Shepherd of the Satisfied
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So what is David showing us through this picture.
Again, we do not have a firm grasp on shepherding so we need to take the time to put ourselves in their situation.
First, the location is important to our understanding.
David is not in the green rolling hills of Ireland or even the vast majority of the United States.
In the majority of the United States, how far would one need to travel to find a water source?
Realistically not far. There are deserts and other places where water is sparse but for the most part we have water readily available.
Geographically, David is in a place where water was limited at best
Most of that region is best described as a desert
A lot of water sources were seasonal
It was dry and mostly rocky and therefore grass was not always easy to find.
They would have to regularly move from place to place to find food and water
They have hot and dry summers. Their winters produce the most rain but summers are dry
This is the scene that David has in his mind as he is penning these words
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
There are three descriptive statements in verses 2-3 that picture our Shepherd in His role as provider.
1- “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures”
2- “He leadeth me beside the still waters”
3- “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness”
Obviously grass and water are vital to the life and well being of the sheep
The picture here is that the sheep are along for the ride…they contribute nothing…the Shepherd does the providing
He leads his hungering and thirsting sheep to what they need most
Jesus said in
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
David looked to Jehovah to supply all of his needs.
He knew that if there was a need that Jahweh as his shepherd knew where to find the answers and how to get there.
For us Jesus Christ is our shepher
He is the one who knows our needs
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; And while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
He is not only the one who know what we need,
He also gives to us the wisdom and direction to obtain what we need
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
It is through Christ Jesus that God gives to us all these things including wisdom
The word Paul uses here is that through Jesus we have the capacity to understand and function in a way that is beneficial to myself and towards others.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
In our lack of wisdom we have access to any and all of the wisdom we could ever need
If the shepherd and the sheep are images of a life fully dependent on the Lord, then “paths of righteousness” take on the meaning of a life that fulfills God’s expectations for believers.
How do we do that? Through the Lords wisdom and guidance
Concludes this verse with the phrase “for His name’s sake”
There are a couple things to note here
1- In their culture a name was often thought to reveal ones character
In the Exodus Israel is introduces to Jahweh…the covenant God
Here we are introduced to the Lord our shepherd…the one who supplies our needs
2- Closely related to the character of the name is the reputation behind the name.
God always acts in accordance to His character and in like manner we are to live in a way that honors His reputation and character
So, as we saw even this morning. We need to trust our Savior!
He knows where the food is
He knows where the water is
He knows how to keep us safe
Not only does He know where we can find these things, He has the ability to bring us to them...
We no longer need to rely on our own power
He will take our heavy burden and give us His peace and rest.