Summary: The Shepherd is my Lord is a message by Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey to encourage discipleship under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The Shepherd is my Lord
By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey
Psalm 23 is a perennial source of encouragement. It has been recited by little ones and researched by learned ones. This Psalm provides a telling look into the heart of David, whom God described as “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22b). However, the focus of the psalm is on the LORD.
Look at the text and notice first of all,
I. What he explains about the LORD (vv. 1-3)
“The LORD is my shepherd; / I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; / He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; / He leads me in the paths of righteousness / For His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:1-3).
The psalmist begins writing in the present tense as he declares several things about the LORD. He writes “The LORD is” not “the LORD was”. David explains what the LORD does in the present, not just what He has done in the past. For example, “He makes, He restores, He leads. . .” These are images related to the Good Shepherd and the care of His sheep.
The text also reveals,
II. What he expresses to the LORD (vv.4-5)
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, / I will fear no evil; / For You are with me; / Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; / You anoint my head with oil; / My cup runs over” (Psalm 23:4-5).
Suddenly David begins to address the LORD directly. Please note the pronouns change from “He” and “His” (vv. 1-3) to “You” and “Yours” (vv. 4-5).
Possibly one reason this psalm is so beloved is because it moves seamlessly from speaking about God to speaking to God. This psalm also moves steadfastly from the known to the unknown without hesitation. David faces death and looks into eternity with a faith that is courageous and contagious.
Lastly we see,
III. What he expects from the LORD (v. 6)
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me / All the days of my life; / And I will dwell in the house of the LORD / Forever” (Psalm 23:6).
The confidence that the psalmist expresses in the LORD is encouraging. Hope is a powerful commodity. Here David boldly speaks of his endless relationship and eternal fellowship with the LORD. “Forever” is a word that speaks of permanence. Honestly, our finite minds cannot conceive of something that actually lasts forever, because things on earth are passing.
The Bible has much to say about sheep. For example in Isaiah 53:6 we read: “All we like sheep have gone astray; / We have turned, every one, to his own way; / And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, / Yet He opened not His mouth; / He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, / And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, / So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, / And who will declare His generation? / For He was cut off from the land of the living; / For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, / Because He had done no violence, / Nor was any deceit in His mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; / He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, / He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, / And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, / For He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, / Because He poured out His soul unto death, / And He was numbered with the transgressors, / And He bore the sin of many, / And made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:6-12).