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The Lord is My Satisfaction:: 2


“The LORD is my shepherd.” (Psalm 23:1)

David wrote Psalm 23 from his own experience as a shepherd boy on the hillsides of Judea. In this famous opening line, David used the word LORD, the designation for Yahweh, to point to the self-sufficiency of God. It is out of God’s self-sufficiency that He supplies our needs. The word is also personal, “my” shepherd, versus the more distant designation of king or deliverer; or the more impersonal rock or shield. The pronoun is singular, so personal that David doesn’t even mention other sheep.

In Bible times, the shepherd lived with the flock and was everything to the flock. The shepherd was guide, physician, provider and protector. Being a shepherd was the lowest of all work. No one would ever aspire or choose to be a shepherd, yet God has chosen this role for us. (cf. John 10:1-16) If the Lord is my shepherd, I know something about his character and understand something of his ability. Without a doubt, the work of the shepherd was difficult. The “Shepherd’s Creed,” taken from Genesis 31:38-40, gives us an idea of what a shepherd’s job description might look like.

“For twenty years I have been with you, caring for your flocks. In all that time your sheep and goats never miscarried. In all those years I never used a single ram of yours for food. If any were attacked and killed by wild animals, I never showed you the carcass and asked you to reduce the count of your flock. No, I took the loss myself! You made me pay for every stolen animal, whether it was taken in broad daylight or in the dark of night. I worked for you through the scorching heat of the day and through cold and sleepless nights. 41Yes, for twenty years I slaved in your house! I worked for fourteen years earning your two daughters, and then six more years for your flock. And you changed my wages ten times!”

Who is your shepherd? Who do you look to? A friend? A family member? A co-worker? A pastor or counselor? While others play a vital role in our lives, don’t forget that other sheep cannot take the place of the good shepherd.

So what do we know about sheep? Sheep lack a sense of direction. They are not like cats and dogs who can find their way home. They get lost easily. Sheep are also virtually defenseless. They don’t have claws or sharp teeth, neither do they possess speed or an acute sense of smell or hearing. They can’t run and they can’t swim. Sheep can’t even muster a growl! Which makes them timid and easily frightened. By nature they are unclean animals in the sense that they don’t clean themselves. They cannot find their own food source and will eat bad things, wrong things, and poisonous things. Sheep are subject group think and have a strong “herd mentality.” Sheep simply cannot care for themselves. They require more attention and care than any other class of livestock. It is not incidental or accidental that David used the shepherd metaphor to describe God. He’s not just the Shepherd of our lives, we are the sheep of His pasture, resembling in more ways than one the same characteristics of the real ones.

Categories : Psalm 23


  1. Sandy says:

    Thanks for your insight. I did, however, read @ sheep 101, that sheep do have good eyesight and hearing. But are totally defenseless. They will follow any sheep even into danger because they have such a strong herd mentality and they are not smart. They need a shepherd.
    So glad I have the Chief Shepherd leading me.

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