The LORD is My Shepherd

The LORD is My Shepherd

I recently had the opportunity to share a devotion about one of my favorite bible verses. For me, when I’m asked to pick a favorite bible verse this can be challenging because I have many. For the devotion, I chose Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”. (NKJV). I also like the New Living Translation version which says, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need”. shepherd

Examining this scripture took me back to when I was a student in bible college and one of my first homework assignments in my Hermeneutics (rules for interpreting the Bible) class was to do an exegesis of Psalm 23. I remember being so excited to learn how to do a scripture exegesis and being elated that it was for one of my favorite bible verses, and one of the first verses that I memorized as a child.

Some things I learned in the class when examining scripture included:

  • Who wrote the text, and who is the intended readership?
  • What is the context of the text, i.e. how does it fit in the author’s larger thought process, purpose, or argument in the chapter and book where it resides?
  • Is the choice of words, wording, or word order significant in this particular passage?
  • Why was the text written (e.g. to correct, encourage, or explain, etc.)?
  • When was the text written?

An examination of Psalm 23:1

King David, who wrote the psalm, was a shepherd; so he knew a lot about sheep and shepherding. He loved the metaphor of seeing God, or the Lord, as a shepherd. Shepherd defined: A shepherd leads, feeds, nurtures, comforts, corrects, and protects. What exactly is the duty of a shepherd? The answer is many. A shepherd’s main duty is to move sheep safely from one place to another making sure that he leads the sheep to graze and then return them to their pen. The Shepherd is responsible for protecting the sheep from wolves and other predators and keeping the sheep safe from eating poisonous plants. By nature sheep are docile and naïve animals; they are easily panicked and fearful; are easily influenced; can be easily killed by their enemy; have very little discernment about food and water – but need fresh water constantly; they are creatures of habit; and totally dependent on their Shepherd for everything, much like us humans. (not surprising that David would use The Shepherd as a metaphor of who The Lord is to him). For me, as I make this scripture personal, I think of the Lord being my Shepherd. That he protects me, leads and guides me, corrects me and that I am totally dependent on Him for everything.

I dug deeper into the scripture and examined who exactly is “The Lord”? For me, deep diving into a study of who is the Lord gave me a deeper understanding of who I am depending on as a Shepherd.  Through-out scripture, God has shown up in many ways and has been given various names, such as:

  • Elohim: Creator: Genesis 1:1
  • Jehovah: The covenant name of God; our Father. The proper name of God. Genesis 2:7
  • El-Shaddai: My supply. My nourishment, Almighty God. Genesis 17:1
  • Adonai: Master or Lord; plural. Genesis 18:3
  • Jehovah-Jireh: Provider and my vision. Genesis 22:14
  • Jehovah-Rophe: My healer. Exodus 15:26
  • Jehovah-Nissi: My victory. Exodus 17:15
  • Jehovah-Mikkadesh: My sanctifier. Leviticus 20:7, 8
  • Jehovah-Tsidkenou: My righteousness. Jeremiah 23:5, 6
  • Jehovah-Shalom: My peace (fullness). Judges 6:24
  • Jehovah-Tsebahoth: God of Hosts. 1 Samuel 1:3
  • Jehovah-Heleyon: God most High. Psalm 7:17
  • Jehovah-Rohi: My Shepherd. Psalm 23:1
  • Jehovah- Shamah: He is there; He is present. Ezekiel 48:35
  • Jehovah-Elohay: God my God. Zechariah 14:5
  • Ehyah Asher Ehyeh: Literally, I will be what I will be. (I am that I am) Exodus 3:14, God says to Moses “I Am THAT I Am” (KJV); I am WHO I am (NKJV)
  • Jah (poetical language) The Lord. Expressive of eternal existence. Psalm 68:4
  • Yahweh – God of the kingdom of Israel.
  • Immanuel – God with Us, Matthew 1:22.

My absolute favorite name for God is I AM THAT I AM. He is exactly what I need Him to be in that moment of my need. I rest in knowing that my Shepherd, the one who I am totally dependent on is whatever I need Him to be!

Personal prayer: Thank you Lord for you are MY Shepherd. You watch over me, lead me, guide me and protect me from my enemy. But above all, you are what I need you to be!

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Terry Cato About Terry Cato

Terry Cato is a Talk Show Host, Author and relationship blogger. She is the Founder of Relationships 411, a blog community dedicated to healthy relationships and marriages. She is the Host of Real Talk w/Terry a Bay Area talk show focusing on relationship and lifestyle topics. Her memoir, “No Longer a Bridesmaid!” chronicles the 7 years she was single, celibate and believing God for a husband. Feel Free to Follow Terry on Twitter and visit her website for more information about the Author.

Comments

  1. I love this. Thanks for the beautiful post of names for our awesome God!

    [Reply]

    Terry Cato

    Terry Cato Reply:

    Thanks Penny!

    [Reply]

  2. I like to think of the Lord as my shepherd and me as the sheep. A while back a pastor we had did a whole sermon on sheep… on what they are like, their fears, the dumb things they do…. and it has STAYED with me and makes this image of our Lord as the shepherd that much stronger for me.

    Wow, I love this post so much. It speaks right to my soul.

    [Reply]

    Terry Cato

    Terry Cato Reply:

    Amen! Such revelation for me also. Once I did the exegesis of Psalm 23, I never read scripture the same. Every line, every word is so rich with purpose. We just need to stop and notice.

    [Reply]

  3. Janet K Brown says:

    I love this, Teri. I’ve never seen a list like this. Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Terry Cato

    Terry Cato Reply:

    Praise God. Thank you Janet. Glad this was a blessing!

    [Reply]

  4. Hi Teri,
    Absolutely beautiful post. I love Psalm 23, and it was the first Psalm that I memorized. Come to think of it, it is the only Psalm that I’ve memorized 🙂 This post is so detailed and rich. I love the breakdown , and I agree every word , every comma, every conjunction in the Bible has a beautiful meaning one can extract from it–if we just look. God Bless you, and have a great week!

    [Reply]

    Terry Cato

    Terry Cato Reply:

    Hi D.C.! Thank you for your encouraging words. God bless!!

    [Reply]

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