by Steven Chan
The declaration by the Psalmist that the Lord is his shepherd is well known and loved by many. His declaration comes from the reality of God’s care for him throughout his life on earth, thereby giving him the assurance of still being blessed by His presence even in the life hereafter.
In 1 Sam 17:37, David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” David had experienced deliverance from the Lord in that instance and in many other instances.
When David sinned in secret, God sent a prophet to help him repent from his sin. When David confessed his sin, the Lord forgave him: “So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”(2 Sam 12:13) Listen to David’s contrition in Psa 51:3-4:
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight– that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.”
David realized that God cannot have fellowship with sin or sinners. David had to acknowledge his sins and repent of his sins, so that fellowship between him and God can be restored. Then God is found to be just and blameless in the relationship between God and David.
With God as his shepherd, David could then say in Psa 23:4,6:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me…. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
David’s close walk with God was evident when he said that he will fear no evil in the most trying circumstances because “You are with me” and that’s a source great “comfort to me”.
Each one of us needs to ask: “Is God my shepherd too?” He wants to be our shepherd. But are we willing to let Him be our shepherd? To the Israelites, Jesus said in Matt 23:37: “How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”
Both in life and in death, the Lord can be our shepherd. God told the nation of Isarel to remember what He has done for them, so that they will remain faithful to Him:
‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ (Ex 19:4-6)
To the church, God says in 1 Peter 2:9-10:
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
Even in death, the Lord looks after us as He did when the beggar died in Luke 16:22: “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.”
Let’s live close to our Lord and let Him be our shepherd indeed so that we can be comforted by His presence in our lives.