The Lord is my Shepherd –

By Reverend Ron Purkey
Guest columnist

Read: Psalm 23:1-6

By Reverend Ron Purkey

“The God of peace, who raised our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, from the dead, by the blood of the everlasting covenant, has made you perfect in every good work to do his will, doing in you that which is well pleasing in his eyes, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Hebrews 13:20-21 informs us that today Jesus is the great shepherd who takes care of the sheep. We are his sheep, and as we follow him he serves us. Jesus didn’t just die for us; he is risen and lives for us. He is the great shepherd, the great high priest. “I shall lack nothing” is the theme of Psalm 23. “I shall lack nothing” for: rest and refreshment” (verse 2), “I shall lack nothing” for: restoration and righteousness (verse 3), “ I will not want for: protection in trouble (verse 4), “I will not want” for: provision in the wilderness (verse 5), and “I will not want” for: a house where go to the end of the day (verse 6).

Of course, the image here is of the Oriental Shepherd and his flock. Such a shepherd knows each sheep by name. The shepherd goes ahead of the sheep and makes sure they are not walking in danger (John 10:27-28). The sheep never have to worry when they follow the shepherd, for he will protect them and provide for them. Even when they pass through a dangerous valley (verse 4), the shepherd is with them, and beyond the valley is the house of rest. At the end of the day, the shepherd brings the flock back to the fold and stands by the open door to examine each one as they enter. If he sees one that is bruised or tired, he puts refreshing oil on it to soothe and heal it, and gives it cool water to drink. How kind our shepherd is to take care of us.

Each of the OT names for God are seen in this psalm: Jehovah-jireh, “The Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:13-14); Jehovah-Rapha, “The Lord will heal or restore” (Exodus 15:26); Jehovah-Shalom, “The Lord our peace” (Judges 6:24); Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “The Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6); Jehovah-Shammah, “The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35); Jehovah-Nissi, “The Lord our Banner” (Exodus 17:8-15); and Jehovah-Raah, “The Lord my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ is for his sheep all that they need. As the little child said misquoting this psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd – what more could you ask for?”

Submit to the “chief shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20), our Lord Jesus. He lays down his life for his sheep (see John 10:11), and through his wounds we are healed (see 1 Peter 2:24). If you have strayed, turn back to him (1 Peter 2:25), for he knows his sheep, and they know him (see John 10:14). He will welcome you.

Read Ron Purkey’s free Bible study outlines at Purkey has been an ordained Baptist pastor for 50 years.

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