June 17, 2020by Reverend Dan on June 17, 2020
“The Lord is my shepherd . . .”
Verses 1-3 show us many ways that the shepherd provides for his sheep. And the very first way is through a personal relationship between the two.
When David writes, “The Lord”, we need to look at the original Hebrew to get an understanding of how important this is. The word used in the original text is “Yahweh”, God’s name. Ordinarily, the Israelites considered this name too holy to be spoken by human lips. In fact, it was so revered that it was only pronounced once a year - on the Day of Atonement - and then only by the high priest in the most holy place of the Temple (The Holy of Holies). So, when David uses it here, we already know something is going to be different. He is speaking of God in a personal way.
Next, David says Yahweh, this personal God, “IS”. That’s present tense. Not was, not will be one day. “IS”. That means God is present right now, in and at this very moment. He’s not some far away God that you have to call on and wait for. He is here, present in your life, at this moment and every moment. .
“The Lord is” what? MY. David is now showing the other side of the personal relationship. First (and always first) there is God, and then there is “me”. The shepherd and the sheep. God and David. He is mine and I am His. David uses “my,” “me” and “I” 17 times in this psalm. He is telling us that after all he has been through, from shepherd to king, the most important thing is what he mentions first, his personal relationship with God.
Finally, “The Lord is my” what? Shepherd. This is where this psalm seems so ironic. Shepherding was considered the lowest of all work. The youngest in a family was given the chore of doing it. Those who couldn’t’ find any other work would resign themselves to be a shepherd. It was a nasty, hot, boring, tedious existence. It demanded attention twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, in good weather and bad.
And yet David is saying that being a shepherd is the closet earthly comparison he can find for what God does for us. And whereas we take it as a last resort job, God has CHOSEN to do it. God has chosen that role to watch over us. Why?
Because He loves us. As much as we want that personal relationship, He wants it more. That’s why He created us. That’s what He created us for. He didn’t need to. He doesn’t need anything. He’s God. So, if He didn’t have to, that must mean the only reason He did it is because He wanted to. He wanted us around to have a personal relationship with Him and Him with us.
That boggles the mind. The God of all creation is willing to lower Himself to the lowest possible job – shepherd – just so we can share a relationship with each other. He steps down from His throne in Heaven, puts on shepherds clothes, takes the staff and promises to watch over us all day every day . . . all because He loves us that much.
What an amazing God. What an amazing love.
“Father, Thank you for loving us enough to come and be our shepherd. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”