“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. ” – Psalm 23:1 (ESV)
A very familiar verse we share on this 20th anniversary of a tragic day. It is good for us to remember such horrific events so that we can remember again that we have a caretaker who watches over us. Of the thousands who lost their lives on this day in 2001 we know many were believers in Jesus Christ. Many others were not and that compounds the tragedy for them. Also, many first responders who were there that day and lived through it have had residual health effects. God, our Shepherd know this. Nothing happened or happens today that our God is not aware of. We do have this promise: strictly speaking, Yahweh roh is the beginning phrase of Psalm 23, “the LORD is my shepherd.” It combines the personal name of God, Yahweh, with the descriptive name of God, rohi or ro‘i, meaning, “my Shepherd.” The root word ra‘ah means to feed and tend domestic animals by pasturing them. This name speaks of God caring for His people in practical ways as well as providing spiritual sustenance. God provides and cares for everything we need, thus we can say today, no matter what happens, “I shall not want.”
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. – John 10:11 (ESV)
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. – John 10:14-15 (ESV)
Sheep were very important for those who lived in Israel at the time of Christ and for centuries before Christ. More than a millennium before Jesus Christ, David, a shepherd, wrote “The Lord is My Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1) It was a natural illustration that Jesus used when He said twice “I Am the Good Shepherd,” as recorded in John 10. For Jesus, sheep and the tending of sheep typified His life and purpose. Those listening to Jesus knew about the care required for a flock of sheep. Christ says He is THE good Shepherd. Some were careless in their duty, neglecting their flock when it was in danger and threatened. Bad practices spring from bad principles. The Lord Jesus had no bad principles. He is sure of His own because the chosen have put their trust in Him. This is a demonstration of the grace of Christ. None of us could demand Jesus do what He did when He willingly chose to be our sacrifice. He laid down His life for our redemption and salvation. He offered himself to be our Savior even when we were lost in our sin of rebellion.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:1-3 (ESV)
A familiar Psalm that is often used in time of difficulty, danger, stress, and fear. Many go to it when their hearts are heavy and they are carrying an emotional load. The Psalm has been divided into 6 verses and they are packed with promises and encouragement. It was so natural for David to use this metaphor. He had been a shepherd once and he had cared this way for his sheep. Jesus identified Himself as the ‘Good Shepherd’ that was promised and expected (John 10:4). The writer of Hebrews calls Jesus the ‘Great Shepherd’ (Hebrews 13:20) and Peter writes of Jesus as the ‘Chief Shepherd’ (1 Peter 5:4). David tells us that God, our Shepherd provides all we need fully. God tends to our physical needs for good food and water. Our troubles though sometimes go beyond our physical and emotional needs and actually cause us unrest within our souls. God takes care of us in these needs as well. He knows we need restoration and guidance along the righteous way. He does all this for His name’s sake. He has promised and He keeps every promise He gives us. Holy is His Name.