When I was young, one of the greatest moments of my childhood was when my family visited both our grandparents. They resided in the village and had very huge farms. I remember all our extended families would make it a tradition to go help harvest in December and it was an experience we all looked forward to because we did the harvesting together, cousins, uncles, neighbors… what a joy it was.
I would however disappear to the fields with my neighbor’s grandson John- who lived in the village and his job was to look after his grandparents’ cows and goats. John would everyday take the livestock to any land where there was green grass and at noon go to the river to get the cows some water. I enjoyed the river because we used to later on swim. John loved his job. He would make sure that he knew where each animal was and was always excited to see the progress of each cow and goat becoming fat, and when one of the goats would get injured, John would carry the goat on his back till home to tend to it. He sat down and dreamed of one day owning his own livestock. Oh, how I miss those good times. I was a city raised boy and so after a few weeks I would go back to the city and eventually back to school.
Recently as I read Psalms 23 in detail when my Old testament Professor tasked us to write an exegetical paper, I couldn’t help but think of the good old time John and I, were shepherds of goads and cows.
Psalms 23 reads
1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Have you ever imagined how David talked or danced? Sometimes I try to imagine the ancient east characters of the bible speak as they wrote the different books of the bible. Recently, I have enjoyed reading Psalms 23 which I have known since I was young, but every time I get new insights and fresh experience. I read these words as prayers and they were so powerful, in fact I raised my voice and assumed that David had this poetic voice that would release every word with a strong emotion and it was just heavenly.
The first theme we see here is God as a good and caring shepherded. When I say the word shepherd, Johnny comes to mind. When John grazed his Grandpa’s cattle’s, He did it as his own, he loved those animals, I still can see the joy he had whenever he saw green grass that they would feed on. He loved all of them and would not let them go. The word shepherd is used a lot in the bible, their jobs were to tend to the sheep, guide them and made sure that none of them went astray… what a definition!!!!!!!
When God created us, He did so in His own image and likeness. He made us to glorify Him and worship Him. We had an amazing relationship with Him. Man, then sinned and ruined the amazing relationship we had with our father in Heaven. But the good- good father, has been trying to help us find our way back to Him. Just like the shepherd who makes sure that none of the sheep goes astray, our Father in Heaven has been seeking to lead us back to the right path and when we are hurt, He is always there to carry us to safety. This is such a powerful metaphor that David uses in this Psalm.
I do not know where you are in life but sometimes I feel lost. I feel as if God has left me and sometimes I feel as if I’m lacking. When you think of sheep, most of the time, sheep are considered helpless and cannot do anything on their own, if a wolf attacks it, there is nothing sheep can do without the shepherd. Without God we really are lost and prone to so many dangers, but in Him we are safe. In Luke 15, the Pharisee were complaining and arguing that Jesus was dining with tax collectors and sinners and here we see Jesus responding to them using the parable of lost things, one of which was about a shepherd losing a sheep.
Luke 15 reads
4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?
5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Psalms 23 however, is a great reminder that He is our Shepherd and we lack nothing!!!! YESSS!!!! Every single day, our good shepherd is always reaching out to us to try Him, so that He can lead us on the right path that can refresh our souls through his amazing rest and provision. It is just that we don’t get it!!!!! Luke 15 goes to show Just how much each one of us matters to God and Is in pursuit of us. He rejoices when we decide to get back to Him. He is relentless in His pursuit.
Today, I want to let you know that God loves you. He cares for you and wants you to go on the right path and experience his abundance. He knows what is best for you and He rejoices in your being found. That is why He sent his son to die for you and me so that we can experience the freedom that is in Him. You are not too far from Him. He is and has been there waiting for you to get back on the right path and never gets tired of shepherding you. He is a good- good father and you are loved by Him.