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With New Testament Eyes: 52 - The Lord is my Shepherd

By Henry Mahan


      Psalm 23

      Many have tried to determine when David wrote this Psalm.

      Was it when he was a shepherd? or when he fled from Saul? or when he was peacefully settled on Israel's throne? or when he was in the sunset years and contemplated the eternal house of the Lord? No one knows; but in the Scriptures it follows the 22nd Psalm, which is 'The Psalm of the cross.' It is only after we have read and understood, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' that we can truthfully say, 'The Lord is my shepherd.' The Lord must purchase the sheep of whom he is the shepherd (John 10:14-18).

      v. 1. 'The Lord (Jesus Christ) is my shepherd.' He is the Lord of lords and King of kings. His Lordship is based on his ownership (John 3:35; Col. 1: 16-18). He is Lord by divine decree (Psalm 2:6; Heb. 1:2; Phil. 2:9-11). He is Lord by death (Rom. 14:9). He is my Lord now by faith (Rom. 10:9-10).

      'The Lord (Jesus Christ) is my shepherd.' He is (no if, maybe, or perhaps about it) MY shepherd. He owns me, for the Father gave me to him from all eternity (John. 6:37-39). He loves me and bought me by his blood (1 Cor. 6:20). He is the great shepherd of the sheep (Heb. 13:20). He is the chief shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). He is the good shepherd (John 10:11). 'I shall not want.' I may be the weakest of the sheep, but I shall not want! I may be the dumbest, I may wander and stray, I may grow old and feeble; but I shall not want! I may not have all that I wish, but I shall not want! I may endure sickness and sorrow, walk the valley of death, and stand before God's awful throne; but I shall not want, for the Lord is my shepherd! I shall not want for any good thing, for he is able to save (Heb. 7:25).

      He is able to keep that which I have committed to him (2 Tim. 1:12). He is able to present me faultless before the throne (Jude 24-25), and he is able to raise my vile body in that day (Phil. 3:20-21).

      v. 2. I shall not want for rest, for 'he maketh me to lie down in green pastures.' I have no reason to be fearful nor afraid of my enemies, of the curse of the law, nor of death and judgment. I need not stand ready to flee, but can lie down in the green pastures of his word and rest (Matt. 11:28-29).

      I shall not want for peace, for 'He leadeth me beside the still waters.' Our lives are made up of two parts--thoughts and deeds, or meditation and activity. Blessed is the person who can say in both areas, 'The Lord is my shepherd.' I rest in my mind and soul, fed by his word and assured by his promises; and I walk beside calm waters. Trials of life are pictured as deep water, troubled waters, and waves of the sea; but my shepherd has calmed the troubled sea, and even trials are for my good (Rom. 8:28).

      v. 3. I shall not want for redemption and forgiveness, for 'He restoreth my soul.' He restored it to life, for in Adam I died (1 Cor. 15:21-22). He restored it to purity (Rom. 5:19). He restored it to God (2 Cor. 5:19). He restored my soul and body to power and glory to reign with him (1 Cor. 15: 51-57)

      'He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.' It is not my nature to know the path of righteousness, nor to FIND it, nor to recognize it, nor to walk therein. But he leads me there, for it is his path. He made me righteous before God and leads me in that path both to love it and to walk in it (Rom. 3:21-26; Rom. 10:1-4). He leads me in paths of righteousness for 'his name's sake;' that is, for his glory and the praise of his grace (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14). I shall not want for holiness.

      v. 4. I shall not want for companionship nor comfort, for 'Thou art with me,' and, 'thy rod and staff they comfort me.' Most everyone applies 'the valley of the shadow of death' to the time of physical death, but I believe this valley of death through which we walk is our entire journey through this world. It is called a valley of death because the fall of Adam put the stamp of death on everything here. We are walking through this world; it is not our dwelling place; and it is called the shadow of death because Christ has removed the substance of death and only a shadow remains. A shadow is there but cannot hurt nor destroy. 'I fear no evil.' He did not say the evil is not there; it is, but we do not fear because Christ is with us! Where the sheep are, the shepherd is! 'Lo, I am with you always.'

      Some say 'the rod and staff' are correction and chastisement, which is surely a comfort; for 'Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth' (Heb. 12:6-7). Some say the rod and staff are for numbering the sheep as they pass under it. Others say the rod and staff are symbols of his sovereignty, direction, and defense. He rules the flock, defends the flock, and directs the flock where he would have them go. Perhaps all are meant, for all are comforting.

      v. 5. I shall not want for provisions even in the presence of my enemies, for my shepherd shall supply all my needs (Phil. 4:19).

      The believer is not without enemies (Eph. 6:12). He would not be like his Lord if he did not have enemies (John 15:17-20). Our enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil; but he fully sets the table (nothing lacking). There is no hurry, no confusion; we sit down with our Lord and feast as though the enemy did not even exist (Isa. 26:3-4).

      v. 6. I shall not want for anything in this life nor in the life to come, for 'his goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.' This is neither presumption nor a claim to personal worth or merit. It is faith and confidence in the Lord Jesus, Who is the great shepherd, the chief shepherd, and the good shepherd.

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant

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