I am joining in with Kerri of A Simple Princess for week two of her series on Finding Peace in Psalm 23. Today, we are discussing “the Shepherd”. Kerri asks us to describe what/who a Shepherd is and how this relationship applies to the life of David and to us.
The LORD is my shepherd. (Psalm 23:1a)
What is a Shepherd?
The dictionary defines a shepherd as,
a person who tends and rears sheep (n) or
to guide or direct in a particular direction (v).
Sheep are naturally very gentle, but this makes them prey to many carnivorous animals. Sheep need a shepherd to help keep them safe and to watch over them. They are usually not aware of impending danger. As sheep eat grass they tend to wander from place to place looking for greener pastures, without really paying attention to where they’re going. The shepherd’s job is to keep the sheep in a safe area where they can eat and be safe from danger.
David was a shepherd. As a young boy, he spent the majority of his life in the fields, looking after His father’s sheep. It was his responsibility to make sure the sheep remained safe from predators and didn’t wander off. I can imagine that David was often lonely, with no one to talk to besides sheep and lambs. But David used his time wisely, cultivating his relationship with the LORD by playing the harp and singing songs. The majority of the Psalms were written by David.
David was a man after God’s own heart.
“I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”
The LORD is MY Shepherd.
David’s prayer in Psalm 23 was personal. He related to God as the Chief Shepherd over his life, because he likened it to his own time as a shepherd out in the fields. To David, his own life was like that of a sheep, one that needed protection, guidance and even the disciple of the hand of the shepherd from time to time. I too can relate to being a sheep in need of shepherding. I can tend to wander off the path from time to time. It’s the gentle, leading hand of the Good Shepherd that always bring me safely back to pasture.
The relationship between that of a shepherd and sheep is a very intimate one. Because they spend so much time together, the sheep have come to trust the hand of the shepherd to safely lead them. The shepherd know the sheep by name and the sheep respond to the voice of the shepherd.
I want to know the voice of the one who leads me and guides me.
I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (John 10:14; 27)
The LORD is my shepherd. He isn’t just a shepherd. He is mine. And I am His. I am a sheep in His pasture. And He is the Good Shepherd who watches over me.