The Shepherd Concept: “The LORD is my shepherd...” (Psalm 23:1). The Lord, my Sovereign God, is also “my shepherd.” The simple definition of a shepherd is one tending the sheep. In the physical, the shepherd is responsible for the protection and the provision of the flock of sheep. He does this as he watches over them and leads them. He chastens them at times; he carries them at other times; and he calls them at other times.
In the spiritual, the Lord (Jehovah, Jesus, God, Savior) is the believer’s Provider, Protector, and Preserver.
This second concept, “The Shepherd Concept,” reveals His Position to David: He is “my shepherd.” David said: Jehovah, Jesus, Savior, God, is mine. God is personal to David and to all His chosen, regenerated children. “My” shows relationship; it shows possession. It shows understanding by David of the Lord’s relationship to him as his Shepherd.
This understanding comes only in regeneration by the Spirit of God:
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:16)
Regeneration gives you experiential knowledge of how Christ is your Shepherd. First, He is The Good Shepherd (John 10:1-31). This shows His Provision.
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11)
Isaiah told Israel in Chapter 40, “Behold your God!” (verse 9d). And “The Lord GOD will come” (verse 10). Then Isaiah described three major characteristics:
1) “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd”
a) The idea in the general concept of a shepherd is the shepherd’s care and concern for his flock. The shepherd knows his flock must have food. Thus the shepherd makes preparation to feed his flock.
b) In the spiritual, He has prepared the finest of the wheat, the honey out of the rock (Psalms 81:16: 147:14). This points to Christ, who is the Manna from Heaven, the Bread of God. The food of God’s sheep is Christ. And He is sweeter than honey (Psalm 119:103). God made preparation for His chosen people to be fed with Christ and His Atonement, even before the world began (Revelation 13:8). The Good Shepherd, Christ, knows our needs and has made preparations to meet our needs in Himself.
2) “He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom”
a) Here the shepherd has compassion on his flock (especially the little lambs).
b) Christ, the Good Shepherd, knows our needs and our weaknesses in the flesh. David said:
“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Psalms 103:14)
“For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” (Psalms 78:39)
c) God knows at times, we that are young or old in the faith need to be picked up and carried by the Shepherd. We feel (and are) safe and secure in the Arms of the Shepherd.
3) “And shall gently lead those that are with young.”
(a) Not only does the shepherd feed the sheep and carry the sheep; but he also leads the sheep. (See John 10:2-5.)
“To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” (John 10:3)
“And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” (John 10:4)
(b) The shepherd knows his sheep and the sheep know their shepherd. Sheep have to be led by the shepherd; otherwise they scatter and run into danger.
(c) So it is with Christ, He has a Plan and a predetermined Path, according to His Purpose for His Sheep. And He leads them in the paths of righteousness, in the ways of holiness, etc.
(d) But the concept to see here of the Shepherd is His leadership capacity; and the fact He does lead the sheep twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
Also as a part of His Provision, he “giveth his life for the sheep”:
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
David’s Shepherd, the LORD, Jehovah, Jesus, and my Shepherd, has met all our needs in His Death, Burial, and Resurrection. The first Shepherd Concept is seen in His Position and in His Provision for us. These are both in His Atoning Work for our sin debt on the Cross. His Position is the Atonement; and His Provision is the result of the Atonement, which is our Redemption. (See Romans 3:24-25; 5:1-2; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14.)
And then on this foundation (His Atonement for our sin debt):
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27)
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)
“My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:29)
“I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30)
O, what a Good Shepherd the Sheep have in Christ. He has met all of the Sheep’s needs in Himself. John 10:27-30 plainly reveal that Salvation is in the Shepherd. The Sheep have no hope without the Shepherd.
But in these verses, we see:
His Calling (John 10:27; 2 Timothy 1:7-9);
His Gift (John 10:28);
His Security (John 10:28b-30).