The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. Psalm 23:1.
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. John 10:11.
Today your LORD (יהוה) God (אלהים) says:
There are many ways to which I liken My relationship with you, but there are four principal recurring themes: a parent with his child, a vine with its branches, a bridegroom with his bride (the marriage covenant), and a shepherd with his sheep. And it is upon the foundation of these that My Names build up the benefits—forgiveness, healing, provision, protection, deliverance, redemption, salvation, righteousness, sanctification, direction, and eternal life.
Today we continue our series of instructions on knowing Me by knowing My Name with Life Lesson No. 16: “The LORD is My Shepherd (יהוה רעי).” A shepherd cares for his sheep. He takes them to green pastures to feed and beside streams of clean, pure water to drink. He protects them from wolves and wild beasts, he snatches them from the lion’s mouth. He binds up their wounds for healing and carries the lambs in his bosom. He guides and leads them. He feeds them. He keeps them under his watchful eye and quickly seeks the wandering or lost ones to rescue them and bring them back. He gives them an abundant life free from anxiety and fear. He is their champion.
The word translated as “shepherd” in the Hebrew language it was originally written in is the word “raah (רָעָה),” pronounced “raw-aw,” and it means to pasture, tend, graze and you will often see it translated “feed” in the context of shepherding. When you read that the shepherd feeds his flock, “shepherd” and “feed” are the same word, רָעָה. You will recall that Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep. As a pastor, which I call a shepherd of My people, you are to feed them with My Word so they grow thereby into the fullness of the maturity of Christ as His body on earth.
The first one to describe Me as a shepherd was Jacob, who was a shepherd himself and knew the long hours and the hard work involved in keeping a flock. He said about Me, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel (heavenly messenger) who has redeemed me from all evil.” Genesis 48:15-16.
The next one to describe Me as his shepherd was David, and he too had been a shepherd of his father’s sheep and knew the dedication he had given it, even to fighting off a lion and a bear. And I called him from shepherding his father’s sheep to being the shepherd of My people Israel. I said to him, “You shall shepherd My people Israel, and you shall be prince over My people Israel.” 1 Chronicles 11:2.
My prophets later sometimes referred to Me as a shepherd, but it was to the prophet Ezekiel, when their leaders were misleading My people and the people had been conquered and had gone into exile, that I revealed the greatness of My relationship to My people under the Name of Shepherd. I revealed to him what was in My heart. But you will find a very interesting facet of this message to My prophet. When I speak of the shepherding of My people, it is Adonai YHWH speaking of doing the duties of the Shepherd. It is translated as Lord God, but actually it should be Lord LORD to be in line with translations elsewhere of Adonai and YHWH, and you know that “Lord” put in lower case in translations, in Hebrew is “Adonai,” which refers to God and man. And Jesus told you who that great good Shepherd I was speaking of is, yes, Jesus is the good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep so they could have abundant life now and eternal life as well. We partner and shepherd together. He is the arm I extend to earth to gather the lambs in My bosom and to feed My sheep with My Word and also with provision for their physical needs.
And thus, you will read it put this way, “For thus says the Lord (Adonai) God (YHWH), “I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd cares for his flock in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture. I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord (Adonai) God (YHWH), “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.” Ezekiel 34:11-16. I have entrusted all judgment to My Son for He is God and Man.
But then you will find I alone speak, LORD, as follows: “Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and He will feed them; He will feed them Himself and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken.” Ezekiel 34:23-24. I spoke this many years after David had died. Jesus, according to the flesh is a son of David, but according to the Spirit, He is My Son and He is One God with Me. And I continue, “I will make a covenant of peace with them and I will make them and the places around My holy mountain a blessing. And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. Ezekiel 34:25-26. Then you will know that I, the LORD (YHWH) their God (Elohim), am with you, and that you are My people; for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God,” declares the Lord (Adonai) LORD (YHWH). Ezekiel 34:30-31. Jesus only said the Words I told Him and did the works I showed Him.
I designated Jesus to be your good shepherd from everlasting to everlasting. I told My prophet Micah, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel. And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. This One will be our peace.” Micah 5:2-5. This is not just for His time in the flesh, it is a forever assignment to the Prince of Peace, the great good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep. For I, the God of peace, brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus your Lord, and in Him I equip you in every good thing to do My glorious will, as I work in you that which is pleasing and perfect before Me, through Jesus Christ, in whom you share in My glory forever and ever. Hebrews 13:20-21.
And you will find Him as your Shepherd even in My heavenly Kingdom, shepherding you in before My throne as My little flock to whom it has pleased Me to give My Kingdom. And you will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on you, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be your shepherd and will guide you to springs of the water of life; and I will wipe every tear from your eyes. Revelation 7:16-17.
David knew Me as shepherd, David described the relationship with Me as Shepherd in Psalm 23. The Psalm of David before Psalm 23, that is, Psalm 22, is a prophecy of Jesus on the cross, giving the details of His anguish and pain in fulfilling your redemption and salvation from sin and the curse of the Law by going down to the dust of death in your place, and Psalm 23 is of the Good Shepherd whom I raised from the dead by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus, your Lord.
And what did David tell you that his Shepherd does for him? You would do well to consider the wonderful relationship you have with Me as your Shepherd, the eternal assignment I have given to My Son to be your good Shepherd here in this life and hereafter for eternity. David sang, and you would be wise to sing and declare it with him, for it is not only a description but a faith declaration that will bring the results into your life as it did into David’s life, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the dark valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever (for length of days).” Psalm 23:1-6. This Psalm took David from hiding in caves from Saul to ruling as the shepherd of Israel from his magnificent royal palace. I Myself built David a house, and put a Prince of his line, according to the flesh, to be ruling from David’s throne forever as He shepherds all people to eternal life.
I have made Jesus your Shepherd. And Jesus Himself tells you what that means, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
Jesus told those who did not believe in Him that they did not believe because they were not of His sheep. His sheep hear His voice, and He knows them, and they follow Him; and He gives eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of His hand. And when you are in His hand, you are enfolded in My hand as well for it is by My doing that you are in Christ Jesus, for after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, I sealed you in Him with the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13, and I AM greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My hand. Jesus and I are One. And when you are in Him, you are One with Me and Him in the Spirit of promise.
And when I seal you in Christ, I give you into His care as your good Shepherd and great High Priest, and all that I give Him, I command Him not to lose but to raise you up on the Last Day. John 6:39-40. And that is what the parable of the shepherd going after the lost sheep until he finds it and then carries it home is all about. Luke 15:3-7. Once I have given you over to Him, He will never let you stray but will go to bring you back to Me from where you’ve gone astray. And what does He say: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. He will lead you to green pastures where you will lie down and rest by the healing life-giving water as He restores your soul. Psalm 23 fulfilled in Jesus, your great good Shepherd who ever lives to guide you, care for you, bless you, protect you, refresh and restore you, get you through dark valleys, and set a magnificent table of plenty before you as I anoint you with His anointing of joy and pour the Holy Spirit into the vessel of your heart until your cup overflows. And where is your good Shepherd taking you? To dwell in My house with Me, your Father, forever.
I love you. I AM your Shepherd, I AM your guide, your life can be wondrous with Me at your side, come to Me, run to Me, truth I’ll impart you will gain wisdom and peace in your heart! Soaring with Me on the heights of the sky! Sharing the secrets of God the Most High! Enjoying the good things I put in the earth, and gaining Heaven by your new birth. I, the LORD, am your Shepherd.