the good shepherd

THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. – Psalm 23:1 (AMP)

I grew up on a farm and I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a sheep trying to defend itself. Sheep are totally defenceless.  If they are under attack, they hardly do anything; they do not run fast nor fight the predator, but they’ll just stand helpless.  Sheep are totally dependent on their shepherd to protect and guide them.  I’ve also never seen a good shepherd deliberately leading his sheep into harm’s way or using his rod to punish the sheep.  I love the fact that the Bible likens us to sheep.  We are the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3) and He is our good Shepherd (John 10:11). 

In Psalm 23 we get a clear picture of God’s goodness and his heart for us. I want you to make it personal when you read it.   See yourself as a sheep on a journey and Jesus as YOUR good and faithful Shepherd who leads you.  Throughout this Psalm you will note that everything the Shepherd does is good… HE leads you to still and restful waters, HE refreshes and restores your life, and HE prepares a table before you.  Because He is your Shepherd you will not lack anything and your cup will run over.  There will always be more than enough. Only goodness, mercy and unfailing love will follow you all the days of your life.  You can only expect good things from your good Shepherd.  David says, “What would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13).

When it comes to the sheep going through a valley it does not say that He takes the sheep there.  No, it says, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”  Meaning that the sheep did not follow the Shepherd and ended up in a valley, but even when the sheep goes through the valley, the Shepherd is still good and does not leave the sheep helpless.  He is there and his rod is there to guide and comfort us.  When you find yourself in a valley, even there you will have no fear because Jesus is right next to you.  It is a good Shepherd’s heart to lead the sheep out of the valley to fresh green pastures and restful waters.

Our job as sheep is just to follow our Shepherd.  The worst you can do is to try and be strong and follow your own way.  If we were able to live this life and make it in our own strength, then we would not have been compared to sheep in the Bible.  We are called sheep for a reason.  We need to realise how weak we are and how strong He is.  He is able and mighty to save us and if we allow Him, he will take us to that place that we will never reach by trying on our own. I can clearly see His heart for us – that we will experience His goodness in every step we take in this journey.

O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8