I remember learning about all the names of God mentioned in Psalm 23. I was so touched by each one, but my favorite one to really ponder was Jehovah Rohi: The Lord is my Shepherd. What stood out to me then and does to this day is the word “my.” The Lord is my Shepherd. And yours. He’s Our Personal Shepherd.
A good shepherd knows his sheep by name and cares for each and every one of them. Like David, who fought lions to save one single sheep, God fights the enemy to save us from his evil clutches. And like the good shepherd, David, God will not give up until his lost lamb is safely back in the flock following the paths to the green pastures and the quiet waters.
I’m sure you’ve heard how innocently stupid sheep are. Sheep, though they have a brain, apparently don’t use it the way other animals do. They don’t know the right way to go or the right things to do; when abundance is only a few feet away, they’ll wrestle each other for the scraps found at the bottom of the trough. When their leader is missing, they’ll forget how to walk the path to the pasture. The very path they have taken for years. They go astray often. They are easy prey for the wild beasts.
The difference between a sheep’s understanding and human understanding can be likened to the difference between our understanding and God’s. Ours is limited. His is full and eternal. This is why God tells us to lean NOT on our own understanding. We are like sheep to God; we need a good shepherd to guide us and lead us. Speaking of Jesus, Matthew says,
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
Though we sometimes think we are intelligent and capable of running our own lives, our tendency is to go astray, be led astray, and fall into a pit or the mouth of a lion.
For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:25
Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:17
Let’s just admit it. We’re exactly like sheep. We so very much need a good Shepherd to care for, protect, and guide us.
He promises to provide everything we need in this life, in this moment. If we’ll only follow.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16
For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. Psalm 48:14