Psalm 23 is one of the most beloved psalms in the Bible. It is written by King David, when he was a young man, when he was taking care of his father’s flock. The first thing he says is that he is a sheep who has a shepherd. He is not alone in this world. All the great leaders in the Bible were shepherds at heart (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, King David, and others). In Hebrew, the word ‘Shepherd’ is ‘El Rohi’. Jesus is my El Rohi! I belong to God! Because I am a child of God, ‘I shall not want’. This describes total contentment. To be content it means that you are happy, you are satisfied at this present moment. You may pray for bigger and better things, but if they come or not, you are happy now! This mysterious peace, to be happy at this present moment, is a secret and a special wonderful blessing (Phil 4:11-13). The sheep of El Rohi is satisfied. The shepherd makes her to lie down in green pastures. Sheep refuse to sleep if wild animals make noises around. They are shy and easily scared. They can run and stampede one another. The shepherd kills the enemies so that the sheep can rest. They cannot lie down and rest if parasites itch them or if they are hungry or thirsty. The Shepherd makes sure that his sheep is free from all sicknesses. He uses expensive chemicals to wash the sheep so that they are clean and happy. He will not rest until the sheep are able to rest. The reward of the shepherd is to see his sheep well fed and resting happily. When the sheep is thirsty, he leads them to ‘still waters’. Thirst is a powerful force. If the shepherd does not lead them to drink water from clean wells or clean water springs, the sheep will go astray and will drink dirty water from polluted lakes. Spiritually, our thirst is satisfied only by God’s Word. In the absence of that, people go to the world to satisfy their lusts thru sexual immorality or wild living. The sheep wake up very early in the morning to eat grass covered with the dew. The shepherd must wake up with them, to open the door for them. Spiritual lesson: Any pastor, husband or father who is lazy, who loves sleep, will not be a good leader. A Christian leader must have the heart of a shepherd. He must be a servant king. He must be sensitive to the needs of the people he leads. He must wake up early morning to have his quiet time, to be able to lead his flock.
The Shepherd ‘restores my soul’. Some sheep, they get too fat or they have too much wool. Then they get into trouble. They fall under the weight and go upside down. They are called ‘cast sheep’. Without help, they will die. The shepherd must always count his sheep. If anyone is missing, he will leave the ninety-nine, to look for the one hundredth cast down sheep, to restore her back on her feet. A fat sheep or one with too much wool stands for pride. Be careful and humble yourself! The shepherd leads the flock thru the valley of the shadow of death. Generally, the sheep love their comfort zones. If the shepherd does not lead them to new places, they will eat all the grass in that one spot and later, die of hunger. This valley is to lead the flock up, towards the mountains. It is not a valley of death but there is a shadow of danger on it. Wild animals can attack; stones can fall in the valley and injure the sheep. This valley is not a place to settle. You are going thru it. On the mountain tops you see glory. In the valley, there is pain, delays, disasters, disappointments and loss. But the shepherd leads on! At the end of this valley, the flock arrives at a cool place up on the mountain. That is where there is ‘a table set in the presence of the enemies’. It is ‘mountain a tableland’ of cool fresh grass, clean water springs, colorful flowers, and clean air. This is like a ‘holiday resort’ for the sheep. That is the time when they fall in love and get pregnant. It is a time of fruitfulness and harvest. The cup of anointing oil runs over. There is overflow of blessing! Spiritually, right now, we are passing thru the valley towards the place of blessing! We have done more than half of the road. Be encouraged! Finally, we declare: ‘Surely your goodness and mercy will follow us, all the days of our lives, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever!’ In the presence of Jesus, my El Rohi, I say: “I am saved! I am safe! I am healed! I am loved! I am blessed! I am free! I am fruitful! I have found peace, protection, satisfaction, and destiny fulfilled!’ Halleluiah!