The Lord is my shepherd . . . (Psalm 23:1)
Psalm 23, one of the most well known and best loved passages in all the Scriptures, begins with the words, “The Lord is my shepherd.” This truth is frequently quoted and provides the foundation upon which many funerals and memorials have been built, as well as many sermons intended to encourage and warm hearts. It is one thing to know that God is a shepherd; it is another thing altogether to understand that He is MY shepherd. This is where we rise above the level of a powerful proclamation and make it profoundly personal.
To know that God is my shepherd is to know that my every need will be met. You see, the Shepherd cares for His sheep, protects His sheep, leads His sheep, and guides His sheep . . . and He does all that for me because He is my shepherd. And if you have believed in your heart and confessed with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, He is your shepherd too!
The intimacy this one statement describes is as instructive for us as it is inspiring. No one knew this “my shepherd” truth better than King David, who penned the psalm. David had experienced the providential care of his Shepherd, whether he was conquering the giant Goliath or being conquered by his sin with Bathsheba. He experienced refuge with his Shepherd. He experienced refreshment with his Shepherd. He experienced repentance with his Shepherd. He experienced restoration with his Shepherd. When David found himself in his darkest moments, walking through a variety of grim, gloomy valleys, including the valley of the shadow of death, he knew his Shepherd was not only caring for him, He was carrying David most of the way.
I hope you will take a few moments today to meditate on the almost incomprehensible truth that the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, He who holds all the planets in their orbits and sustains all life, has committed to being your personal Shepherd. The Good Shepherd who walked on the water is for you. The Good Shepherd who calmed the storm is with you. The Good Shepherd who conquered demons is in you. Jesus spoke of the shepherd who left the 99 sheep to go in search of the one that was lost. It doesn’t get more personal than that!
To be sure, a shepherd cares for the entire flock of sheep, but the good Shepherd cares for all of His sheep individually. The next time you wander off course, let that truth help you course-correct. You can do that by looking at the glorious promise contained in God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible Word and making it personal.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!