The Lord is the good shepherd

The Verse of the Day for March 17, 2017 opens one of the most recognized passages from the Psalms:

Psalm 23:1-3 (NKJV)

[The Lord the Shepherd of His People] [A Psalm of David.] The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

In the Gospel of John, we note seven metaphors used by Jesus Christ to describe himself in order that his followers might understand to an even greater degree just who he is and what he came to do. One of the most recognized direct comparisons that his followers would recognize immediately is his reference to being “the Good shepherd,” a phrase that is used three times to show completion of a unified figure:

In John 10:11, the Lord Jesus Christ states,

“I am the good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

In the following verses the Lord also speaks of himself in this way:

John 10:14-15 (NKJV):

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

These verses indicate that the shepherd is fully committed to his sheep and consequently has their full trust. The good shepherd cares so much for his sheep that he is even willing to lay down his life for the sheep.

In thinking of the qualities of “the good shepherd,” Psalm 23 in its entirety comes to mind, as one of my favorite psalms committed to memory as a youngster and from which I continue to draw strength:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

In Psalm 23 we also find the Hebrew expression Jehovah-Raah (The Lord my Shepherd), also translated “The Lord shepherds me.” The name “Jehovah” denotes God, the Creator in relationship with His creation. Another word derived from “Raah” is “Rea,” translated “friend” or “companion.” Upon closer examination, we see God’s desire for intimacy with His people, revealed in the name Jehovah-Raah: “The Lord, my shepherd” or “The Lord, my friend.”

One of the most popular songs of worship related to the figure of the Good Shepherd is the Don Moen classic: “Like a Shepherd He Leads Us”:

How comforting to know that the Lord, indeed, is our shepherd and that he is certainly a good one.

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One Response to “The Lord is the good shepherd”

  1. Brenda Johnson Says:

    Very timely for me and encouraging. Thank you!
    luv,
    bj

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