From the pen of Dr. Sam Jones
The twenty-third psalm is possibly one of the most known passages in the Bible. Can you recite it? The story is told by Robert Ketchum in his book, I Shall Not Want, of a Sunday school teacher who asked her class of children who could quote the entire 23rd psalm? A little four-and-a-half-year-old girl was among those who raised their hands. A bit skeptical, the teacher asked if she could really quote the entire psalm. The little girl came to the podium, faced the class, made a little bow, and said “The Lord is my shepherd, that’s all I want.” She then bowed again and sat down. Well, she may have left out several verses, but you must agree, she captured in one sentence David’s beautiful psalm.
In the six verses of this psalm, David shares from his personal experiences several wonderful and comforting truths worthy for us to reflect on this day about Jehovah, our Great Shepherd:
1. He Knows Me – “The Lord is my shepherd” (v. 1). God knew David and He knows each one of us personally (Mt. 10:30). He knows all 7.2 billion of us.
2. He Provides For Me – “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (v. 2). There’s no need to worry or be anxious about anything; He is able and will supply all our needs (Phil. 4:19). David affirmed his needs were supplied (Psa. 37:25).
3. He Restores Me – “He restores my soul” (v. 3). David made many mistakes as we shall, in our lifetime, make our share. But God will forgive and restore to full fellowship all those who will repent (Psa. 51:5; I Jo. 1:9).
4. He Guides Me – “He leads me in the paths of righteous For His Name’s Sake” (v. 3). Those who put their trust and confidence in Jehovah – the Great Shepherd - will never be ashamed. Our disposition should be where He leads I will follow.
5. He Protects Me – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death “(v. 4). At the darkness moment, in the lives of the righteous, they are never alone (Heb. 13:5). With His rod and staff, He will protect and deliver His sheep in trouble.
6. He Comforts Me – “For you are with me, your rod and staff, they comfort me” (v. 5). The Great Shepherd not only uses this instrument to protect, but He uses it to guide His sheep to safety.
7. He Will Exalt Me – “And, I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever” (v. 6). God will exalt and honor those who remain steadfast and faithful to the end (Rev. 2:10).
During the most difficult and challenging times of David’s life, these truths provided him comfort. Today, those who will allow Jehovah to be their Great Shepherd can find the same level of comfort. The little girl, in her quote, may have omitted some verses, but she accurately captured the essence of the passage when she said, “The Lord is my shepherd, that’s all I want.” Who is your shepherd?