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?