side of a mountain that the shepherd and sheep must pass through to get back home. Animals of prey watch from the surrounding hills for sheep that stray. The shepherd has a rod to defend the sheep from the prey. On the other end of the rod is a hooked end that the shepherd uses to grab the sheep by the neck when they are about to leave the fold. Sheep feel secure from danger as long as they know the shepherd is nearby to defend them.
God prepares a table before us in front of our enemies. A shepherd will look for a flat place in a field where the sheep can lay down, eat lush grass, and rest. As the sheep eat and rest, the shepherd is ever watching for the prey that seeks to harm his sheep. The sheep eat and rest in security as long as they can look up and see their shepherd. Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light (Matthew 11:28-30-NLT).
God anoints our head with oil. A Shepherd will anoint his sheep on a hot, dry day. Oil soothes the parched skin and brings refreshment in arid eastern countries. Wounds from brier scratches or snakes bites are cared for by being dressed with oil. The Father ever seeks to bring healing, health and restoration to our parched lives.
Our cup runs over. It’s one thing to have a full supply, It’s another to have so much that your cup runs over! That’s what our shepherd desires for us as His sheep. He wants us to have more than enough! The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life (John 10:10-NLT).
God’s goodness and mercy are extended to us every day of our lives. His mercies are new every morning! Blessing chases us every day! Allow the Lord to be your shepherd. Listen for His voice. Watch for the guidance He brings through His Word. Expect Him to nurture you and care for you spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. He is the Good Shepherd!