Updated: 7/30/16

The Lord is my shepherd  Psalm 23.1a  

It is important for us to remember that Psalms are poetical and they are written for the purpose of praising the Lord/God. It would not be appropriate for us to use Psalms as proof texts for doctrine, but they do validate truth found elsewhere. They were used for the purpose of worship and many of them testify to the goodness and faithfulness of God, real life illustrations and observations of God’s people.

David makes several points in the first verse of his shepherd Psalm. Remember that he is writing this psalm as an experienced shepherd and he is fully aware of what his words implicate, which are as follows. First, he identifies the Lord as his shepherd. Why is this important? He recognizes his insufficiency, his need. Without the protection and guidance of the Lord he is hopelessly vulnerable and lost. Secondly, since that is true he willingly gives the shepherd role to the Lord and submits himself to the authority of the Lord. It is unclear what David knew about the messiah, our Lord. It is quite clear that most of his life David followed God.

Similar to David we are all hopelessly lost in our sin without a Savior. Things are much better for us, we can look back at the cross and clearly recognize who the Shepherd is. And in John chapter ten Jesus identifies Himself as the Shepherd. Firstly we must understand that without Christ we are condemned. Secondly, salvation is found in Christ alone. Because of our sin we are separated from God and we must believe on Christ for salvation. Belief in Christ and what he did on the cross as payment for sin cannot include faith in anything else. He is the Shepherd and He does not need our help. A truth easily recognized by David, the sheep cannot help the Shepherd. The best scenario for the sheep, follow the Shepherd.

David identifies a personal shepherd. His relationship with God was personal. He talked with God and assumed (rightly so) that God was present with him. Our God, our Lord wants to have a personal relationship with us, a reciprocal one. He would like to communicate with us, fellowship with us, and teach us. Grace does not necessitate this, but doesn’t the truth that God pursues us inspire you? God knows our heart perfectly. Despite His knowledge of our hearts He has permitted His heart to be broken, over and over again. He still pursues us, and others like us. Because God thinks that our fellowship is valuable. He thinks that we are valuable. Jesus thinks that we are valuable.