Ever since I can remember, this picture has hung above my bed in my room. It has always been special to me, but not until recently did I really pinpoint why it was so special. Then it hit me. To most, it’s just a picture of a girl with her precious goat-friend sleeping in a bed of hay. To me, it’s a picture of how Jesus, my Shepherd, holds me, His precious lamb-child (minus the sleeping part, obviously).
All throughout Scripture, Jesus is described as the Good Shepherd. Passages like Isaiah 53:7, John 10:1-30, 1 Peter 2:25 and 5:4, and many of the Psalms all refer to Jesus as the Shepherd of His sheep – us. Probably the clearest Old Testament picture of this is found in Psalm 23 – the beautiful picture of Jesus, my Shepherd.
The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads 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 You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
I recently listened to a sermon that encouraged me to claim a Psalm as my “psalm-of-the-year”. The preacher challenged us to not just read it, but write out what that Psalm means to us. Meditate on it. Dissect it, so-to-speak. Memorize it. Apply it to everyday life. I chose Psalm 23, and when I followed his challenge, it changed how I viewed this Psalm and my God.
Psalm 23 – through my eyes
The LORD; the Most High God; the All-Sufficient, All-Powerful, never-ending, never-failing One; the Creator of the universe; Jesus, the Messiah; this GOD is my Shepherd. He is my Guide, my Provider, my Protector, my Comforter, my Savior, my Safety. Without Him, I have nothing and am nothing. Because of Who He is, I shall not want. Literally, everything I could ever need is taken care of. I lack nothing.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He gives me only the best, what is good and safe for me. He leads me beside the still waters where I have a peaceful place of rest away from all terrors and threats.
He restores my soul. I was a mess, beyond repair, but He brought me back to life. He healed me. He cleansed me and made me whole because He loves me.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. He instructs me and guides me to do the right things. And when I obey and follow, people see how Great my Shepherd is and praise His name.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; the valley of deep darkness; even though I can’t see in front of me and am faced with the terrors of life, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. There is nothing to be afraid of when He is here. He’s my Shepherd and will take care of me, no matter what happens.
Your rod, what You use to correct me, and Your staff, what You use to protect me from danger and also to rescue me, they comfort me. The many times I am wrong, You still lovingly rescue me and bring me back to the flock. I am still one of Your sheep!
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You still provide abundantly, even with enemies and hardships all around. It shows how much You care and and just how good You are.
You anoint my head with oil. This is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and presence of God Himself!
My cup runs over. I have more than enough.
I set my hope on this being truth: surely and with certainty, only goodness and mercy – Your steadfast, never-ending love – shall follow me all the days of my temporal, fleeting life here on earth. But I know this is true, because You promised it: I will dwell in the house of the LORD, my Good Shepherd, forever.*
*If you have never placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your only hope for eternity with God, then this statement is not true of you. I ask you, friend. Please be saved! Please surrender your life to the One who wants you to know Him; to know His voice. It is the best decision you will ever make in your life, and I promise, you will not regret it. Jesus wants to be your Shepherd too. Will you accept Him?
*For those who are saved: I throw out the challenge to you! Pick a Psalm. Study it. Pray over it. Make it yours. And praise our wonderful God, Who isn’t just the Shepherd. He is MY Shepherd and yours as well.
I would love to hear what Psalms you pick and what you are learning! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook! You can also reach me through The Beautiful Spirit Facebook page.