Christianity 201

January 12, 2015

If He Calls Himself the Shepherd, That Makes Me A Sheep

The Lord is my Shepherd
  • Guess that makes me a sheep. Sheep know their master’s voice and follow it. Do I?

I shall not want

  • I have lots of wants. But few actual needs. Some translations say, “I lack nothing.”

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters

  • Notice he has to MAKE me lie down; life is too hectic; too stressful most times

He restores my soul

  • Ever felt that you needed a soul restoration? Probably thought more about getting an oil change.

He leads me in the path of righteousness

  • And then frequently, my sin nature leads me right OFF the path of righteousness

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me

  • Amen, positionally anyway. Practically: Couldn’t we walk AROUND the shadow of death?

Your rod and staff comfort me

  • The signs of your authority over me should make me feel secure

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies

  • In a world of people who neither respect me or believe in You, You have me singled out as Your special guest…

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows

  • …and set apart to do something special; even on days when nothing special is on the agenda

Truly, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life

  • Your love pursues me, in good days and bad

And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

  • Our relationship continues beyond this life into the next

Paul Wilkinson (the added part, not the original; that belongs to King David)

 

From the Reformation Study Bible:

This psalm is perhaps the best known example of a psalm of confidence (Introduction: Characteristics and Themes). It is a literary unity, with two governing metaphors expressing God’s care and goodness: the shepherd and the banquet table. The image of God as shepherd is inexhaustibly rich. The shepherd stays with the flock (Is. 40:11; 63:9–12). His sheep are totally dependent upon him for food, water, and protection from wild animals. In the New Testament, Jesus is revealed as the shepherd of His people (John 10:11, 14), fulfilling the prophecy that God will come to shepherd His people (Ezek. 34:7–16, 23).

On BibleGatway.com there is also a resource titled The Dictionary of Bible Themes, where we read this outline:

God, as shepherd

The image of God as a shepherd points to his continual direction, guidance and care for his people.

Shepherd as a title for God

Ps 80:1 See also Ge 49:24; Ecc 12:11

God’s people are his flock

Israel is God’s flock Ps 95:7 See also Ps 79:13; Ps 100:3; Jer 50:7; Eze 34:31

The church is God’s flock 1Pe 5:2 See also Lk 12:32; Ac 20:28-29

The tasks undertaken by God the shepherd

The shepherd leads and guides Ps 23:2-3 See also Isa 40:11

The shepherd provides Ps 23:1 See also Ge 48:15; Ps 23:5-6; Hos 4:16; Mic 7:14

The shepherd protects Ps 28:9 See also Ge 49:23-24

The shepherd saves those who are lost or scattered Jer 31:10 See also Ps 119:176; Isa 53:6; Eze 34:11-16; Mt 18:12-14 pp Lk 15:3-7

The shepherd judges Eze 34:17-22 See also Jer 23:1; Zec 10:2-3; Zec 11:16; Mt 25:32-46

God gives shepherds to be leaders over his people

He gives David’s line Eze 34:23 See also 2Sa 5:2 pp 1Ch 11:2; Ps 78:70-72; Eze 34:23-24; Eze 37:24; Mic 5:4; Mt 2:6

He gives individual leaders Isa 44:28; Isa 63:11

He gives faithful leaders Jer 3:15 See also Jer 23:4; 1Pe 5:2-4

Finally, BibleGateway has a small excerpt from the NIV Application Commentary:

That Yahweh is “shepherd” is consistent with claims elsewhere that he is “king,” since ancient Near Eastern monarchs also described themselves as shepherding their people and understood their gods as fulfilling this role as well. As shepherds, such kings understood their responsibility to provide protective order for their people and to administer just and effective laws.

That last part is interesting, because over Christmas, you probably heard sermons about how lowly Shepherd’s were in the larger scheme of things. And yet here we see shepherd = king. Another one of the many mysteries of God and of scripture; how can one be a shepherd and a king? How could one be Lord and be a servant? Yet we find this here in the Psalms spoken of God, and again much more illustrated in the life of Christ.

 

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