The names of Jesus in the Book of Revelation – Part 30
OT Prophecies of Jesus as our shepherd. The Shepherd Psalm Ps 23
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” (Ps 23:1) This Psalm (cf Ps 16:9-11) describes the joy of the total security that God’s faithful care provides. David speaks of himself and of the life he enjoys by the gracious provision and care of God.
This psalm, conceived in the mind of the Lord and inspired by the Holy Spirit, expresses His concern and diligent care for those who follow Him. They are the cherished objects of His divine love. He cares for each of them as a father cares for his children and as a shepherd for his sheep.
In describing the Lord as a shepherd, David wrote his own experience because he had spent his early years caring for sheep (1 Samuel 16:10, 11). Sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection. The New Testament calls Jesus the good Shepherd (John 10:11); the great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20); and the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). As the Lord is the good Shepherd, so we are His sheep, not frightened, passive animals, but obedient followers, wise enough to follow one who will lead us in the right places and in right ways. This psalm does not focus on the animal-like qualities of sheep, but on the discipleship qualities of those who follow. When you recognise the good Shepherd, follow him!
Using a metaphor frequently found in the OT, God compares Himself to a shepherd in order to illustrate His great love for His people. The Lord Jesus Himself adopted the same metaphor to express His relationship to His people (John 10:11-16; cf. Heb 13:20; 1 Pet 5:4; Rev 7:17). Two truths are emphasised here: (1) God, through Christ and by the Holy Spirit, is so concerned about each of His children that He desires to love, care for, protect, “guide and be near that child, just as a good shepherd does for his own sheep.
(2) Believers are the Lord’s sheep. We belong to Him and are the special objects of His affection and attention. Though “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Is 53:6), the Lord has redeemed us with His shed blood (1 Pet 1:18-19), and we now belong to Him. As His sheep we can claim the promises of this psalm when we respond to His voice and follow Him.
“I shall not want.” To “not want,” means both (1) that “I will not lack anything necessary for God’s will to be accomplished in my life” (see 3 John 2), and (2) that “I will be content in the Good Shepherd’s provision and care of my life, even in times of personal hardship, because I trust in His love and His commitment to me” (cf. John 10:11; PhiI 4:11-13).
“He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Ps 23:2,3).
Because of the presence and nearness of the Shepherd I can “lie down” in peace, free from all fear. The Holy Spirit as my Comforter, Counselor and Helper communicates Christ’s shepherdly care and presence to me (John 14-:16-18; cf. 2 Tim ‘1:7). (1) My confident rest in His presence will be experienced “in green pastures,” i.e., in Jesus and the Word of God, which are necessary for an abundant life (John 6:32-35,63; 8:31; 10:9; 15:7).
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