"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want." Psalm 23: 1
For a follower of Christ, that is all that needs to be said.
What exactly is a shepherd? A shepherd is one who watches over sheep. Have you ever thought of the fact that sheep need tending? Cows don't have a shepherd. Horses don't have a shepherd. They all graze in the fields. Then why is it necessary for sheep to have a shepherd and not cows or horses?
One reason. Sheep are dumb! No offense to these sweet, little wooly creatures, but it's the truth. They are one of the dumbest animals alive. That is why they NEED a shepherd.
A shepherd is their PROVIDER. He finds them green pastures. Without a shepherd, a sheep will just graze in the same spot til it grazes down to the dirt. He also helps them to find still water. Sheep will not drink from running water. They need STILL streams to drink from. The Shepherd must also find still water that is not polluted or else the sheep will become ill.
A shepherd is a CARETAKER. He keeps the wool shorn from the sheep as it becomes heavy. Otherwise, the sheep will become so weighted down, it can hardly move. It can also cause the sheep to fall and be unable to right itself. Not to mention the fact that a heavy coat of wool is a haven for insects and parasites that will infest the sheep if it is not taken care of by the shepherd.
A shepherd is a GUIDE. He leads the sheep where it needs to go. A sheep will follow another sheep right off the edge of a cliff. A shepherd will direct the sheep along the path that is best.
A shepherd is a PROTECTOR. Sheep are prey to many wild animals and they do not have any defense. They do not have sharp teeth or claws. They are totally dependent upon the shepherd for their protection. That is why a shepherd must watch his sheep even at night. The wolves and coyotes will come to attack the sheep in the dark but a watchful shepherd will protect his sheep.
A shepherd LOVES his sheep. He calls them by name. They come to know his voice and will follow him when he calls. He knows exactly how many he has and if one goes astray, he will go and find it, knowing that it will probably perish without him.
Yes, a shepherd knows his sheep. He knows their needs and he is ever watchful.
David was a shepherd boy. He understood the life of a shepherd and the nature of sheep. Therefore, he penned these words:
The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. [He will provide everything I need. I can depend upon Him.]
He causes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. [He knows my needs and He provides for me].
He restores my soul. [He sees that I get the needed rest. He knows my limitations.]
He leads me along the right path for his name's sake. [He knows the way because He has been down this road before. He will not lead me where I should not go. I can trust where He takes me.]
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me. [Sometimes the road leads through shadowed valleys. But the sheep knows that his Master is with him even in the dark and He will protect him and never leave him. He trusts his shepherd no matter where the road leads.]
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. [With the rod the shepherd guides the sheep where he should go. With the staff, he pulls him back from danger.]
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. [Shepherd will always provide for his sheep and keep watch over them, protecting them from the enemy.]
You annoint my head with oil, my cup runneth over. [Oil was used to soothe a sheep who was diseased or had become infected through parasites. The shepherd tenderly cared for his sheep, blessing them and caring for them with tenderness on a daily basis.]
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. [With God as his shepherd, David knew that he was in the best hands possible and he desired nothing more than to be in the presence of the Lord forever and ever!]
I hope as you read this 23rd Psalm from now on, it will take on new meaning to you. Realize today that God is YOUR shepherd and YOU are his sheep. He wants you to depend totally upon Him for your Protection, your Provision and your Plans for the future.
1 day ago