My Shepherd will supply my need:
Jehovah is His Name;
In pastures fresh He makes me feed,
Beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back
When I forsake His ways,
And leads me, for His mercy’s sake,
In paths of truth and grace.
Our God is the Creator over all the earth. “…he is before all things, and by him all things exist” (Colossians 1: 17). He is the great King “of all the earth” (Psalm 47:7), the Lord above all other lords (Psalm 96:4). He is the high and mighty One, the Ruler of the universe; He is God.
And yet, this powerful and infinite God, Whose magnitude I cannot even begin to comprehend, has concerned Himself with me! This great King, this mighty Lord, has also become my Father and Savior. He has chosen to condescend from His heavenly glory to love earthly, sinful me, to know me, and to care for me.
It is important if we want to follow the Shepherd, that we know the Shepherd. “I am the good shepherd, and know my [sheep], and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14, 15) If we want to have a relationship with Him, we need to know His majesty, His grace, and the things that give Him pleasure.
An understanding of the majesty and sovereignty of God gives us a “big picture” image of all that God is.
Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great
power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: Thou
shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the
fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God,
the LORD of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine
eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according
to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 32:17-19)
The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with
strength, [wherewith] he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that
it cannot be moved. (Psalm 93:1)
Knowing our Shepherd as the Creator and Ruler of the earth is vital to following Him. If God was not sovereign, how could we fully trust in His guidance? Furthermore, His sovereignty demands our submission. He owns us, He owns the world – I belong to Him, my life is in His hands. If God promises to take care of me, I can believe it because His promises can never fail.
Knowing our Shepherd as a mighty King also leads to the realization of the magnitude of His grace in desiring and fulfilling the salvation of lowly sinners. Just as it is by God’s sovereignty that we have been created, it is by His grace that we live each day. “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
The amazing grace of my Lord, Who became my Savior, simply overwhelms me. It is difficult for me to comprehend how He can look on me, in all my sinfulness and imperfections, and desire me to be His own; how He left the splendor of heaven to take on my sin, dying to save my unworthy life; how He everyday perseveres with me despite my failings and carries me when I am took weak to keep going.
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was
rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be
rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his
own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed,
and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to
the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his
mouth. (Isaiah 53:6,7)
Like a gentle loving shepherd, God seeks us when we stray and ever so patiently guides us back. Like an unblemished lamb, Jesus gave His life for the forgiveness of our sins. Isn’t the grace wondrous beyond comprehension?
For sheep of such a Shepherd, we should desire to please Him and learn what it is God desires of us. Psalm 100 gives us the duties (or privileges!) we can assume after we understand our role as sheep of God’s pasture:
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye
that the LORD he [is] God: [it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves;
[we are] his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with
thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and]
bless his name.
Service, thanksgiving, and praise are what our Shepherd desires of us and these should be the natural outflow of a Christian’s heart! When I think of the majesty of the Lord, I want to devote my life to His service; when I think on the abundant grace lavished on me, my heart is full of thanksgiving and praise for the One Who perfects my weaknesses.
This is the Shepherd we serve! He is the Maker of all the earth and He wants a relationship with the work of His hands. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11). He leads us and feeds us by His holy Word and shows mercy time and time again. When we are weak, He carries us on and when we stray, He guides us back. What a blessing to be a sheep of His pasture!
The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be my abode,
And all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest,
But like a child at home.