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?
A conqueror is a person who conquers a place or people.
When the great conquerors of long ago invaded a territory, they paraded the defeated foes in a triumphal entry into the city.
One of my favorite scriptures describing this event is found in Colossians. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15 KJV).
What is the writer of Colossians talking about? Let’s take a look.
“Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:27 KJV).
Amid the festive lights of Christmas, we often forget the child in the manger came to die and to conquer.
“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31 KJV).
His reason? To set us free from the power of sin.
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:20-21 KJV).
. . . but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. He prayed for all believers in His hour of need. Let that sink in for a moment.
“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left” (Luke 23:33 KJV).
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30 KJV).
I love the words “It is finished.” And I also love the fact that afterward He sat on the right side of the Father (Hebrews 7:27 KJV).
“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:1-6 KJV).
He is Risen! What a joy it is to know our Savior lives.
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18 KJV).
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelations 5:9 KJV).
Ain’t no grave gonna hold my body down. 🙂 I hope there is someone out there who knows the song besides me.
“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelations 19:16 KJV).