The most famous of Psalms has been quoted so many times among believers and unbelievers alike if that’s believable? Those who maybe never read a Bible before will know these words and have most likely heard them before.
Psalm 23:1-6 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
The word of “shepherd” is mentioned throughout the Bible occurs 43 times in 40 verses in the KJV (depending on which version) and the other being “shepherds”occurs 38 times in 33 verses in the KJV (again depending on which version). David the son of Jesse was a shepherd before becoming king of Israel. Abel was the first shepherd mentioned in Genesis, Abraham keep sheep, we’re also told in the New Testament about the shepherds in the field in the gospel of Luke and that the Holy Spirit raises up overseers (elders) to shepherd the flock of God.
The LORD God refers to Himself as the Shepherd in the Old Testament, as the God who will look over His people, help guide them and protect them. There’s no denying that the LORD is the Shepherd for all believers, we are brought to the still waters and fed. He fights for us (Exodus 14:14-16, Deuteronomy 3:22, Romans 12:19) and delivers us from our enemies.
Psalm 80:1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.
Psalm 95:7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
Only the LORD of Host dwells between the cherubims as we are continually told in Old Testament scriptures when it speaks of Him filling the Tabernacle with His glory. And here in Psalm 80:1 we see the gentleness of our God with a soft touch He leads Israel as well as the rest of His flock (Gentile believers) pointing back to Psalm 23. What a wonderful God we serve.
Ezekiel 34:30-31 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.
As believers, we also have the name of being “His sheep” and His people. Those who will follow our Lord through the green pastures no matter where He takes us.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD
How can we forget those wonderful passages from the Lord Jesus in the gospel of John. The Lord Jesus is teaching the people that the devil only comes to steal, kill and destroy; but Christ in His loving mercy shows is the contrast between those who don’t care for us because they are paid strangers doing a job, and Himself who would risk His life for us and He did He died on that rugged cross for us guilty sinners.
The Lord Jesus calls each one of us by name because He knows us intimately (John 10:3) but to the one who would try to climb in another way without going to Christ is a robber (John 10:1) that’s because salvation is only found by coming to Jesus Christ who is The Door of the sheepfold.
John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
The Lord Jesus continues to preach to the people explaining to them that all those who came before are thieves and a robbers. Just as we see today those people who would try to place themselves in a position of where Christ alone stands (John 10:8-9). Only God can give life no created creature who is lesser than God can give life, God gives life and spiritual life (eternal life), and it’s in this truth we see the Lord Jesus is God as He says in the next verse.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
He came to give abundant life which is beyond the reaches of death, all believers are privileged beyond our wildest dreams to have this, we have been given something we don’t deserve and never will. The gift of eternal life is for all those who would come to Christ for the forgiveness of sins. The Lord Jesus then applies one of the names (I AM) God mentions in the Old Testament.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
Just as God states in the Old Testament He is the Shepherd of His people always guiding them through this fallen world into glory. And the Lord Jesus is the same Almighty God as He makes this statement.
John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
THE CHIEF SHEPHERD
The apostle Peter also mentions in the general epistles how the Lord Jesus is the Chief Shepherd, this title can only be attributed to God alone. This was in teaching the assembly of believers about local church order how younger men should submit themselves to the elders. In this Peter addresses the elders telling them that it’s God’s flock and not to lord over God’s heritage.
1 Peter 5:1-4 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
The Chief Shepherd mentioned is Christ Jesus, if the flock of God belongs to God and the Chief Shepherd of that flock is the Lord Jesus then Jesus Christ is God. I hope you’ve enjoyed this reading, God bless.