Our Shepherd Became Flesh

August 16, 2021

“The LORD is my shepherd; I will not be in need.” Psalm 23:1

A well-captured image can communicate something extremely powerful and important. Whether it be a photo, a painting, a piece of graphic design, a good metaphor – even conjured images can often evoke emotions that simple word descriptions just cannot do. Sometimes, these images are so poignant, they are seared into our hearts and minds. 

Psalm 23 is the psalm of images

In six verses, David, the author of Psalm 23, uses ten different images to communicate timeless, eternal truths about the nature and character of God. Charles Spurgeon, one of the most influential and extraordinary preachers of his era, called Psalm 23, “The pearl of psalms.” This psalm has been read at the birth of babies and the funerals of saints. It’s been remembered in times of plenty and has been prayed in times of darkness.

The first image we encounter in Psalm 23 is the image of a shepherd. And understanding that a shepherd took care of his sheep as if they were his own, this image communicates to its readers that our God is a God of provision and intimacy. “The LORD is my shepherd.” What an amazing statement! 

Being a shepherd in ancient Israel was the lowest of occupations. That’s why David, the youngest and seemingly most insignificant son, was found shepherding his father’s sheep. Important people didn’t “shepherd.” It was a hard life because the shepherd was with his sheep 24 hours a day. Rain or shine, cold or hot, summer or winter, all year long, this shepherd was with the sheep under his care. 

You see, without a shepherd, the sheep would die. 

Laden deep in verse 1, we find the exquisite intimacy a shepherd possesses so he can know exactly what his sheep need. In John 10, Jesus speaks of this intimacy. He says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” 

Jesus is the Shepherd who became flesh, and the sheep of His pasture know His voice.

Do you know this Shepherd? Can you hear His voice in the deepest parts of your soul? Do you trust him to lead you and provide for you? The Lord is the Good Shepherd, and He will always provide for His people and you can count on that.

Trust Him to lead you today.

Written by Austin Baker, Teaching Pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church