Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

The Lord is My Shepherd

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"I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep" (John 10:11).

It is always a great joy and comfort to know that God's love for us is more than we can imagine. His love for us lead Him to plan a way for our salvation so we are able to return back to Him and rejoice with Him in His kingdom.

In Psalm 23, David was aware of the Lord's presence all through the psalm. He gave us an amazing illustration of what God's love for us is like and how precious we are to Him and because he was a shepherd at his youth and grew to lead God's people at his adult life, he had lots of experience of the danger, disappointment, forgiveness and trust.

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

These simple words bring so much comfort and fill us with deep joy to know that God in heaven and the creator of the universe is watching over us, has the desire to be our Father and our master, and to protect us.

In John (10:1-18) Jesus Christ teaches us that He is the true shepherd, the one who gave everything and paid the price for us in order to bring us back to the Father and He tells us that the good shepherds should give their lives for the sheep and they should rejoice in carrying the cross in the midst of trials and troubles. But the hirelings are the ones when the wolves comes they flee and leave the sheep because their hearts are full of self-centeredness and they have no regard for the Lord's will.

God choose to call us sheep because we are a lot like sheep:

  • Fragile (required special attention)
  • Helpless (waiting for someone to lead them)
  • Need guidance (Cannot care for themselves)
  • Trust and rely on their shepherd through each moment of their life
  • Experience fear
  • Can be stubborn

And the Shepherd is so much like the Lord:

  • Gentle and kind (love his sheep)
  • Cares for his sheep (they rely on him through their lives)
  • Intelligent (organize, manage, direct his flock)
  • Brave (protect his flocks from lions, bears, wolves, and vultures)
  • Alert (watching them day and night and know all kind of the tricks of their enemies)
  • Selfless (required day and night attention and care)
  • Leader(lead his flocks through the valleys)
  • Authority (his staff is a symbol of his strength, and power)

"He makes me lie down in green pasture; He leads me beside the still waters" (Psalms 23:2).

To keep the sheep healthy, satisfied, and well cared for the shepherd required special skills and good management to be able to provide a green pasture and water for his flock continually by moving them from one field to another and that is what God did for us. He created everything beautiful and in abundance and continually gives us what is necessary for our best interest to satisfy our hearts with peace and gladness and we see that in the old testament what God has been with the people of Israel in the wilderness for forty years (Deuteronomy 2:7). He provided them with shelter, food, and protection and made them lack nothing. And make sure that we are spiritually fulfilled by giving us His Holy Spirit as living water to fill us with energy and rich spiritual life.

"He restores my soul; He leads me in the path of righteousness for his name's sake" (Psalm 23:3).

This is a wonderful illustration of how our human soul is fragile and in need of God's help and protection. When the sheep is away from his shepherd no matter how healthy and strong, if the sheep became cast sheep (lay on its back) he would have no way to turn back himself and stand on his feet again and that is very dangerous because if the shepherd's eye not on him and he is not rushed to rescue him so many thing can happen.

  • He will be frightened and franticly struggling
  • He may die in a matter of hours if the weather is hot
  • He may get attacked by the vultures, wolves, or bears

It feels so wonderful to imagine when the shepherd finds that lost and frighten sheep and cover him and carries him all the way home. Away from our Lord anything can happened for each moment will count and Satan will try to tell us that is not enough to be content and satisfied there are other desires to be fulfilled such as our self-image, self-confident and that is how he separate us from God. That is why our Lord and savior Jesus Christ died for us to provide us with salvation and God the Father give us His Holy Spirit to guide us and depict any wrong in us so we can repent and be forgiven. The shepherd always counting, observing and watching and that make him aware of the safe pasture, the right path, the difficult points, and rugged areas and the Lord always walking in front of us to lead us through the right path.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4).

Through the high country valley the shepherd will lead his flock with his staff and although there are so many dangerous and obstacles ahead but through the path the sheep are comforted by the shepherd's staff (symbol of strength, power, protection, compassion and correction) and he also use it to guide his sheep and give them special attention. It is comfort to us to know that the Lord will be with us through the darkest night, and the enemy's attack. God's presences in our life give us the feeling of love, security, and fell us with peace through our triumphs.

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over" (Psalm 23:5).

The shepherd will provide a safe resting place for his flock with abundance of food and he will use homemade remedy oil to cover the sheep's wounds and to protect the sheep's nose against nose flies, when the sheep are thirsty he will fill the cup with water and pour it out until the sheep has all what he needs. The first thing comes to mind from reading this verse that Jesus Christ inviting all His children to enjoy His banquet by gathering around His table where His bread is broken for many and His sweet wine can be drunk to fill us up and to celebrate His present among us and in the old tradition they use to anoint the king as indication of holiness and God's protection, but as Christian the rich oil anointing their heads to announce their baptism and salvation and to rebuke Satan and the wicked men in front of the Lord's glory and His victory.

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever" (Psalm 23:6).

It is certain with a good shepherd who is loving, caring, skilled manager and attentive to his sheep's need they will surly clink to him and the question is what more God's children need than knowing that God's goodness and mercy will cover them and carry them to the end until we reach His heaven.

May God's presence in our lives and His Holy spirit will lead us to walk in His way all the days of our lives and protect us from our enemies forever.

The Lord is My Shepherd
There is nothing about you that I do not want
There is nothing about you that I do not need
You are everything to me
You are my provider
You are my protector
You are my king
I pray to you to make me just like you.

Written By
Nagwa Abdou

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