James Boice observed that Jesus is described as his people’s shepherd in three ways. In John 10 he is the good shepherd, who gives his life for his sheep. In Hebrews 13 he is the great Shepherd, who has risen from the dead and lives now to direct his people in every good work. In 1 Peter 5 he is the Chief Shepherd, who has ascended into heaven from where he will one day return to reward his faithful servants. Boice goes on to say, “It has been pointed out that Psalms 22, 23, and 24 show a progression similar to those passages. Psalm 22 is the song of the dying Shepherd, crying out to the Father from the cross. Psalm 23 is the song of the risen Shepherd, guiding his sheep through life’s dark wilderness. Psalm 24 is the song of the ascended Shepherd who will reward those who have served faithfully.”

Of all the Shepherd Psalms, 23 is the most well known and most beloved of them all. We are all moved by the picture of the Lord guiding us in green pastures, leading us beside still waters, refreshing our souls, anointing us with oil, preparing a feast for us, leading us, guiding us with his goodness and mercy, and ultimately taking us home to dwell in his house with him forever.

Charles H. Spurgeon, known as the “Prince of Preachers,” spent over 20 years writing a commentary on the book of Psalms entitled, “The Treasury of David.” On Psalm 23 he challenges his readers to meditate on one word throughout the psalm. He says that the sweetest word of the whole Psalm is that monosyllable, personal, possessive, singular pronoun, “my.” God does not tell us that he is the shepherd of millions of sheep, although he is. It matters not how many sheep are in the fold. He is mine! Spurgeon writes, “If He is a shepherd to no one else, He is a shepherd to me. He cares for me, watches over me, and preserves me. The words are in the present tense. Whatever be the believer’s position, he is even now under the pastoral care of Jehovah.”

He is my Shepherd who gave his life on the cross for my sins, Psalm 22. He is my Shepherd who has risen from the dead and now leads me in the paths of righteousness, Psalm 23. He is my Shepherd who will return and reward me for my service and sacrifice, Psalm 24.

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.” (Psalm 19:1-2)