Psalm 23:1

If you missed the first post, go back and check it out.  Some great info on the characteristics of sheep. Now, on to verse 1...

The Lord is my shepherd.

Rolls off my tongue easily.  But what is David the shepherd boy...and our Lord...communicating to us in this phrase? Just a nice feeling?  A sweet metaphor? 
Here are some thoughts:
1.  The LORD - In the Bible, the word "Lord"is used a couple of different ways in reference to God.  When spelled "The Lord", it is a translation of the name "Adonai" and means "Lord". When it is written in all caps as "The LORD", it is a translation of the most sacred and holy name YHWH.  Although it is pronounced "Yahweh", it was regarded by the Jews with such reverence that they would not even speak it, thus it is written without any vowels.

(Note: The word Jehovah originated from an attempt to pronounce the consonants YHWH with the vowels from the word adonai. In the oldest Hebrew texts there are no vowels. So it is easy to see how this would happen since whenever YHWH occurred in the text, the word adonai was pronounced by the reverent Jew.) Note taken from writings of John Piper

What does YHWH or Yahweh or Jehovah or The LORD mean?  And why is it significant?  When God called Himself YHWH, He explained to Moses "I AM WHO I AM." (Ex. 3:13-15) This conveys to us that God exists solely of Himself -- He was not created.  HE JUST IS.  No, I cannot explain that.  Which is wonderful.  Who would want to worship a God that could be explained?  Jehovah exists, has always existed, and will always exist.  And He is always the same. He doesn't change based on circumstances or opinions or whims.  HE IS.
 This powerful, preeminent LORD is my shepherd and He requires not only my worship but also my submission.  The Great I AM is my shepherd and my will yields to Him.

2. The Lord is my shepherd. That means that HE is the one in charge. He is the one responsible for my care, for attending to my needs, for my protection, for my guidance.( Hopefully, that makes us take some pressure off pastors! They are not supposed to carry all our loads, make all our decisions, or see that we have all the spiritual food we need. This verse implies that our spiritual leaders are more like the "sheep-leaders" and the best thing they can do for us is to set the example of how to follow The Shepherd.  I Corinthians 11:1 - Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ) This powerful, preeminent, holy One -- He personally - is my shepherd. He never sleeps or slumbers - He is intensely aware of my needs and my fears.  And He is always at work on my behalf.  Whether I can see that or not, He is.  If I get lost or head towards dangerous pastures, He comes after me and brings me back. He loves me.
 Jesus links this idea in the Old Testament to Himself in  the Gospel of John when He  explains that HE is the GOOD SHEPHERD.  He not only cares for His sheep, but He also lays down His life for them.  Literally.

3. The Lord is my shepherd. I am not my own shepherd.  He is mine.  I belong to Him. If we are indeed His sheep, then we recognize His voice and follow where He says to go, do what He says to do.  Sometimes that is hard. Thanks be to God that He is so good that He protects me from my enemy -- who sometimes is my own stubborn, gullible, dumb self.

Next time we will unpack what it means to "not want".