The image of God as shepherd is one of the most pervasive in all of scripture. Even though the role of the shepherd in our society is not as prevalent as it was during the thousands of years when the Bible was being written, it is still one that’s pretty simple for us to wrap our heads around.
God is our protector and provider. King David understood this as well as anyone and his picture of God as shepherd recorded in the 23rd Psalm is timeless. As we read those six short verses it’s as if we’ve been transported to rich, green pastures in the very presence of the living God. And though the scene is idyllic we are aware that danger and evil are not far off.
Still, we are restful in the knowledge that God is with us. Even as enemies surround us, He sets a banquet table for us and we are secure in the knowledge that He is near and goodness and mercy follow close behind. As we prepare to face a new year, fraught with yet to be revealed enemies and evil we are secure in the knowledge that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.