In the Name of the Father, and of the (+) Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even 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.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want."
In this one title, shepherd, is gathered together almost all the good and comforting things that we can say about God. This metaphor is one of the most beautiful and comforting and yet most common of all in Scripture. When it compares the Divine Majesty to a pious, faithful, or as Christ Himself says, a “good shepherd”, it is an image that directs our focus to the Gospel.
And by calling the LORD our shepherd it tells us that we are sheep who need a shepherd. It’s a confession of our sin and inability to save ourselves. It’s a confession that we are saved by the Shepherd’s grace and mercy alone because a sheep must live entirely by its shepherd’s help, protection, and care.
Sheep are a good picture of sinners because like sheep we are helpless and unable to save ourselves. A sheep is a poor, weak, simple little beast that can neither feed nor rule itself, nor find the right way, nor protect itself against any kind of danger or misfortune. Moreover, it is by nature timid, shy, and likely to go astray. When it does go a bit astray and leaves its shepherd, it is unable to find its way back to him; indeed, it merely runs farther away from him. In other words, a sheep is a perfect picture of us because in our sin, we wander away from the Good Shepherd and put ourselves into all kinds of physical and spiritual danger. Wandering away and not following the Shepherd is a description of us rejecting the Shepherd’s voice – that is, His Word. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him (The Good Shepherd) the iniquity of us all." (Isa. 53)
When you say, “The Lord is my shepherd,” no proper grounds are left for you to trust in yourself…it is to confess that He alone can save you from your wretched condition.
It is the function of a faithful shepherd to supply his sheep with good pasture and other related things, and also to keep them from suffering harm. Consider the Bible's descriptions of David killing lions and bears which is a picture of Christ defeating sin, death, and the devil for us.
A good shepherd takes good care not to lose any of his sheep. But if one of them should go astray, he goes after it, seeks it, and returns with it (Luke 15:4). He looks after the young, the weak and the sick very carefully, waits on them, lifts them up and carries them in his arms (Is. 40:11) until they are grown and are strong and well. If the Lord is your Shepherd, then of course, you shall not want. You lack nothing! All the necessities of this life are provided for you – physical and spiritual.
Chiefly, however, the Psalm speaks of the spiritual possessions and gifts that God’s Word provides you.So, you can confess: The Lord, who rules all the ends of the earth with His power, the fountain of eternal good, is my Shepherd and Guardian. So long as I have Him, I am in want of no blessing; the riches of His fullness most completely replenish and satisfy me. The rest of the Psalm expands on this beautiful theme.
Let us pray:
Lord God, heavenly Father, in your fatherly goodness you have been mindful of us poor, miserable sinners and have given your beloved Son to be our Shepherd, not only to nourish us by his Word but also to defend us from sin, death and the devil. Pour out your Holy Spirit on us so that as our Shepherd knows us and provides for us in every affliction, we also may know him, and trusting in him, seek help and comfort in him, listen to his voice and obtain eternal salvation; through your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.
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