The Great, Good Shepherd
Gracious Lord, I ask that You make the familiar words of the psalmist which I will soon read take wing in my heart today.
Read PSALM 23:1-6
 A psalm of David.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Jesus is, indeed, our greatest and best shepherd.
Charles Spurgeon more than a century ago pointed out that Psalm 23 catches flame as we notice its position following Psalm 22, the Psalm of the Cross. When there are no still waters, no green pastures, no oil of gladness at the feast, and after we have said: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” then we discover in the pit of our lives: “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Notice four quick things about this discovery:
a) The personal pronoun is used 17 times. “…my shepherd,” David does not write: “I believe there is a Shepherd of the world at large.” This shepherd is his own (GaL. 2:20).
b) “…I shall not want (1).” In him we lack nothing of what we need. The promise is not that we get everything we want; it is that God is supplying what we need: daily bread, forgiveness, daily light for our steps, eternal companionship, delight, wonder and ultimate joy. This is enough.
) He leads us through the path of death and its shadow. He is with us when our tranquil world is shattered, when our dreams are drained of light. This is his path just as much as the smooth places. Notice here the change in language: David is no longer speaking about the shepherd, but with direct intimacy: “…you are with me.” What a profound pronoun is “with.” The shepherd is no longer out front, but beside us as a companion; he’s not just walking in a dark valley, but through it and beyond.
d) Take this to heart: Every valley ends for the Christian. It won’t go on forever, but will come out onto a restful place where the table is set, our enemies are defeated, where joy is overflowing at the wedding banquet. Homecoming! What a day!
Put down this meditation and ask God to show you the times when he drew near you and it became “personal pronoun religion.” Then, praise him!
Lord, teach me to receive You as my good shepherd, protecting me, abiding with me, preparing a feast for me. I want to feel these words: With You I lack nothing.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2024 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.