Pastor’s Pen: Do you know the Psalm or the Shepherd?

Mary Henderson from Newtownabbey Methodist Mission and her dog, Ollie.
Mary Henderson from Newtownabbey Methodist Mission and her dog, Ollie.

Following a great performance on stage an actor was asked to recite Psalm 23, which he did to thunderous applause. In the front row of the theatre was an old acquaintance of the actor, who was invited onto the stage to also recite ‘The Lord is my Shepherd...’.

Nervously the old man came to the stage and in hushed silence recited Psalm 23. There was no applause, just a theatre full of tearful eyes, including the actor. Addressing the audience, the actor said: “The difference between my old friend and I is that I know the Psalm, he knows the Shepherd.”

Most people know Psalm 23, but the question is, do we know the Shepherd of the Psalm? Throughout the Bible, God is described as a shepherd figure. Near the end of his life Jacob describes God as “the God who had been My Shepherd.” (Genesis 48:1.) The shepherd boy David wrote: “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want...’, acknowledging God as his ‘personal’ shepherd. God’s desire is to have a personal relationship with people. In the New Testament Jesus says: “I am the good Shepherd”. Indeed, a wonderful imagery of the role of Jesus as the Chief Shepherd.

In biblical times a sheepfold had one gate to go in and out of the pen. The shepherd guarded the gate, nothing could enter or leave the fold without going through the shepherd. Jesus reveals Himself as the door of the sheepfold. He is the only way to the fold of Heaven where the joy of eternal life is experienced.

If anyone desires entrance into the fold of God, there is only one door, Jesus. He is the only way to God. He said to Thomas, one of His disciples: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6)

JESUS, the Chief Shepherd, knows everything there is to know about you. He knows every strength and every weakness. He knows every joy and every burden. He knows every mountain and every valley. He knows every victory and every battle and He stands ready to help you in your times of need. (Heb. 4:15-16) He is your Good Shepherd and He will look after you. Listen to His voice, Surrender your life to Him and let Him lead, restore and provide and let the Lord be your personal Shepherd.

The question is: ‘Do you know Psalm 23 or the Shepherd of the Psalm?

By Mary Henderson