All this month, we will be looking at
perhaps the most beloved psalm in all of
the Bible, the 23rd Psalm.
1. Lesson One: The Setting:
Between the Suffering Christ of Psalm 22 and the Sovereign Christ of Psalm 24 is the Shepherd Christ of Psalm 23. Of this psalm, Martin Luther said, “Of all the figures that are applied to God in the Old Testament, that of a shepherd is the most beautiful. It brings to the godly, when they read it or hear it, as it were, a confidence, a consolation or security, like the word father.”
The Shepherd’s psalm is nestled between Christ’s suffering and sovereignty, providing that confidence and consolation Luther wrote about. When you look at this psalm, you find the feelings of suffering, but also a song. That is a picture of the caring shepherd. The good shepherd knows about the wounds of life, wounds you may think, “These will never heal up.”
But the fact that Christ has suffered as seen in psalm 22 is proof that God can identify with us and our wounds. Psalm 22 begins with “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” quoted by Christ on the cross, and showing us that He identifies with our utter despair.
The fact that Christ is sovereign as seen in psalm 24 is proof that God can rescue us from our problems. The psalm which follows the Shepherd’s psalm promises a triumphant return of the King of Glory and the Lord of hosts who will come valiantly through the mighty gates and everlasting doors. “The King of glory shall come in. ‘Who is this King of glory?’ The Lord strong and mighty. The Lord mighty in battle” (Ps. 24:7b-8).
And the fact that Christ is our Shepherd as we will see in this study is proof that God’s loving care will watch over us dumb, helpless, needy sheep.
“Lord Jesus, help us this month to see You as our Shepherd who watches over us, relating with our human weaknesses and reigning with your godly strength. Amen.”