“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want!” (Psalm 23)
The shepherd is a favorite Scriptural picture of the divine love and care. In the Old
Testament, the twenty-third Psalm gathers the whole wonderful truth in exquisite
lines, which are dear to young and old wherever the Bible is known. Then in the
New Testament, when our Lord would give His friends the sweetest revealings of
His heart toward them, and tell them what they are to Him, and what He would
be to them — He says, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down
His life for the sheep.” John 10:11
The Hebrew shepherd lives with his sheep. If they are out in the storm — he is
with them. If they are exposed to danger — so is he. Just so, Christ lives with His
people. He enters into closest relations with them.
The shepherd knows his sheep. He has a name for each one and calls them all by
their names. Just so, Christ knows each one of His friends, and has intimate
personal knowledge of each one. He knows the best in us — and also the worst.
He knows our faults, our sins, our wanderings. Yet, knowing us as we are — He
loves us still and never wearies of us!
The shepherd is most gentle with his sheep. He does not drive them — but goes
before them and leads them. When they need rest on the way — he makes them
lie down, and chooses for their resting-place, not the dusty road — but green
pastures. He is especially kind to the lambs, gathers them in his arms and carries
them in his bosom. All this is an exquisite picture of the gentleness of our Good
Shepherd in His care of His sheep. He is thoughtful toward the weak. He loves the
lambs and makes room for them in His bosom. Whatever the need is, there is
something in the heart of Christ which meets its craving and supplies its lack!
Isaiah 40:11 says “He will feed His flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in
his arms, holding them close to His heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep
with their young.”
The shepherd defends his flock in all danger. Often he had to risk his own safety,
even his life, in protecting his sheep. Just so, the Good Shepherd gives His life —
for His sheep!
Christ’s sheep are absolutely safe in His keeping. “I give unto them eternal life,”
He said; “and they will never perish — ever! No one will snatch them out of My
hand!” Then at last, He will bring His own all safely home, “and they shall become
one flock — with one Shepherd!”