Is The Lord Really Your Shepherd?

herd of sheep grazing at sunset
Photo by Echo Chen on Unsplash

Psalms  23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

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"Is the Lord really your shepherd?" 
"What kind of question is this?"🀨 - is this your reaction? Ok. Let me clarify your curiosity.πŸ™‚

Psalms 23 is one of our "Christian anthems", even a new born baby in a Christian home will likely pick it up after hearing it a couple of times.πŸ˜†
But do we even really care know and understand the meaning of the verse, or we just take it at face value?

This Psalm was written by King David, out of his own experience as a keeper of sheep when he was a young boy in 1 Samuel 16:10-11. As Sheep completely depend on the shepherd for protection, provision and guidance, so he likened himself and other believers to sheep.
David portrays his confidence in the Lord as his shepherd, in this verse. 
David knew by personal experience that God shepherds His people and cares for all their needs. As believers, we too can be sure the Lord, who is the Good Shepherd, meets all our needs. 

Read also: Our Only Hope

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

A shepherd is one who takes care of a flock. Shepherds are always available for their sheep around the clock. 

Let's look at the duties of a good shepherd towards his sheep;

1. He cares about their well being
This is the primary responsibility of the shepherd. He ensures they are well fed, and with healthy pastures, by taking them out for grazing. He goes in search of the wandering lost ones. 
Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
He also protects their health and gives them them vaccines, medications and the necessary treatment when their ill. During the pregnancy and birth of the ewes, he is there to ensure no birthing problems occur. This is similar to our Lord Jesus Christ, who always cares for our welfare and ensures our good health. When a member of God's fold goes astray, due to pressure, difficulty or deception from enemies, He immediately leaves the rest sheep and go in search of that 'one' because a soul is much more important than anything and everything else. 
Luke 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
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2. He protects them from predators
A shepherd makes sure his sheep are safe from predators by always staying around or using guard animals. Some predators of sheep are dogs, wolves, lions. 
Acts 20:29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock.(NLT)
Shepherds usually possess weapons like guns, to attack the predators. The Lord protects His own from every harm and attack from enemies, especially our number one enemy, the devil.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
 He also protects us from fake and evil 'preachers' who try to deceive us and take us out of the narrow way to heaven. 
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
We are kept safe from those who don't believe in Christ and are trying to make us be like them; they could be our neighbors, friends or even family members.
Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

3. He shears the sheep
The shepherd also removes the fleece of the sheep, grooming and clipping. In this, our Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, prunes us to prevent unhealthy pride; and also trims off the excesses in our lives, that are preventing us from giving our full attention to God and His Word.
Job 33:17 He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride.(NLT)
When we deliberately disobey God, He reproves us, and depending on the severity, punishes us.
Hebrews 12:8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. (NLT)
Proverbs 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

4. He leads them right
A shepherd also leads the sheep in the right way. Because he cares for them, he will never allow them to wander off in the wrong direction.
John 10:3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 
  John 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Isaiah 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

 These are some of the duties of a Good Shepherd.

 There are certain things the sheep must observe so as to get the Shepherd's maximum protection and guidance. If the sheep do not cooperate with the shepherd, he will not be held accountable for whatever happens to it.

We must emulate some behaviors of a sheep, since we are likened to them.

They are meek and are usually very quiet and gentle, distancing themselves from the world. In a herd, all the sheep tend to listen to their shepherds. Because of their obedient character, sheep are among the most popular animals loved by man.
We should also be meek, gentle, and peace loving, exhibiting the fruits of the spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
We should not also be entagled in the things of this world or allow them to overwhelm us. 
1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.   
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  
 1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
As sheep, we should give our undivided loyalty and total obedience to Christ.
1 Peter 1:14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. (NLT).

Some of the negative traits of the sheep we should not imbibe are: 

1. Timidity
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

2. Gullibility
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

3. Foolishness
2 Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Read also: You have a choice

4. Lack of self defense
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 
 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
  6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

5. Vulnerability

6. Jealousy

7. Competition

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