The Lord is my shepherd; Psalm 23

The term shepherd was often used synonomously with political and religious leadership. When David submitted to the Lord as shepherd he manifested true humility. The shepherd of Israel committed and submitted himself to the Shepherd Lord. Wouldn’t it be nice if the leaders of today could say, the Lord is my shepherd?

When King Saul was hunkered down and hiding from Goliath a shepherd boy visited the battlefield. As a youth, David demonstrated humility towards the king and a respect and love for God. In the short dialogue of I Samuel 17.32-37 David referred to himself as servant three times. And in verse fifty-eight he refers to himself as the son of Saul’s servant. It’s a good thing that Saul listened to the servant David (on this occasion). The Israelites were able to celebrate a great victory over the Philistines.

David didn’t always submit to the leadership of the Lord. There was a time when he was king, and someone (probably a servant) offered him godly advice. Unlike Saul, David refused to heed the warning of his servant. Recorded for us in II Samuel 11, And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?  David was a man after God’s own heart, yet his story is one of the saddest. His family was torn apart, his family suffered; he suffered deeply. In one moment he undermined his Shepherd Lord to engage in sin that briefly lasted.

Why have I taken the time to write this contrast? What does this mean for us? The Lord must be Shepherd all of the time, not some of the time, not most of the time, but all of the time. We may not be leaders in the same sense as David. We may not be presidents,  congressmen, governors, mayors, or pastors. But we are fathers, mothers, disciplers, Sunday school teachers, group leaders, supervisors, managers, teachers, writers, and friends. In our leadership we must remain servants to God and others. When we rise above our lowliness, when we start to think that we are something, we stop serving others and start serving ourselves. And it goes even further, we start taking from others because we think that we deserve more. It truly is sad, David is remembered for so much, he wrote many of the Psalms. But the Bible always refers to Bathsheba as the wife of Uriah the Hittite and never the wife of David. Despite all the good that David did, his sin will never be forgotten.