Shepherd

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

The first thing that comes to mind when reading David’s psalm is a picture of Christ hanging on a cross, his body bruised and bloody. Not exactly the peaceful scene in paintings of a shepherd holding a lamb in a lush meadow.

However, if you’ve spent time with animals, you understand my thoughts. There is a price one must pay for the privilege of owning sheep. They require patience, energy, and sacrifice. David’s psalm helps me understand the price the Good Shepherd paid for me.

Through the years, I’ve taken care of horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, and hogs. And each one came with a price. For whether you buy, trade, or accept animals as gifts, you can bank on paying for that animal in blood, sweat, and tears.

Blood and sweat because caring for animals is a messy job. Your hands will become scarred and dirty in the process. Tears because caring for an animal while they are sick or dying is one of the hardest things an owner will ever do. Sooner or later, you will eventually give part of your life to and for that animal.

Another responsibility David spoke of in this psalm is guard duty. Shepherds must protect their sheep from parasites, disease, and predators.

Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7

During good weather, shepherds kept their sheep in the countryside. A circle of rocks created a pen without a gate. The shepherd protected the sheep by stretching his body across the opening. What a beautiful depiction of his love and care for us.

I’m so glad the Lord is my Shepherd. How about you?

20 thoughts on “Shepherd

  1. Gail I loved the raw reality of love that you presented here. Our whole family loves animals and you pointed out how our love draws us into gritty, bloody, sweaty places. May we remember all our precious Savior did for us today! Blessings!

    • Thanks, Melissa. Your words reminded me that we shouldn’t avoid those “gritty, bloody, sweaty places” with people. As witnesses of those places, we should rush to help others just as Christ helped us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Blessings to you too!

  2. Lovely devo, Gail. Thinking about the tending of farm animals literally makes me think about the real grittiness of loving imperfect humans. I’m also glad the Lord is my shepherd.

  3. Gail, thanks for your thoughts on the good shepherd! The Psalms are beautiful and no one could praise the Lord like David could but along the way to becoming King of Israel he was severely tested yet he never forgot about praising the Lord! No wonder the Lord said of David he was a man after His heart.

  4. I loved having horses, and it was so hard to give them up when money was no longer available for us to keep them. Yes, as you said, they are hard work. But the love! Jesus sees us that way and we see him that way–through his love. Thank you for your godly posts and encouragement,

  5. Good morning Gail.

    I literally just read Psalm 23. With your post, I am going back to it. Thank you for sharing. I do love that image of the shepherd laying across, protecting his flock with his body. Have a beauty-full day, Gail.

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