Exodus 5:22-7:24; Matthew 18:23-19:12; Psalm 23:1-6; Proverbs 5:22-23
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
The writer of this Psalm, David, was quite familiar with sheep and their needs. He knew that sheep needed to feel secure before they could safely graze. He knew they needed calm waters for drinking and green pastures for resting.
David knew it was up to him as their shepherd to keep the flock healthy and safe.
David realized that his life was like that of one of his sheep and that he had a shepherd who cared for him–the Lord God.
“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.”
Several things are known about sheep according to Richard Cobb writing for Illini Sheep/NET:
1) “Sheep band together for protection and move away from the danger;
2) because of their instincts to stay close together sheep will move toward another sheep or a perceived friend. Often times a friend can be a person, particularly if the person feeds the sheep; and
3) by working with sheep daily you are perceived as a friend and the sheep accept you.”
Sheep also have poor depth perception–they will move out of shadowy areas into the light.
A good shepherd knows this.
David knew this.
David knew that his Good Shepherd was capable of getting him through the dark, shadowy times of his life. The Lord’s guiding staff and rod protected him. He knew his Shepherd was with him always.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
David experienced God’s lavish hospitality–he not only was provided with daily sustenance and protection, but he was celebrated and cherished by a loving Heavenly Father. In his heart David knew that we would always be in God’s favor.
Lord God, like David, I know that I have a Good Shepherd who will always care for me. I have a Shepherd who laid down his life for me to save me from the evil one and the death grip of my own sinful nature. I have a Shepherd who delights in giving me what He knows is best for me. I know that He will never lead me astray. I am at peace with my Shepherd–Jesus my Savior. Praise Him! Amen