The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.Psalm 23:1
Shepherds are interesting people. The sole duty of a shepherd was to protect the sheep and provide for them. Sheep can be kind of “stupid”. They wander off when left to their own. Have you seen the picture of a shepherd with a lamb on their shoulders? There are lots of stories surrounding this and although we cannot verify some of these stories, we can say something for sure. A sheep is not going to wander off if they are on the shepherd’s shoulders. That sheep is also going to get really good at hearing the shepherd’s voice. When he is put back on the ground, he will not as likely run off. Does this sound a little like human beings? It should. God is our shepherd. We as human beings tend to have moments of “stupidity”. We tend to run off on our own. But the more that I spend time with The Shepherd, the more I recognize His voice, and the less likely I will be to run off.
There are two different possible spellings for this name, and I have included both. They mean the same thing. It means to tend or to pasture. Psalm 23 is a beautiful picture of what God does for us. I think that I am going to do a blog series on this chapter later on, because it is so rich and I couldn’t possibly get it all into one blog post. The LORD protects, provides, directs, leads, and cares for His people. This involves tenderness, security, and provision.
If you have children you have probably experienced what happens in the middle of a storm. Children are frightened. They look to their parents for what to do and how to respond. I remember one day I was taking care of my oldest niece and nephew. We were about 15 minutes from home and the sky started to get kind of dark. I said that we needed to head home to beat the storm. We pulled into town as the sirens were being set off. I explained calmly that when we pulled up to the house that the kids needed to get out immediately and run to the house. As soon as I unlocked the door, they needed to run to the basement. We moved very quickly to the basement and we were safe, but my niece and nephew were FREAKING out. I stayed calm, even though inside I thought I would scream. It took just a few moments to calm them down, because they saw how I was responding and they knew they could trust me to take care of them.
There is a song from the early 90s that says, “Sometimes He calms the storm, but other times He calms His child.” How great is that! This is the exact picture of what I experienced that day. We can look to God and since we know that we can trust Him, we feel His calmness. He will do an even better job of keeping us safe, than I could ever dream of with my nieces and nephews. I love my nieces and nephews more than myself and would do anything that I could to provide for them and protect them. I also recognize that in my humanness, I could never protect them from everything. But, God can! He is the ultimate Shepherd. He can do way beyond what we can do!
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.John 10:11-12
Jesus tells us that HE is the Good Shepherd. He came to earth with the purpose of giving His life for us. The enemy attacks and He took death for us. That is how much He loves us. He gave up the glory of Heaven to come to earth. He came to earth knowing how it would end. He also came knowing that many people would still reject Him. If you were the only person on earth, He still would have come. That is Good News!