“Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it? Then when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing. (Luke 15:4–5 NET)
The 23rd Psalm is one of the most familiar and dearest passages of the Bible. It is a beautiful poem about God, the shepherd, and his people, the sheep, that speaks to humanity’s desires and fears. As such, it is a lovely reminder that the LORD is a merciful and compassionate God. Furthermore, it reminds us that, like sheep, we depend on God’s care and provision for survival. (2)
Like a shepherd he tends his flock; he gathers up the lambs with his arm; he carries them close to his heart; he leads the ewes along. (Isaiah 40:11 NET)
The Good Shepherd
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who on the cross took for us the penalty of sin.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He takes me to lush pastures, he leads me to refreshing water. He restores my strength. He leads me down the right paths for the sake of his reputation. (Psalm 23:1–3 NET)
The Lord is…
The Lord (Yahweh, HEB, God’s personal name) has been, IS, and always will be, for He is the eternal, unchangeable, immutable God. He is the “I am,” not just the “I was” or “I will be.” (3)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. [John 1:1 NET]
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I am!” (John 8:58 NET)
The “I am” in the Greek is ἐγώ (I) εἰμι (I am). What a name! (1) What a declaration! Translated, Jesus said, I, I am, ontologically meaning He is the one that has always existed and the source of all reality, existence, meaning, and purpose in life! (3)
The Hebrew word for shepherd used here is Rohi. That is, the Shepherd is none other than Yahweh-Rohi!
Yahweh-Rohi (Ro’eh) – The Lord My Shepherd (Psalms 23:1. Genesis 48:15,16. Psalms 95:7)
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): John 10:11. Hebrews 13:20. Revelation 7:17)
Furthermore, Jesus revealed that He is the Yahweh-Rohi identified in the Old Covenant.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 NET)
Sheep are not the most intelligent of God’s creatures; however, sheep can recognize their shepherd and have a simple relationship with them. Sheep are docile creatures that are capable of giving and receiving affection. However, they need someone to gather them, lead them to green pastures, and defend them against wolves. God, as our shepherd, does this for us, His sheep, and we are safe in his loving care.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36 NET)
And you, my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are my people, and I am your God, declares the sovereign Lord.’ ” (Ezekiel 34:31 NET)
Come! Let’s bow down and worship! Let’s kneel before the Lord, our creator! For he is our God; we are the people of his pasture, the sheep he owns. Today, if only you would obey him! (Psalm 95:6,7 NET)
Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us and we belong to him; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3 NET)
Furthermore, care for the sheep means ownership of the sheep. Shepherds often mark their sheep with a notch cut in the ear or by some other distinguishing mark. (2)
How does the world know that we are owned by the Good Shepherd?
Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 NET)
The world will know that we are sheep that belong to the Good Shepherd by our love for one another! (1) A love that is communicated not just in words but also deed and truth.
Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth. (1 John 3:18 NET)
Christians that realize they have been forgiven much will love Jesus and others much (John 13:34,35). Consequently, we Christians need to understand that all have been forgiven of a debt we could not pay? (1) We need to understand that NONE has been forgiven of a little sin debt (1) because all of us have large sin debts that are humanly impossible for us to pay. (Psalms 25:11)
Furthermore, we Christians must demonstrate a love that endures persecutions and afflictions (1) in a manner that brings glory to Jesus, in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit (1), thereby glorifying our Heavenly Father.
We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed, always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:8–10 NET)
From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. (Galatians 6:17 NET)
How do you know if you are owned by the Good Shepherd?
The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (John 10:3 NET)
My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” (John 10:27–30 NET)
Those that know Jesus, the Good Shepherd, as their personal Lord and Savior hear His voice (1). That’s how you know! (1) When you say, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” then the Shepherd says, “You are my sheep.” And a sheep is someone who hears His voice, someone that He knows, someone that follows Him. Furthermore, they obey the voice of the Good Shepherd.
The Good Shepherd laid down His life (1) bearing our sin and suffering in our place to free us His sheep, the object of His love, from sin and its effects.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not a shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and runs away. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. Because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep, he runs away. “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold. I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice, so that there will be one flock and one shepherd.(John 10:11–16 NET)
No one has greater love than this—that one lays down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 NET)
All of us had wandered off like sheep; each of us had strayed off on his own path, but the Lord caused the sin of all of us to attack him. (Isaiah 53:6 NET)
All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it. (Psalm 22:29–31 NET)
Have you heard His voice? Have you received Him as your personal Savior and Lord? The relationship with the Shepherd is personal.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27 ESV)
Do you identify with the following scripture?
The one who belongs to God listens and responds to God’s words... (John 8:47 a NET)
Or perhaps this scripture?
...You don’t listen and respond, because you don’t belong to God.” (John 8:47 b NET)
Fools say to themselves, “There is no God.” They sin and commit evil deeds; none of them does what is right. (Psalm 53:1 NET)
This is the destiny of fools, and of those who approve of their philosophy. (Selah) They will travel to Sheol like sheep, with death as their shepherd. The godly will rule over them when the day of vindication dawns; Sheol will consume their bodies and they will no longer live in impressive houses. (Psalm 49:13–14 NET)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. (John 10:10 NET)
The Bible describes those that do not know God as fools. Furthermore, the Bible reveals that if you are not following the Good Shepherd, you are by default following the Death Shepherd leading you to eternal destruction in Hell (1).
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. (John 10:10 NET)
Realize the only way that you can say “The Lord is my Shepherd” is to say “The Shepherd is my Lord” (Romans 10:13).
…I lack nothing.
The Shepherd ensures that the deepest needs, helpful wants, and beneficial desires of the sheep are met. That is, the Shepherd is also Yahweh-Jireh!
Yahweh-Jireh (Yir’eh) – The Lord My Provider (Genesis 22:14)
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): 1 Corinthians 10:13. 1 Timothy 6:17),
Even young lions sometimes lack food and are hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:10 NET)
Nevertheless, sheep may develop a habit of wandering off the shepherd’s pastureland, searching for “greener pastures.” Realize, it is like sheep to wander and get lost.
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
Robert Robinson (1758)
Since Sheep have few defenses, safety in numbers is necessary for their survival. Consequently, a lone sheep is easy prey, and the watchful protection of a caring shepherd is crucial for these wandering sheep. Unfortunately, sheep do not protect themselves. If a wolf, lion, or leopard approaches the sheep, they just huddle together and wait to be devoured, hurt, or killed. Furthermore, stubborn sheep may teach other sheep of the herd to wander as well (1 Corinthians 15:33). (2)
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments. (Psalm 119:176 NET)
“Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it? Then when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing. Returning home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent. (Luke 15:4–7 NET)
He takes me to lush pastures,…
Sheep must be free from conflicts with other sheep, predators, pests, and hunger before they are willing to rest. The shepherd must find feeding grounds where the sheep are safe from these problems with plenty of green pastures where they can eat and rest safely. (2)
Note the personal pronoun used for the shepherd has now shifted to the third person singular “He” in verses two through three. Indicating the sheep has an awareness that God, the shepherd, is taking care of the sheep.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” (Matthew 11:28–30 NET)
But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4 NET)
But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” So the disciples began to say to one another, “No one brought him anything to eat, did they? ”Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to complete his work. (John 4:32–34 NET)
But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves. For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror. For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was. But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out—he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22–25 NET)
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:19–20 NET)
…He leads me to refreshing water.
O God, you are my God! I long for you! My soul thirsts for you, my flesh yearns for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1 NET)
Sheep need clean, clear, and freshwater to survive and thrive. However, since they are not good swimmers, they shy away from noisy and fast-moving water even without a heavy woolen coat. The Shepherd will lead the sheep to the refreshing still and quiet waters. (2)
Jesus replied, “Everyone who drinks some of this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks some of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13–14 NET)
Consequently, the Shepherd ensures that His sheep are free to rest and relax in His loving arms where they can peacefully feed on His word and drink deeply from His Spirit.
When worries threaten to overwhelm me, your soothing touch makes me happy. (Psalm 94:19 NET)
That is, the Shepherd is also Yahweh-Shalom!
Yahweh-Shalom – The Lord My Peace (Judges 6:24)
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): Philippians 4:6-9. 1 Thessalonians 5:23)
But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, so that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer foreigners and noncitizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, (Ephesians 2:13–19 NET)
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage. (John 14:27 NET)
Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7 NET)
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33 NET)
For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 NET)
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. (Psalm 131:2 ESV)
He restores my strength.
Sheep may become “cast,” stuck on their backs, unable to get up and helpless. A “downcast” or “cast down” sheep has rolled over into a depression and cannot right itself to stand because its center of gravity is off – sometimes because it’s pregnant or simply because it has a full fleece. Left in this condition, gasses start to build up in their abdomen, and they can die in a matter of hours. However, if you get them back up on their feet in time, then they will recover. Furthermore, cast sheep are also easy prey for wild animals. (2)
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:5 ESV)
But God, who consoles the downcast,... (2 Corinthians 7:6 NRSV)
The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14 NET)
The Lord gives sight to the blind. The Lord lifts up all who are bent over. The Lord loves the godly. (Psalm 146:8 NET)
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NET)
Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7 NET)
The Shepherd ensures that His sheep are healed (1) and made whole spirit, soul, and body. That is, the Shepherd is also Yahweh-Rapha!
Yahweh-Rapha (Rof’ekha ) – The Lord My Healer (Exodus 15:26. Psalm 30:2;103:3)
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): Matthew 4:24;8:16,17. Acts 10:38. 1 Peter 2:24).
But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. (Isaiah 53:4–5 NET)
When it was evening, many demon-possessed people were brought to him. He drove out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick. In this way what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet was fulfilled: “He took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.” (Matthew 8:16–17 NET)
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed. For you were going astray like sheep but now you have turned back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls. (1 Peter 2:24–25 NET)
Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23 NET)
He gives strength to those who are tired; to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy. Even youths get tired and weary; even strong young men clumsily stumble. But those who wait for the Lord’s help find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, they run without growing weary, they walk without getting tired. (Isaiah 40:31 NET)
Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16 NET)
Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, just as you are living according to the truth. I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are living according to the truth. (3 John 2–4 NET)
He leads me down the right paths for the sake of His reputation.
Sheep are creatures of habit and will follow the same trails until they become ruts. They will graze the same hills and pastures until they turn into desert wastelands. They will pollute their own ground until it is full of disease and parasites. By overgrazing, they will eventually destroy their own pastures. Consequentially, they must be led to new pastureland. Our Shepherd knows the best pasture and the best way to get there, and he will lead them because the sheep are His, and He is theirs. (2)
Give me understanding so that I might observe your law, and keep it with all my heart. Guide me in the path of your commands, for I delight to walk in it. (Psalm 119:34–35 NET)
Make me understand your ways, O Lord! Teach me your paths! Guide me into your truth and teach me. For you are the God who delivers me; on you I rely all day long. Remember your compassionate and faithful deeds, O Lord, for you have always acted in this manner. (Psalm 25:4–6 NET)
The Shepherd leads us His sheep down the right paths, those that lead to God the Father and His Kingdom (i.e., righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit Romans 14:17). That is, the Shepherd is also Yahweh-Tsidkenu!
Yahweh-Tsidkenu (Tsidqenu) – The Lord My Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6;33:16)
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): Matthew 20:26-28. John 13:12-14. Philippians 2:6,7)
So Jesus said to them again, “I tell you the solemn truth, I am the door for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:7–9 NET)
“Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13–14 NET)
Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 NET)
When he has brought all his own sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. (John 10:4 NET)
The Great Shepherd
Jesus is the Great Shepherd rising from the dead conquering the power of sin.
Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff reassure me. You prepare a feast before me in plain sight of my enemies. You refresh my head with oil; my cup is completely full. Surely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days,... (Psalm 23:4–6 a NET)
Note the personal pronoun used for the shepherd has now shifted to the second person singular “You.” Thus indicating the sheep have a more personal relationship with the Shepherd due to entering into the New Covenant sealed by the Great Shepherd’s blood (1).
Furthermore, there is also a shift from a sheep’s perspective to the perspective of a human. In the first part of the chapter, the imagery concentrates on pastures, still waters, and sheep paths. However, after verse four, the imagery centers on human things such as a table, anointing of the head, and an overflowing cup. This change follows the change that takes place in people and nations that embrace God as their shepherd. This recognition of our need for God, and his discipline, as a humanizing experience is one of the major themes throughout Scripture. Rejection of God as a dehumanizing experience (1) is also replete in Scripture (2)
Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me;
Sheep are creatures of habit. By overgrazing, they will eventually destroy their own pastures. They must be led to new pastureland. Only the shepherd knows the best pasture and the best way to get there, and he will lead them because the sheep are His, and He is theirs. (2)
Valleys on the way to the high pastureland often have the best grass because they contain water, and the sun has not caused the grass to be dried. However, they can also be places of dark danger for the sheep. “In addition to dangers from animals or outlaws, sheep traveling through a dark valley could be quickly swept away by a flash flood. Rain falling higher up in the Judean hills can quickly fill narrow gorges, destroying all life in the way.” (9) The sheep do not fear because they trust the Shepherd even when He appears to lead them into a dangerous and scary place. (2) They know the Shepherd would not take them somewhere that He has not already known, gone, and shown (Matthew 4:1-11).
Yet he protected the needy from oppression, and cared for his families like a flock of sheep. (Psalm 107:41 NET)
The Lord Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd has already gone before us into the Valley of Death to die in our place.
This is why the Father loves me—because I lay down my life, so that I may take it back again. No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again. This commandment I received from my Father.” (John 10:17–18 NET)
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14–15 NET)
The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8 NET)
Now when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will happen, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Corinthians 15:54–57 NET)
Now may the God of peace who by the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, equip you with every good thing to do his will, working in us what is pleasing before him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20–21 NET)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. (John 10:10 NET)
The Great Shepherd has passed through the Valley of Death before us, having conquered death and Satan, the thief, along with his fallen angels and demons, thus setting us His sheep free from the fear of death. Hallelujah! That is, the Shepherd is also Yahweh-Sabaoth!
Yahweh-Sabaoth (Tseva’oth) – The Creator, Divine Warrior and King, Lord of the Holy Angelic Army, the commander of the cosmic forces, and the head of the divine council. (1 Samuel 1:3,11)
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): Romans 9:29. Colossians 2:15. Revelation 11:16,17)
Look, the sovereign Lord comes as a victorious warrior; his military power establishes his rule. Look, his reward is with him; his prize goes before him. Like a shepherd he tends his flock; he gathers up the lambs with his arm; he carries them close to his heart; he leads the ewes along. (Isaiah 40:10–11 NET)
Look up, you gates! Rise up, you eternal doors! Then the majestic king will enter! Who is this majestic king? The Lord who is strong and mighty! The Lord who is mighty in battle! Look up, you gates! Rise up, you eternal doors! Then the majestic king will enter! Who is this majestic king? The Lord who commands armies! He is the majestic king! (Selah) (Psalm 24:7–10 NET)
In addition, the Shepherd is present with us as we go through the dark valleys of life! That is, the Shepherd is also Yahweh-Shammah!
Yahweh-Shammah – The Lord is Present (Ezekiel 48:35)
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): Revelation 21:3)
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world. Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:14–17 NET)
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! I strengthen you— yes, I help you— yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand! (Isaiah 41:10 NET)
When you pass through the waters, I am with you; when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you. (Isaiah 43:2 NET)
...“I will never leave you and I will never abandon you. ”So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5–6 NET)
Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20 NET)
… your rod and your staff reassure me.
When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are hurting yourself by kicking against the goads.’ (Acts 26:14 NET)
The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. (Ecclesiastes 12:11 NET)(cf. Acts 26:14)
“The rod and the staff were two essential tools for the shepherd. The shepherd carried a rod in his belt to protect the sheep. The staff served as support for the shepherd. It also was a symbol of authority. The Bible uses both tools as metaphors. Sometimes, rods are God’s tools for justice or punishment. Staffs symbolize people in authority or even the Messiah.” (2)
The Lord strengthens and protects me; I trust in him with all my heart. I am rescued and my heart is full of joy; I will sing to him in gratitude. The Lord strengthens his people; he protects and delivers his chosen king. Deliver your people! Empower the nation that belongs to you! Care for them like a shepherd and carry them in your arms at all times! (Psalm 28:7–9 NET)
Moses and Aaron were among his priests; Samuel was one of those who prayed to him. They prayed to the Lord and he answered them. He spoke to them from a pillar of cloud; they obeyed his regulations and the ordinance he gave them. O Lord our God, you answered them. They found you to be a forgiving God, but also one who punished their sinful deeds. (Psalm 99:6–8 NET)
Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. (Psalm 141:5 a ESV)
How blessed is the one whom you instruct, O Lord, the one whom you teach from your law, in order to protect him from times of trouble, until the wicked are destroyed. (Psalm 94:12,13 NET)
Although our spirit has been made perfect (1) when we were born again (Hebrews 12:23. Ezekiel 36:26) and indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-11); our soul is like the rough exterior of an ordinary rock that must be carefully polished (Romans 12:2. Philippians 2:12) until it conforms to the beauty of Christ already in our spirit (i.e., already inside the rock).
Then we, through our thoughts, words, and actions, say to God, “not thy, but my will be done” then He is obligated to honor our request since God will not override our free will. Consequently, God rightfully passes judgment (1) for suffering from Satan’s fallen world (1 John 5:19. Acts 26:18) to come into our lives. That is, God partially lifts the hedge of protection (1), allowing us to experience what we actually deserve based on our lack of Christ conformity and our many sins committed both knowingly and unknowingly.
That is, we enter the valley of the shadow, but not the substance, of death to shape our character into that of Christ (Romans 5:3,4. James 1:2-4), which includes the removal of pride (2 Corinthians 12:7). The suffering comes to break us, but God judged it right to come upon us to make us.
Sometimes it takes a deep hurt to feel a deep need for God
Enter the dark valley of the rock tumbler of God (1), where the rubbing of rocks against each other along with the polishing compounds cause our soul (our personality including our mind, emotions, and will) to be conformed to Christ who is within our spirit! (Isaiah 48:10. Proverbs 27:17. Colossians 1:27. 1 Peter 2:5) The sheep that have learned to suffer effectively (1) will have their character changed into that of Christ Jesus over their lifetime (Romans 5:3-5;8:29). (5)
God’s discipline is focused on mending broken relations not mending broken rules
We will not suffer more than we are able, and God has provided us a way out that we might endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13). If we turn to Him in the trial, yielding to His Rod and Staff, then God will cause it to work for our good (Romans 8:28). However, working to our good does not mean obtaining what we want or think we need but rather being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:17,18. Romans 8:29).
I know, Lord, that your regulations are just. You disciplined me because of your faithful devotion to me. May your loyal love console me, as you promised your servant. May I experience your compassion, so I might live! For I find delight in your law. (Psalm 119:75–77 NET)
And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? (Hebrews 12:5–7 NET)
Again, it is in the dark valley where we experience the storms in life which are used by God as His "Holy Rock Tumbler." Realize, the storms of life can either shape us or decimate us depending on if our lives are grounded in God's Word or Satan's World (Matthew 4:24-27).
Before I was afflicted I used to stray off, but now I keep your instructions. You are good and you do good. Teach me your statutes! ...It was good for me to suffer, so that I might learn your statutes. (Psalm 119:67,68,71 NET)
You prepare a feast before me in plain sight of my enemies.
The shepherd goes ahead of the sheep to remove poisonous plants from the plateau (aka “tableland”) and clear the watering holes of debris.
And surely, he drew you from the mouth of distress, to a wide place, unrestricted, and to the comfort of your table filled with rich food. (Job 36:16 NET)
The shepherd looks for signs of predators that often wait at the edges of the plateau for a chance to attack. The shepherd is on guard at all times to prevent the loss of His sheep. (2)
Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NET)
The Shepherd has prepared His table of remembrance (1) before His sheep in the presence of Satan and his minions. Realize this is not referring to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb as there will be no enemies present in Heaven when that occurs (Revelation 19:6-9). This table is none other than the Lord’s Table of the Eucharist, Communion, or Lord’s Supper on Earth during the Church age!
This table of the Lord serves to help us remember, as often as we eat of the BREAD that represents Jesus’ body that was bruised for our healing and drink of the CUP that represents the New Covenant sealed in Jesus’ BLOOD that was poured out for our remission and forgiveness of sin. That is, we must remember the reason for our Lord’s birth was His death, and what that subsequently provided is providing and will provide for us!
hen we partake of the bread and the wine (or grape juice), remember that Jesus in the PAST came to die for our sin to set us free from our slavery to Satan (Hebrews 2:14,15). He shed His blood (1) to provide remission for all of our past sins and forgiveness (1) for all of our present and future sins. His body was bruised for our healing (1 Peter 2:24. Matthew 8:16,17. Isaiah 53:4). Jesus the Shepherd is our one loaf (1 Corinthians 10:16,17), the genuine Bread of Life (Gr, zōḗ)(4) that came down from Heaven to give life (Gr, zōḗ) to the world! (John 6:32,33,35;6:48,51)
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who consumes me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors ate, but then later died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:53–58 NET)
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after he had given thanks he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, every time you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23–26 NET)
“The Lord in His death for us is
our Banner in victory
our Standard in life
our Ensign in testimony
our Sign to all
that He is the Triumphant Lord”
– Dr. F. E. Marsh
Each nation has a flag or banner that represents who they are and what they represent. God’s banner of love is over us at the Lord’s Table of Remembrance, declaring to all who see that the Lord is our God, and we are his people. (6) That is, the Shepherd is also Yahweh-Nissi!
Yahweh-Nissi – The Lord My Banner (Exodus 17:15. Isaiah 49:22).
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): John 13:35)
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. (Song of Songs 2:4 ESV)
You refresh my head with oil;
Flying insects or microscopic parasites often plague the sheep in the summer months. Middle Eastern shepherds used a mixture of olive oil, sulfur, and spices to anoint the sheep overall and especially around the head to ward off these pests. (2)
Realize, all that are born again have the anointing within them in the person of the Holy Spirit that dwells in our reborn perfect spirits (1 John 2:20,27. 2 Corinthians 1:21,22).
Jesus stated that the “anointing with the Holy Spirit” is synonymous with “Holy Spirit coming upon” someone (Luke 4:18. Luke 3:21-23). Furthermore, in the book of Acts, Luke identifies that this anointing with the Holy Spirit is what gave Jesus the power to do the works of God (Acts 10:38). It was God’s works done by Jesus that were the proof positive that God sent Him (John 5:36). Furthermore, Jesus states that the Holy Spirit (1) will come upon us and give us the power to continue His works (Acts 1:8). These works are proofs and identifying seal to the World that Jesus has sent us (John 14:11,12).
But it is God who establishes us together with you in Christ and who anointed us, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment. (2 Corinthians 1:21–22 NET)
And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)—when you believed in Christ — you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13–14 NET)
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30 NET)
That is, the Shepherd is also Yahweh-Mashach!
Yahweh-Mashach – The Lord who has anointed me. (Isaiah 61:1,2. Psalms 23:5)
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): 2 Corinthians 1:21,22. 1 John 2:20)
“God, you have set your seal upon us. You have anointed us and given us your Holy Spirit. Our hearts overflow with praise. You have turned our mourning into joy, and the oil of gladness fills our hearts.” (4)
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. (1 John 2:20 ESV)
However, not all born again have asked God for this anointing to be released to come upon them to give them the power for a much more effective ministry (1). That is, God does not have to send the Holy Spirit down from Heaven when you ask Him for the Holy Spirit to come upon or anoint you for ministry because He already dwells within a believer’s reborn spirit! (John 7:37-39)
Now as for you, the anointing that you received from him resides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, it is true and is not a lie. Just as it has taught you, you reside in him. (1 John 2:27 NET)
…my cup is completely full.
The shepherd provides more than the bare necessities to his sheep, being willing to take the sheep to better grazing and water sources even if it means great cost and peril.
If you have a willing attitude and obey, then you will again eat the good crops of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” Know for certain that the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 1:19–20 NET)
Nevertheless, the sheep must be yielded to the Shepherd in order to benefit from his desire to lead then.
What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31–32 NET)
Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you. (John 14:16–17 NET)
On the last day of the feast, the greatest day, Jesus stood up and shouted out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, ‘From within him will flow rivers of living water.’ ”(Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37–39 NET)
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. (Romans 8:9 NET)
On the day of Pentecost, the great mystery is revealed – God has planned to come and “tabernacle” within reborn man by filling them with the Holy Spirit (aka, the Spirit of Christ and the one that descended and rested upon Jesus like a Dove (1)) who is the source of living water! (Colossians 1:27)(cf. Philippians 1:19. 1 Peter 1:11)
That is, the Shepherd is also Mayim Hayim!
Mayim Hayim – Living Water (Jeremiah 2:13)
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): John 4:10,11,13,14. Revelation 22:17)
Realize, The Holy Spirit was already with the Apostles. Then at Pentecost, He came within them, filling them (John 14:16,17) and upon them anointing them with power to continue the ministry of Jesus, which is to destroy the works of the devil! (Matthew 10:5-8. Mark 16:17. Luke 4:18,19. John 14:12. Acts 1:8).
He came within them to cause their spirit that was dead to God to be reborn (Ezekiel 36:26-27). He then took up residence in their spirit to cause their transformation into Christlikeness (1) as they yielded to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19). This is the growing of the fruit of the Spirit (1) in our lives (John 7:37-39. Galatians 5:22,23).
Realize, the Holy Spirit is not a substance to fill an empty receptacle; He is a Person to lead another person, the believer. He does not fill a Christian’s life with Himself like you fill your gas tank with gas, nor does He control a person like a robot against their will. The expression filled with the Holy Spirit means the Holy Spirit is completely influencing the mind and spiritual heart of the believer. The result is that the Holy Spirit leads the yielded Christian’s mind and spiritual heart.
Surely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days,…
The Shepherd will pursue (or chase after) the sheep to ensure they are properly managed and cared for all their days, thus providing them security eternally.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” (John 10:28–30 NET)
The Lord passed by before him and proclaimed: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6–7 NET)
That is, the Shepherd is also Yahweh-Yahweh El Hanun!
Yahweh-Yahweh El Hanun– The Lord, the Lord, God of Compassion (Exodus 34:6,7. Joel 2:13. Jonah 4:2)
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): Matthew 9:36. Romans 2:4. James 5:11. 1 John 4:6)
The Lord is compassionate and merciful; he is patient and demonstrates great loyal love. (Psalm 103:8 NET)
But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and merciful God. You are patient and demonstrate great loyal love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15 NET)
For your loyal love extends beyond the sky, and your faithfulness reaches the clouds. (Psalm 108:4 NET)
Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:33–39 NET)
You visit the earth and give it rain; you make it rich and fertile with overflowing streams full of water. You provide grain for them, for you prepare the earth to yield its crops. You saturate its furrows, and soak its plowed ground. With rain showers you soften its soil, and make its crops grow. You crown the year with your good blessings, and you leave abundance in your wake. The pastures in the wilderness glisten with moisture, and the hills are clothed with joy. The meadows are clothed with sheep, and the valleys are covered with grain. They shout joyfully, yes, they sing. (Psalm 65:9–13 NET)
The properly managed sheep will increase the land's condition and have, following them, the blessing of transforming a wilderness into parkland and fertile fields. (2)
Loyal love and faithfulness meet; deliverance and peace greet each other with a kiss. Faithfulness grows from the ground, and deliverance looks down from the sky. Yes, the Lord will bestow his good blessings, and our land will yield its crops. Deliverance goes before him, and prepares a pathway for him. (Psalm 85:10–13 NET)
Jesus welcomed us without judgment, accepted without condition, and forgave without limit. (Psalms 103:13,14. Romans 2:4). In so doing, Jesus demonstrated that we are to communicate, through our words and actions, that we would rather have the present version of others in our life rather than to not have them in it at all.
Consequently, we are to welcome without judgment, accept without condition, and forgive others without limit, including to repent (1) and receive forgiveness (1) for ourselves without limit. That is, we are to love the sinner while hating the sin. (Jude 1:22,23)
This is Grace giving mercy (1) in compassion! In so doing, we are to have following us the sweet aroma of Christ as lives are blessed by the Good News of the Gospel.
Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children and live in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. (Ephesians 5:1,2 NET)
For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing—to the latter an odor from death to death, but to the former a fragrance from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? (2 Corinthians 2:15–16 NET)
The Chief Shepherd (The Shepherd of Shepherds)
Jesus is the Chief Shepherd returning to take us from the presence of sin.
and I will live in the Lord’s house for the rest of my life. (Psalm 23:6 b NET)
Note the return to calling the Shepherd “Lord.” The sheep initially only knew about the Lord, but now being cared for through the trials and tribulations, the sheep knows the Lord. Furthermore, there is also a shift from the present only to the present and future (i.e., for the rest of my life).
and I will live in the Lord’s house for the rest of my life.
The sheep started in the green pastures with still waters of the home ranch during the Spring. Then the shepherd leads the sheep up through the dark valley of the mountain passes to the high tablelands of the Summer range. Now Fall has come with its rain and sleet storms that force the sheep back down through the dark valley and back to the home ranch for the Winter with its cold rains and chilling winds. The house in the scriptural reference is not the home ranch but rather the flock of sheep. For wherever the Shepherd is with his sheep, they are at home.
One of the tenants of Christianity is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will one day return (1), gather those alive on Earth that truly believed in Him (i.e., His Church), and then move them to be with Him forevermore away from the presence of sin! (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)
That is, the Shepherd is also Yahweh-M’Kaddesh!
Yahweh-M’Kaddesh (M’kadishkhem) – The Lord Who Sets Me Apart (i.e., sanctifies me) (Leviticus 20:8. Exodus 31:13).
(New Covenant Equivalent(s): John 17:17-19. 1 Corinthians 6:11)
Typically there is confusion about Jesus’ return because of interpreting the scripture as if He will be coming back once, but in reality, it is two different times (1). The first time will be to “take away” the Church, thus rescuing it from the Great Tribulation (2). During this return, Jesus will come with all of the Christians that have died, from Adam to the time of His coming, and will not set foot on Earth but rather descend only into the lower atmosphere (3). Realize, to those that are lost (i.e., have not accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord), this return will be as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).
Now on the topic of times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night. Now when they are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape.(1 Thessalonians 5:1–3 NET)
Jesus will also come as a thief to those that are born again but do not live in obedience to God’s Word.
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write the following: “This is the solemn pronouncement of the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a reputation that you are alive, but in reality you are dead. Wake up then, and strengthen what remains that was about to die, because I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Therefore, remember what you received and heard, and obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come against you. (Revelation 3:1–3 NET)
However, to those born again and living obediently in the light of His Word (Psalms 119:130. Proverbs 6:23. John 8:12. 2 Peter 1:19. 1 John 1:7), Jesus’ first return will NOT be as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6).
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would. For you all are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness. So then we must not sleep as the rest, but must stay alert and sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:4–6 NET)
During this first return He will:
1. Resurrect and transform the decayed bodies of those that have already died into perfect glorified bodies. Then reunite these glorified bodies with the spirits of the saints that have come with Him from Heaven (saints referring to all that died from Adam to the time of His coming that had a personal relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son). (1 Corinthians 15:51,52) (1 Thessalonians 4:14-16)
2. Transform the bodies (i.e., pass them through death to glorification, thus complying with Hebrews 9:27) of the Christians that are alive on Earth at His appearing. That is, those that are alive and have a personal relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son. (1 Corinthians 15:52) (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
3. Draw both of these groups that have now have glorified bodies to Himself and transport them (us) to Heaven. (Philippians 3:20,21. 1 John 3:2) We Christians will then have to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, where our works will be judged (2 Corinthians 5:10. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
Then when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that never fades away. (1 Peter 5:4 NET)
This is a judgment for what we have done (i.e., our works) for determination of any reward and NOT a judgment of whether we can be with the Lord forever (the latter has already been decided based on our belief or faith in Jesus’ completed work on the cross) (Romans 10:9,10,13).
But as it is, they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:16 NET)
There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too. And you know the way where I am going.” (John 14:2–4 NET)
They will never go hungry or be thirsty again, and the sun will not beat down on them, nor any burning heat, because the Lamb in the middle of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:16–17 NET)
In conclusion, we are not to be complacent nor anxious about our Lord Jesus’ return. Rather we are to be faithful in doing what the Lord asks us to do moment by moment and living a life that will allow us to look forward to His return with unashamed joy (1 John 2:28).
Now what is sought in stewards is that one be found faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:2 NET)
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls and will give an account for their work. Let them do this with joy and not with complaints, for this would be no advantage for you. (Hebrews 13:17 NET)
Allow Jesus to “worry” about the bigger picture of bringing everything to its rightful end – Maranatha! (8)
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say: “Come!” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wants it take the water of life free of charge. (Revelation 22:17 NET) (Romans 13:8-14. Ephesians 5:1-18. 1 Corinthians 4:2. Luke 12:22-32. Philippians 4:6. Matthew 25:1-30).
Shout out praises to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with joy! Enter his presence with joyful singing! Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us and we belong to him; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give him thanks! Praise his name! For the Lord is good. His loyal love endures, and he is faithful through all generations. (Psalm 100:1–5 NET)
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who on the cross took for us the penalty of sin.
Jesus is the Great Shepherd rising from the dead conquering the power of sin.
Jesus is the Chief Shepherd returning to take us from the presence of sin.
The Five Phases of our Spiritual Growth within the 23rd Psalm (Philippians 3:10–11 NET):
- My aim is to know him (1), The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He takes me to lush pastures, he leads me to refreshing water. (Psalm 23:1,2 NET)
- to experience the power of his resurrection (1), He restores my strength. He leads me down the right paths for the sake of his reputation. (Psalm 23:3 NET)
- to share in his sufferings (1), Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff reassure me. (Psalm 23:4 NET)
- and be like him in his death (1), You prepare a feast before me in plain sight of my enemies. You refresh my head with oil; my cup is completely full. (Psalm 23:5 NET)
- and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead (1). Surely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days, and I will live in the Lord’s house for the rest of my life. (Psalm 23:6 NET)
(1) Select the link to open another article in a new tab with additional information.
(2) Publishing, R. (2008). Psalm 23. Torrance, CA: Rose Publishing.
(3) The “I am” in the Greek is ἐγώ (I) εἰμι (I am). What a declaration! Translated Jesus said, I (ἐγώ or ego) I am (εἰμι or eimi), meaning He is the one that has always existed and the source of all reality, existence, meaning, and purpose in life!
Jesus voluntarily set aside His positional authority, including possessions, as God but not His essence ontologically as God in order to become a man.
The compound word “ontology” combines “onto” (from the Greek ὄν, on, gen. ὄντος, ontos that means “being; that which is” and it is the present participle of the verb εἰμί, eimí, that means “to be or I am”) and -logia (from the Greek -λογία) that means “logical discourse”.
A simplified definition of ontology is “one’s view of reality and being.” Blaikie’s (as cited in Grix, 2004, p. 59) definition of ontology is the study of “claims and assumptions that are made about the nature of social reality, claims about what exists, what it looks like, what units make it up and how these units interact with each other.” In other words, if someone studies ontology they study what we mean when we say something exists.
(4) Vander Meulen, E. L., & Malda, B. D. (2005). His names are wonderful: getting to know God through his hebrew names (p. 60). Baltimore, MD: Messianic Jewish Publishers.
(5) Scriptures on the topic of suffering in a Believers life: Matthew 10:24,25. John 15:18-20;16:33. John 17:13-23. 1 Peter 4:1,12,13,16. Colossians 1:24. Philippians 1:29. James 1:2-4. 1 Thessalonians 1:6;3:3. 2 Timothy 1:8. 2 Timothy 3:12. Proverbs 17:3. Isaiah 48:10. Proverbs 27:21. Job 36:15. Acts 14:22;20:19,23. Galatians 6:17.
(6) Vander Meulen, E. L., & Malda, B. D. (2005). His names are wonderful: getting to know God through his hebrew names (p. 124). Baltimore, MD: Messianic Jewish Publishers.
(7) Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 20, p. 105). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
(8) Maranatha is the transliteration of the Koine Greek word that means “Our Lord Come!” (KJV 1 Corinthians 16:22). This word captures what our attitude should be concerning our Lord’s return. That is while we are not to be complacent or anxious about His return we should live such that if Jesus were to return at any moment we would be not ashamed but rather prepared, excited, and filled with joy to see Him! (1 John 2:28. Ephesians 5:15,16).
(9) Bolen, T. Photo Companion to the Bible: Psalm 23. Purchased from https://www.bibleplaces.com and used with permission.