The Greatest of All Time
April 15, 2021
Share This Post:
Psalm 23 has been called the greatest of all the psalms in the Bible. It is one of the most well-known and most often read scriptures worldwide. This psalm doesn’t just bring help to the helpless; it brings supernatural help to the helpless. It doesn’t just bring hope to the hopeless; it brings supernatural hope to the hopeless. It doesn’t just bring healing to the hurting; it brings supernatural healing to the hurting. And it doesn’t just bring encouragement to the discouraged; it brings supernatural encouragement to the discouraged.
Psalm 23 teaches that God is our Great Shepherd, and He lovingly leads, protects, and provides for His sheep. Who are His sheep? Every person on this planet who puts their faith and trust in God and His Son Jesus Christ. The Bible mentions sheep more than 500 times. Why are believers called sheep? Perhaps it’s because we, like sheep, tend to be vulnerable and wander away from the Shepherd easily. But I believe the primary reason is because of the tender, protective, and trusting relationship that a shepherd has with his sheep. Here are three important attributes of God, our Great Shepherd:
1. The Shepherd is permanently responsible for the sheep.
Psalm 23:1 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” The shepherd’s job is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year—there are no days off. If he decides to take a break, the sheep can get lost, hurt, or even die (cf. 40:11, Ez. 34:22, Ps. 100:3). The work of the shepherd is for the welfare of the sheep. He must look after his sheep, feed them, lead them to water and shade, and protect them from predators. Likewise, the LORD (whose name means He was, He is, and He will be) does not rest or take His eye off you. He is permanently responsible for the sheep of His flock. He is trustworthy and oh so capable of meeting all your needs.
2. The Shepherd is powerfully responsive to the sheep.
Sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd, and the shepherd knows each of his sheep by name. Psalm 23 is a profound picture and foreshadowing of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 10:11; 14-15, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Then Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Jesus, the Great Shepherd, hears us and responds to our needs.
3. The Shepherd has a personal relationship with His sheep.
Notice that Psalm 23:1 doesn’t say, “The LORD is the shepherd…” or, “The LORD is a shepherd…” It says, “The LORD is my shepherd…” (emphasis added). The word “my” conveys a personal relationship and closeness. This means that the Good Shepherd is personally related to His sheep. He is theirs, and they are His. You cannot expect the Shepherd’s protection if you haven’t made Him your Shepherd through a personal relationship with Him. How do you obtain a personal relationship with God, the Good Shepherd? First, you acknowledge that you are lost without Him (see Isaiah 53:6). Second, you accept Him into your heart and into your life (see John 1:12 and Romans 10:9). Third, you acclaim Him by believing in and following Him (see John 10:25-28).
The Shepherd is so loving, trustworthy, and faithful. We can rely on His provision, rest in His presence, and be refreshed by His peace. So, let’s silence the noise around us and listen to the Shepherd’s voice in order to find peace in an often chaotic world.
Pastor Dudley Rutherford is the author of Compelled: The Irresistible Call to Share Your Faith (available everywhere books are sold online) and the senior pastor of Shepherd Church, which has three campuses in the Greater Los Angeles area. You can watch services online or connect with Dudley at www.LiftUpJesus.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.