The Good Shepherd
Briefly, I knew a sheepherder from the Basque country in Spain. He was a man of immense fortitude, and few words. The words that he did speak, with the most endearment, were to his sheep.
Sheep know the voice of their shepherd. The shepherd of any flock always walks in front of his sheep, to show the way, and to ensure the safety of the pathway for the flock to follow.
The lost lamb is as precious to the shepherd as the strongest and most attentive of the flock who follow him. He knows that the wandering sheep is certain to go even further astray, to encounter trouble, to draw to him the unexpected misery and threats that may wound him, injure him, place his life in peril, perhaps in mortal danger. The wise, caring Shepherd, in diligently tending to his flock, calls sharply to his sheep at regular intervals, making them ever more aware of his presence. Thus, the sheep not only learn the sound of his voice, they yearn for it; they need to hear it. They seek its comforting song. That voice belongs to the instrument of their protection, their Shepherd.
If a stranger calls to any sheep, the animal stops abruptly, and lifts up his head with alarm. If this unknown voice makes another entreaty, the sheep turns from it and flees this voice and its unfamiliarity which is a signal of danger.
David was a Bethlehemite, from the tribe of Judah. He was the shepherd boy who grew to become a mighty military conqueror, reigning as King of Israel for forty years. This king of Israel became the founder of the House of David.
He wore many faces and he remains a mystery. From his greatness came the mystery. David was a man of extraordinary contrasts, of virtues and of sins, of passionate loves and of spiritual loves. This David was the young man who killed Goliath, the giant warrior and champion of the Philistines. His accomplishments were abundant. Among them are the Psalms of the Bible. David was the author of dozens of psalms, including Psalm 23.
This psalm is beloved for its poetry and for the purity of its steadfast faith in the Shepherd who is, always and forever, there for his sheep.
It is a psalm of inspiration. It is a song of uplifting sounds that surely call any sheep to the ascension of Light in the darkness. It is a voice that assures the fearful sheep that the way Home may be long, but he will never be alone, each step of the way.
A Psalm of David
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all
the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.