My shepherd. Who is my shepherd? Is it Christ? Is it the very one spoken of in God's word? Is He the One I've entrusted the keeping of my soul to? I pray it be so, for there is none other who has ever made such promises to me as has He, nor will there ever be! Let's take a look at some of those promises, and of what it means to be a "shepherd". Together, let's read Psalm 23, and then we'll talk about what is really being said here, by the Holy Spirit (who is our teacher). See John 14:26.
Psalm 23 <A Psalm of David.>
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. (Psalm 23:1-6 KJV)
Such a wonderful promise! Just knowing, that whether life is grand, or we happen to be in the midst of the most difficult of trials, we, as believers, have this promise! We have the promise that the Lord will protect our souls. So often, we stop short of the truest meanings of Psalm 23, and only apply it to the natural man (to our temporal needs), rather than spiritually. This is not to say God will not meet our natural needs, as He most certainly will. We only need to put our faith in Him for our provisions (Matthew 21:22). However, according to Psalm 23, it is my conviction that what the Psalmist is portraying here, is especially the care the Lord desires to take, of our souls. Let's share for a moment what the origional translation of the word "shepherd" means, according to this Psalm. Strongs concordance points out that to "shepherd" means to feed ... to teach ... to keep ... to be a companion ... and to be a "special" friend. To "shepherd" also means to "entreat", meaning (according to the American Heritage Dictionary), to make an earnest request or petition. To plead (in this case, He will plead, petition or request in our behalf). The scriptures make it plain that our way to the Father, is through none other than Jesus Christ. It is Christ who takes our petitions to the Father. It is through Christ alone that we are saved (see John 14 verses 6, 13&14). Shepherd also means "to tend", meaning He will tend to our lives. Let's look at what the American Heritage Dictionary says regarding "tend". It's quite plain that our hearts can be comforted in knowing we are being watched over, and so very well taken care of. What a promise, praise God! From American Heritage Dictionary:
tend2 (tund) v. tend-ed, tend-ing, tends. -tr. 1. To have the care of; watch over; look after. 2. To manage the activities and transactions of; run. -intr. 1. To be an attendant or a servant. 2. To apply one's attention; attend.
Now, there is one last word (according to the Strong's Concordance) to be applied to this writing (an extremely important word, in fact), to the meaning of "shepherd", and that word and the meaning of it is, "ruler". Now, here's a good question to consider ... is He your "ruler"? Is He mine? Are we allowing Him freedom to rule and reign in our hearts, thus allowing Him the liberty to feed us and to teach us "all" that we need to know? Are we permitting Him the freedom to keep us, to watch over us, to look after us, to tend to all of our needs and, to be our "special friend"? Are we allowing Him permission (for, He will never "force"Psalm 23 in our life? It's my prayer today that, as we submit to the Lord, He will, "Shepherd our souls", as is promised in Psalm 23. May it be so Lord ... Amen. us against our own will) to fulfill
May you continue to walk in "all" the blessings promised of the Lord! Marcia