“The Lord is my Shepherd…” Psalm 23:1
In the most famous Psalm, the shepherd-turned-king, David, makes a bold statement: God’s my Shepherd. This particular Psalm of praise seems to lay the tender framework of a face-to-face relationship with God. The next few weeks, we’ll spend some time together digging into the Psalm 23, looking into what I believe is a roadmap to intimacy with Jesus.
If we start at the beginning, standing right next to King David, we can hear his sacred declaration. This is step one, and the most important step, to following God: knowing who He really is (see also John 17:3). According to David, God was his shepherd. But what exactly does that mean? What does it take for a man who grew up shepherding sheep to step into the identity of the care-receiver and give all authority to Another?
To understand this statement better, let’s talk about the kind of shepherd David was.
“David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him.” 1 Samuel 17:34-35
Take a moment to think about that. David was such a good shepherd that if any animal, no matter how dangerous, attacked his sheep, he would literally chase after it, kill it, and rescue his beloved sheep. Now that is a high standard of shepherding.
If David would risk his life to save even a single sheep, then we can assume he believed God would do the same. When he calls God his Shepherd, he’s paying God the highest compliment. He’s saying “I know the lengths my God will go to protect me. I am safe in His care.”
Psalm 23 begins with an identity revelation about God. I think we all need one of those. We all need to take a breath and check in on our belief system. Odds are, God’s better than we believe.
He is a care-taker. It is His joy to bestow His kindness on His sheep (that’s you and me). He has and will continue to risk all of Himself to rescue us. He is trustworthy.
The Lord is my Shepherd. He’s good. He’s better than we think!