There are certain things in life that are hard to put into words. This could be because language is inadequate to describe this event, or because we lack the proper vocabulary to adequately describe this event. For instance when a man named Dr. Henry Gibbons set out to describe a kiss he said it was, “The anatomical juxtaposition of two orbicularis oris muscles in a state of contraction.” Next time you want a kiss from your spouse use this definition and see if it’s as romantic as it sounds.
If we were to try to describe our relationship with Jesus, it would probably fall just as short as this definition of a kiss did. We would probably use words like friend, companion, Savior, and Lord. However, in the end we would probably feel we had not done this amazing relationship justice. I know this is how I feel most mornings when I seek to spend time praising God in my prayers. I usually end up saying something like, “Father, I wish I was better able to praise you.” Sometimes it’s just hard to convey with words what we feel in our hearts. In writing the 23rd Psalm, King David did a pretty good job of describing our relationship with God.
Before David ever stood before the giant Goliath and declared that the Lord would give him victory, David had been a shepherd over his father’s sheep (1 Sam 16:10-11, 17:34). David had spent his young formative years watching, protecting, leading, and caring for sheep. As David reflected on how God had taken care of him in his life, it reminded him of the way he had taken care of the sheep.
This led him to conclude that the Lord was his shepherd and everything else about his relationship with God flowed out of that. This in fact is the key phrase in the 23rd Psalm. This is where it all has to start. If the Lord is my shepherd then every promise and blessing in this psalm are mine to claim. However, if the Lord is not my shepherd, then none of the promises or blessings in this psalm are mine to claim.
From the New Testament we find several passages that describe Jesus as a Shepherd.
In John 10 Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
In Hebrews 13:20 Jesus is the Great Shepherd.
In 1 Peter 5:4 Jesus is described as the Head Shepherd. R
In Revelation 7:17 Jesus is described as the Lamb who is the Shepherd that leads us to life giving water.
When we consider what these verses teach in light of the 23rd Psalm’s key phrase, we can conclude that everything starts by trusting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Jesus is the Lord that is the shepherd. For the Jesus to be my shepherd I must have made the choice to believe in Him and surrender control of my life to Him. Once I’ve done this, then I can be sure that everything else in this Psalm is for me. This week I’m going to blog about what it means for the Lord to be our shepherd from the 23rd Psalm.
For further study read Psalm 23.
What are some of the promises given to those who have the Lord as their shepherd?
In what ways does the Lord lead His sheep?
Why do those who have the Lord as their shepherd fear no evil?
What good things does the Lord do for His sheep?