“The LORD is my shepherd…” (Psalm 23:1)
The 23rd Psalm is probably the most read, most memorized, most quoted, and most utilized in devotional books of any Psalm that King David penned. It has encouraged, assured, and given more confidence to the believer than any other Psalm in times of trials, tribulations, persecutions, even in the Valley of Death.
The language of the sheep and the Shepherd form a beautiful physical example of a deep spiritual truth. There are multitudes of sermons, devotions, and even books that have used this Psalm as the Scriptural basis to edify the Body of Christ.
One might ask, Why another devotion?
Why, because truth is limitless. Truth has no boundaries that the human mind could ever master.
Why, because God has placed this Psalm in my spirit to share with you three major concepts:
1) The Sovereign Concept
2) The Shepherd Concept
3) The Supply Concept
The first devotional will be “The Sovereign Concept”: “The LORD.” The word “LORD” is capitalized by the translators. The reason being the Hebrew word is “Yahweh”; or Jehovah, Joshua, Jesus. (The Hebrew spelling is “JHVH” or “YHVH”; which is “JEHOVAH” without the vowels.) God was first revealed as “Elohim” in Genesis 1:1. But in Exodus 6:3, God revealed Himself to Moses as “JEHOVAH.”
In Exodus 3:13-15, Moses is asking God to tell him His name, so he could relate it to the Children of Israel. God’s answer is found in verses 14-15.
“…and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” (Exodus 3:13c)
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:14)
“And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Exodus 3:15)
God said “I AM THAT I AM”; which means, I am the Self-Existing One. However, in the term Jehovah, God reveals His Redemptive Nature to Moses and to Israel; also through their deliverance by blood (sacrifice) and power; then through the Levitical worship system, the law, tabernacle, sacrifices, etc.
In John 8:56 and 58, Jesus confessed that He was Jehovah, the “I am”:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56)
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
Before this Psalm can minister to the believer, the believer must know the Person of the Shepherd. Who is this Shepherd? David said, “The LORD (Jehovah, Joshua, Jesus, Savior) is my shepherd.”
The Bible begins with God and ends with God. God is presented as the Sovereign Creator, Controller, and Consummator of all things. God moves according to His Plan and Purpose, not according to man’s. (See Proverbs 19:21; 16:9; Job 23:13-14; 14:5.)
The verbs in Psalm 23 are carried out by “He” and “Thou,” not by man:
1) “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures”
2) “He leadeth me beside the still waters”
3) “He restoreth my soul”
4) “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”
5) “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies”
6) “Thou anointest my head with oil”
In each case it is The LORD, our Sovereign God, moving us according to His Plan, Purpose, and Power. We are clay in His hands.
For this Psalm to have its impact as designed by God, the Person of the Shepherd must be identified. David said “the LORD” (Jehovah, the I AM THAT I AM; the Alpha and Omega; Creator, Controller, and Consummator); without being God, The Shepherd is no different than any other shepherd. But David said, “The LORD is my shepherd.” There is only One God; and there is none else (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:1-3a; 45:5a; 46:9-11).
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,” (Isaiah 46:9)
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” (Isaiah 46:10)
“Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (Isaiah 46:11)
Reader, whose hand are you in? Who is leading you? Is He able? Is He the Creator, Controller, and Consummator? What are His credentials?
If your Shepherd is not The LORD (Jehovah, Jesus, Savior, God), then you are on sinking sand. Your foundation is not on Truth, the Rock, the Faith, even Jesus Christ; but on mere man, or sinking sand.
Only the LORD knows the end from the beginning, and all in-between. Only God had the Power to give you life, or make you a living soul. And only God could have paid your sin debt and set you free in Jesus. Only God knows your needs and what will supply your needs; and He has already made provision for your needs; and at the appropriate time, He will supply your needs.
Therefore, for you to see “The Beauty of the Shepherd,” you must know His Person. He is The LORD (Jehovah, Jesus, Savior, God). You must see that “Jehovah” is the Origin, the Source, the Beginning of all creation. Therefore, being God, everything in your life begins with Him and ends with Him.
To know His Person, you must be given Revelation, as was Moses (Exodus 3:14-15); as was Peter (Matthew 16:13-17; John 6:68-69). God is the Author of all revelation (John 3:27; 1 Corinthians 4:7); it must be given “from heaven.”
When God grants you Revelation of who Christ is to you; then confess Him as Savior, Lord, and Master (Romans 10:9-10). Then after confession, be obedient and follow your Shepherd in believer’s baptism (immersion in water) (Acts 8:36-39). After baptism, continue daily to follow the Shepherd and walk even as He walked (1 John 2:4-6; John 13:34-35; 14:15, 21-25). This will be illustrated in the following devotion.