Psalm 23 – A Psalm of David “The Lord is my shepherd…”

December 1, 2021

Psalm 23 | Isaiah 25:6-9 | Matthew 15:29-39

I like to think of things in context, I also like to research interesting words and know what the definition is in the original language. It’s a bit of an obsession. So here we go, let’s unpack just the first line. 

The LORD is MY shepherd…


David’s Lord is also our Lord. The creator of creation. The God of all things past, present and future. This God was invisible, a new concept at that time. Beyond proof, history and time. Pure faith and longing. Yahweh to some, but Israelis still prefer to read it as written, “יהוה” and to then pronounce the word “Adonai” in its place. I love that David says, the LORD is MY shepherd. The idea that David’s Lord was his Lord had to be quite revolutionary at that time. Magnificent. 

The Lord is my SHEPHERD… 

So, what did it mean to be a shepherd in the time of David? It literally meant taking care of sheep. For David it meant protecting them from harm, making sure they had adequate food and water, and keeping them safe. 

Traditionally, sheep have a reputation of being dumb. I suppose they can be. But I have learned that they can be quite smart. Sheep have many positive traits just as long as they have a shepherd to guide them. They understand very well who their shepherd is. Very much like children, who look to their parents for protection from harm, nutrition and care, so do sheep look to their shepherd. Sheep, like children can easily get into trouble. Sheep need their shepherd in order to stay healthy and safe. They not only need a shepherd, sheep need a good shepherd. Someone who is devoted to them, someone to nourish them, someone to rescue them from harm. A shepherd always stays with his sheep  

We know from The Parable of the Lost Sheep, Luke 15

If just one of us gets lost, the shepherd leaves the 99 and goes after the one that goes astray. To imagine that each of us has value and though we are many, our shepherd loves us uniquely and completely. From the shepherd’s point of view, every one of his sheep is important.

David called the great creator God – Jehovah – his personal shepherd. 

There is some much more to Psalm 23…it’s difficult to take it all in. The first line humbles me, comforts me, eases my heart, mind, body and soul. I have said it over a thousand times, easy just to say the words, and get on with it. But to unpack it, see it, feel it, listen to it, say it, be present to God with it, quite another. 

This God, who is invisible yet visible in every cell, every breath, this God who is so great, so big, so wise to create this place where we live, can still be so intimately connected and concerned for you and me; his sheep! 

“I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, 15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.” 

John 10:11-15

Blessings to you,
Theresa Muscat

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