Psalm 23 The Lord Is My Shepherd
Thought For Today : Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
Psalm 23 is probably the most famous and well known Psalms and has been a firm favourite with Christians throughout the ages. One reason is this Psalm is so well received is that it shows very simply and clearly how God is our Protector and Provider. This theme comes up time and time again through the Bible. Jesus refers to himself as being the Good Shepherd and uses sheep and shepherd theme on number of occasions, most notably with the Parable of the Lost Sheep.
God's people are never illustrated as being great, mighty, self sufficient or independent. The only animal that is suitable for this comparison is the sheep who is dependant on the shepherd. However God thinks more of his followers than a shepherd feels towards his sheep, which is dealt with in last two verses of Psalm23
Sheep and Shepherds
In the Middle East, Shepherds and their sheep were and still are a common sight. Just about everyone knows a shepherds role and how important it is, especially amongst the common working class people that Jesus would have been interacting with on daily basis. These people would be more appreciative of the sheep, shepherd comparison than other cultures around the world are today, making this a near perfect illustration of what God does for us.
A shepherds job In and around The Holy Lands has hardly changed since a certain David, later to be King of Israel, worked as a shepherd looking after his fathers sheep all those thousands of years ago . Sheep are a valuable commodity and like anything valuable they are closely guarded and kept safe. The only way to ensure this is for the shepherd to live day and night alongside his sheep.
A shepherd will protect and look after his flock at any cost. He sees to the needs of the flock as a whole, by guiding them to new grazing land and watering holes and protect them from attack from wild animals . Individual sheep are equally important and valuable, any sheep going aastray will be found, any injured sheep will be cared for.
Most Sheep grow to trust their shepherd and will follow him where ever he goes. They learn to recognize his voice and even learn the sound that the tapping of his staff makes. Despite knowing who is in charge, they will still rebel and wander away or refuse to be caught if they are in need of help. Of course being sheep, they will also follow each other blindly without the shepherd to guide allowing themsleves to become lost.
The Test Of Time
The strength of this image and comparison is evident today. Looking back over the centuries and millennia we can see a continual prolific outpouring of art depicting Christ as a Shepherd.
Ever since David wrote Psalm23, it has not lost any of its strength or meaning and is just as powerful now as it was then. Anyone who is involved with ministry work will use Psalm 23 many times, as it is such a powerful but simple image that sums up perfectly Gods relationship with mankind.
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