Vic Rhodes

FYW5 The Lord is My Shepherd

There are hundreds of names and titles ascribed to our Lord Jesus in the Bible. All have significance and application today since God wanted them included in His operating manual for the human race. In this article we consider the title of Shepherd and how that may help us frame our world. How can the idea of a shepherd help us today? A high percentage of the world’s population live in mechanical jungles. They have never seen a sheep or a shepherd, and know nothing of that way of life. Yet the Bible is universal. The principles apply to all of us.

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

King David served his family as a shepherd. He pursued the Lord passionately as a young boy. His insight and understanding of the role of shepherd was downloaded personally by God as he kept the flocks of his father Jesse. David was the youngest son, and seemed to be dishonoured by his family, not being called at first when the prophet Samuel came looking for God’s man. It was while he faithfully cared for the the sheep he learned about our Great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Shepherds feed the sheep. It is implied that the sheep need or want to be fed. In the economy of God He intends to be the one feeding His people.

Isaiah 40:11 (NKJV)  He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.

This is prophetic of the Lord Jesus. He will provide nourishment, a safe place to live, provision and protection to His flock. Jesus is our Great Shepherd (Heb 13:20) and He appoints under-shepherds to help Him. Typically, but not always, these are the pastors of local churches. Anyone in charge of people will be measured by how they treated those in their care.

Jeremiah 23:4 (NKJV) I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the LORD.

This is a prophecy about the coming five-fold ministry that Paul describes in Ephesians 4:11. Notice the expected result of a shepherd feeding the flock according to God’s methods will include the elimination of fear, dismay, and lack. Wow! Not many churches, including the one I lead, can claim all  their people are fearless and lacking nothing. But that is God’s definition of effective shepherding.

It must be remembered that the function of a shepherd cannot be performed without willing and fully participating sheep. Nor can a sheep feed itself very well. If either party is not completely committed and invested in the process, the promise revealed in Jer 23:4 cannot materialize.

Shepherds must know where the good food is, and lead their charges safely in search of it. Shepherds also protect sheep from predators. David killed a lion and a bear defending his father’s assets (1Sam 17:34-36) Shepherds are constantly monitoring, checking in on, watching over, their sheep. They observe when a young one strays too far, or when an older sheep seems to be weakening or slowing down. Many sheep may not know their shepherd, but every shepherd knows his sheep. David became an excellent shepherd as he learned from the Perfect Shepherd. We can become excellent sheep as we also learn from then follow our Perfect Shepherd.

The principle of framing your world involves the correct application of Scripture to bring the promises into manifestation for you and your family. David was able to say, by the Holy Spirit, “the Lord is MY shepherd”. Think of some Christians you may know. Think about their relationship with the church’s pastor. Would they say “He is our pastor” or, “He is the pastor”, or would they say “He is MY pastor”? David tells the world that the Almighty God was his personal shepherd. I think this means, among other things, that David experienced personally the supply and protection of God, just as a sheep would from the shepherd. Until we know the Lord personally as our provider, our protector, our healer, or whatever other blessing He offers, we will not enjoy those blessings in the measure the Lord intends for us to enjoy. 

David said “I shall not want”. This amazing confidence in an eternal limitless supply of everything he could ever dream of needing or wanting flowed from his personal knowledge of the Lord as his shepherd. David had been succored and supported and supplied by the Lord. David had achieved notoriety and fame by killing Goliath, yet he knew it was an angel of the Lord, sent by David’s trust in God, that guided that rock into the only opening in the giant’s armor. David had despaired deeply at the burning of Ziklag and the loss of their families, yet he encouraged himself in the Lord. That ability to withdraw from the wells of salvation in difficult times brought David to a dramatic recovery of all that was lost.

In order to frame our world and bring it into alignment with what we see promised to us, we must correctly apply Scripture. It is impossible to apply Bible truth correctly without a personal knowledge of that truth. Much damage and frustration and even strife follows an attempt to apply Scripture when we don’t understand it well. To be able to claim “the Lord is MY shepherd” means we must personally know the truth about Him being our Shepherd. This is more than memorizing verses and making faith declarations. Memorizing verses and making faith declarations is fundamental to framing our world in line with the Bible, yet it only works according to our knowledge and belief. I can know something but not believe it. I can believe something yet not know enough to bring what I believe into manifestation.

Every time we meditate scripture we are planting the seed of the Word of God in our heart. Each time we make faith declarations we are planting those Word seeds in our heart. Over time, we will grow the seeds of our speech in our heart and those fruits will come out our mouth. When what we meditate and declare comes out of the fruit within our heart, our world will begin to shift into alignment with the promises we are standing on and believing for.

How do you know if the Lord truly is “MY shepherd”? The answer is found in the second part of our verse in this article. The level of Shepherd the Lord enjoys in our heart is complementary to the level of our want. The more of Him we have in our knowledge and experience, the less we will want. The more things we want or need, in general the less of Him ruling as our Shepherd. I have found that the more I know of the Lord the less I look outside Him for my wants and needs to be met. As I grow in knowledge and experience of the Lord my Shepherd, I also grow in my understanding and confidence in His ability and willingness to meet my needs and fulfill my desires. I trust Him more and am less in want.

Application:

When you quote Scripture in faith you are “calling those things that do not (yet) exist, as though they did exist. This is from Romans 4:17.

Romans 4:17 (NASB95) (as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.

God uses words to “call into being” something that, at the moment He began speaking, did not yet exist. For example, think of Gideon in Judges 6, hiding in a winepress as he threshed the harvest. In verse 12, the Angel of the Lord called Gideon a “mighty man of valour”. At the instant the angel spoke, was Gideon a mighty man of valour? No, but he became one! The words of God contain the faith of God. When you speak His words, you release that faith of God into whatever you are speaking over. If you maintain your confession, it will cause the words you speak to come to pass. 

Therefore, you can quote Psalm 23:1 loudly and boldly, claiming it for your self, and for your prayer targets. When you do, faith grows inside you. Faith comes by hearing God’s word, and faith is released by saying God’s word. When you say “the Lord IS MY Shepherd!”, you are calling it forth, calling it into being. It is God’s will that He become your Shepherd, and the personal Shepherd of every living person. You can just quote it out loud, or ask God to be your personal Shepherd. You can quote it over your family or whoever your prayer target may be, or you can pray the verse over them.

By consistently proclaiming this verse in faith and love you can cause a life changing shift in your world. No matter your wealth or lack thereof, or how much you want or need, you can learn to grow up into Him so that, no matter what happens, you can shout with joy “I SHALL NOT WANT!” When the Living God is truly and completely your personal Shepherd, you will not be in want about anything. Ever.

Prayer for Repentance and Salvation.

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Saviour, I invite you to ask Him into your heart. If you knew the Lord but have not been hungering for Him I invite you to consider your ways and repent. He is faithful and righteous to wipe your slate clean when you confess your sin to Him! (1 John 1:9)

1 John 1:9 (NASB95) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

He gave His life for you, and you honour Him when you give your life for Him. It is the right thing to do!

1 Corinthians 6:20 (AV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

You must give yourself to God for Him to come into your life and help you change. He will not force you! Ever. But oh! The joy and peace and hope He gives you!

Romans 12:1–2 (NKJV) 1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 10:9 (NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

You must acknowledge Jesus Christ is Lord, and you must believe He was resurrected from the dead by the Father.

Say this prayer out loud.

Heavenly Father I turn to you and acknowledge You as the Almighty God, eternal and sovereign over all. I have been rebellious, selfish, and deceived trying to live without you. I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died on the cross to redeem me from death and sin, and that He rose from the dead, alive forever with You. I ask you to forgive me of all my sin, known and unknown. Please come into my life as my Lord and my Saviour. Thank you for forgiving me, and redeeming me from sin. I choose to trust You and put You first in every area of my life. I will love You and serve You with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my resources, for the rest of my life, beginning right now. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!

If you prayed this to the Lord, please let me know! I have some resources to share with you, and will help you on your journey with the Lord.