The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1 (ESV)

The Hebrew word used for LORD in this verse is Jehovah. Jehovah is the Jewish national name for God, thus it appears in all caps in the scriptures. Jehovah means self-existent or eternal. So, King David is saying that the one who does not need anything to exist (and never has), the one who has always existed (not created) and always will—that person is our shepherd.

Shepherd means to tend a flock. Therefore this person, (who is spirit and the Spirit; John 4:24, 2 Corinthians 3:18), who has always existed and doesn’t need anything to sustain his existence is the one who cares (tends) for us. We are in his flock provided we have believed in his Son.

Jesus, the Son, said, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 ESV) 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. (John 10:14-15 ESV) The LORD (Jehovah) in Psalms 23:1 is the shepherd. Jesus is the shepherd in John 10. And Jesus said that there is only one shepherd and one flock (John 10:16) and that he and his Father are one (John 10:30).

Isaiah prophesied, Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:10-11 ESV)

The Jews had no doubt that Jesus claimed to be Jehovah. They accused him of blasphemy and were going to stone him (John 10:33). Therefore, this could only mean that the self-existent, eternal one became flesh in the form of the Son (John 1:14), Jesus Christ, who called himself the Good Shepherd.

Jesus performed the ultimate act of tending his flock by laying down his life. He willingly died and rose again that his flock might live (John 10:18). The writer of Hebrews referred to Jesus as the great shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant (Hebrews 13:20). In other words he was the great shepherd on the basis of shedding his blood (giving up his life) for the salvation of his sheep. Peter said of Jesus, He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:24-25 ESV)

Jesus has a special relationship with his sheep. He knows them and they know his voice and follow him (John 10:27). He gives his sheep eternal life and no one is able to remove them from the flock (John 10:28-30). The safest place to be in this life and the next is in the flock of Jehovah.

Is the LORD Jesus your shepherd? Are you in his flock?

Scriptures for meditation:
Psalm 80:1
Isaiah 53:6
Matthew 2:6
John 10:3-4
1 Peter 5:4

Copyright © 2017 Steve Pruitt/