It is one of clearest illustrations of God’s love for us in all of Scripture –God as our shepherd. Consider a brief overview of Psalm 23:1-3:
Who is God called? He is called the Lord. “The Lord…” In the original Hebrew language we are given the name of God here, YHWH, Jehovah God. It is name given for God in other places spelled out as in Exodus 3:13-14, “I AM that I AM.” God has no beginning and no end, He just is! Significant to this name of God is that it denotes relationship and more specifically the relationship that He is in and desires with His people. It speaks directly to the fact that we can always rely on His being there for us. What a special thought indeed!
How is God described? “The Lord is my shepherd…” God is described as our shepherd. Shepherds throughout the Bible are pictured as those who lead and protect, who feed and care for all who are in their flock. First, God is the One we can always rely on and secondly, God is dependable to lead us where we need to go.
What does God do? The rest of the wonderful Psalm answers this question. We shall not be in want because of what God provides for us. He provides peace in our lives as He leads us beside still waters. He puts aspects of our lives that feel broken back together as He restores our souls. He alone provides our lives with purpose and direction as He leads us down paths of righteousness for His names’ sake.
In John 10:27, Jesus said this, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Jesus is the I AM (John 8:58). He is the all-existent One with no beginning and no end (Revelation 1:8). Jesus describes Himself as the good shepherd who gives His life for the sheep (John 10:11). What does Jesus do as our shepherd? Yes, my friend, the answers are all the same as those examined above from Psalm 23. Jesus provides peace for our lives (John 14:27; John 16:33). Jesus puts pieces of our lives that feel broken back together, providing rest (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus alone gives life purpose and direction as He leads us down paths of righteousness for His names’ sake (Romans 6:15-23).
Truly, as the song says, “Following Jesus I know I’m right!” Not because of anything deserved, but keeping an eye on Jesus who provides all we need in this life, and provides us through obedient faith, hope of eternal life with Him (1 John 2:25; 5:11-13).