The 23rd Psalm is one of the more recognized sections of Scripture, maybe the most recognized. It is not cluttered with poetic rhymes. Instead, the psalmist simply states how God functions as a Shepherd to His flock. Believers are commonly compared to sheep in Scripture, so it makes sense that this most beloved psalm would carry that idea. But why do we need a good Shepherd?
We need the Shepherd for daily Provisions
Sheep need to eat daily to stay healthy. Some animals, like snakes, camels, sharks, and spiders can go extended time without eating, but not sheep. One sign that a sheep is unhealthy is a loss of appetite because they will go to great lengths to eat. One flock in Great Britain was observed laying down on their sides and rolling over a cattle guard so they could get to some choice vegetation.
As believers, we need daily spiritual food to stay healthy. God prepares that daily provision through His Word. Through His Word we discover how to stand against our enemy. He prepares just what we need for that day!
We need the Shepherd for Protection
Sheep have no defenses. Wolves, foxes, bobcats, mountain lions, and bears are lurking in the shadows armed with claws, teeth, and speed. A lamb is no match for any of these predators and both the lamb and the predators know it. The shepherd is the one who stands in the way as protector. David had killed both a lion and a bear in defense of his sheep.
We too are vulnerable. We have the flock, but that just means another lamb was attacked instead of us… today. The only protection we really have is the Shepherd.
We need the Shepherd to lead us on the Path
Sheep are very social and will follow the flock no matter where it takes them. In a way, this is actually a different form of protection….from themselves. Sheep follow other sheep and that can be dangerous. They need to be led to safety and to quiet waters (remember they are covered with wool and wet wool sinks).
We are prone to follow as well, and need a shepherd who will keep us on the right path. We too need quiet waters in the rushing stream of life and only the Shepherd can provide that quiet.
What other reasons would you add to this list? Why do you need the Shepherd?
Peggy Vass says
These Leaders Extras are so helpful as I prepare to teach my adult Sunday School Class. It gives me new insight as I study. Thank you for the work you do for our Lord.
Responded by direct email. -Dwayne
Matt Lawrence says
I am thankful for this resource. I share it with my class each week at mid-week to encourage them to think about the lesson. It is also a good reminder of the value of being Southern Baptist to have this Lifeway resource week by week. Thank you!
Responded by direct email. -Dwayne
“This flocking/following behavior of Believers has been the cause of human misery since God’s revelation of Himself to the species. The Good Shepherd has always been among us, but so have strong-willed, self-serving individuals who have (many times) led human society off the cliff. Our protection lies in making sure we are following the Shepherd, not another sheep. It requires that we look and listen carefully. Your article is a great reminder: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand” (John 10).”
Excerpt From: Mike Stair. “The World’s Favorite Bible Verses.”
Dwayne McCrary says
Thanks for the comment and for reading our blog.