The Good Shepherd is eternal
Twenty five years ago when I was in Israel, I had the opportunity to visit many places that still come to my remembrance as I read about them in the Bible. Whenever I read the 23rd Psalm, I always think of the place where we stood looking, down into that large deep valley. Its vastness was so deep that you could see shadows everywhere as you gazed down into the deep valley below.
In the fourth verse David wrote, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” David must have walked through that great valley I thought, or one like it will all its shadows lingering down through the steep cliffs. When he wrote this 23rd Psalm, he knew that God was with him everywhere he went.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” David spent his younger years leading sheep to greener pastures and keeping them safe from danger. For David, using the shepherd as an illustration was perfectly natural. Verse one was David’s way of saying “the Lord provides for me and protects me from harm.”
In writing ‘The Lord is,” David was referring to the God who was, the God who is, and the God who will always be. Our healer, our provider, the peacemaker, and our spiritual warrior.
That is why Davis describes God as a personal savior in calling Him “my shepherd”. The good Shepherd walks the field with His sheep, taking care of their needs. Whatever the circumstances, David had learned to want for nothing (verse one). When the lion reared against David, God protected him. When the bear came to devour him, God shielded him. When Goliath laughed at the young boy with a slingshot and stones, God gave David power to defeat him. Whatever trials we face, like David, God helps us to find rest refreshment leading us to “green pasture” and “still waters” (verse two).
Where we stray, God pulls us back into his flock, giving us another chance at a relationship with Him (verse three). “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths or righteousness For His name’s sake.” There is nothing we can do that is too bad for God to forgive “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:9.
David had no fear as he walked “through the valley of the shadow of death” verse four. He knew God would be with him to protect him.
“You anoint my head with oil” verse five could refer to the anointing of David, but also could refer to oil shepherds used to put on the cuts that sheep would get from the rock and brambles in the fields. The oil kept out parasites and infection. When we find ourselves cut and bruised, we can let Jesus pour His anointing oil on us to protect us.
David was confident that God’s goodness and mercy would “follow me all the days of my life” verse six.
Jesus also used the shepherd analogy when He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives us His life for the sheep” John 10:11.
We need to ask ourselves. “Do I know the Good Shepherd, and am I known by Him?” See John 10:14,15 “I am the good shepherd; and I know my sheep, and am known by my own. As the Father, knows me even so I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
We can have the confidence that David had, knowing that we will spend eternity in heaven living in the green pastures with the Good Shepherd taking care of our every need for eternity. From my heart.