This week, Pastor Sam and I are attending a class taught by C.J. Mahaney at the Sovereign Grace Pastors’ College. The focus of the class is the role of the pastor in relation to the flock. For the first day and a half, we looked at one particular aspect of this role, and that is the pastor as the shepherd. We learned that there is no other metaphor more central to the role of pastor than this. We were also reminded that though pastors serve as shepherds, we are needy sheep who need the guidance of a shepherd just as much as anyone else. That Shepherd, whom we all follow, is Christ, the Good Shepherd.
So I found it fitting that this mornings reading would take me to Psalm 23, perhaps the most beloved chapter in the Bible, and one having to do specifically with the Lord as our Great Shepherd. In this post, I want to draw your attention to the three main ways that Psalm 23 lays out that describe our Lord’s shepherding care toward us as His sheep. Here is Psalm 23:
1 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
1. He leads us
The first 3 verses show us that God leads and guides us through life. If we put our faith in Christ alone, He will be our loving, gentle leader through every point in life. It is not hard to see that this leading is not a domineering, forceful, assertive leadership, but one driven by grace, bringing peace and “green pastures” to the one who follows after Him.
2. He protects us
Verse 4 tells us that He not only leads us, but He protects us as we go through life’s various trials. He cares for our very lives so deeply that He will not let us perish forever. We will experience the storms of life, but in the midst of them, if our faith is in the Lord, we will be protected from evil and despair. And even if a trial may take our life, that will only prove the greatness of His protection for us, for on that day, we will stand before our Great Shepherd and rejoice that He has brought us into His eternal protection.
3. He feeds us
Verse 5 describes a banquet hall and a feast at the Lords table. God feeds us on His Word. He provides for us words of life that sustain not only our bodies, but our eternal souls. His words are sweet and they are eternally satisfying. And His desire is that we be satisfied with the rich food that He provides.
Obviously, these are very short thoughts and in no way exhaust this idea as God as our Shepherd. I encourage you to consider this passage with new eyes and think deeply about the ways in which God reveals Himself to be our Great and loving Shepherd.