Psalm 23 just might be the most loved passage of Scripture in all the Bible. From its very beginning, “The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want,” this psalm brings such an incredible sense of peace.
Over the centuries, Psalm 23 has comforted countless people in the midst of life’s struggles. But often, we miss one of its most important points:
You and I need a Shepherd.
Yes, we are just like sheep. As God reminds us in Isaiah 53:6a,
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way…
God uses the analogy of sheep for a purpose. Of all the animals, the sheep is the most pitiful when it’s lost.
Most animals have an uncanny skill to find their way home. For instance, dogs and cats are rarely lost. You can drop them just about anywhere, and they’ll find their way home as if they’ve got a wired-in homing device.
Wild animals may range widely only to return to their home territory.
I have a friend who was having problems with raccoons in his attic. He trapped them, took them five miles away, and dropped them on the other side of a river. But the next night, the whole family of raccoons was back.
That night, he returned them to the same spot, and they found their way back once more. So he talked to an expert in town and asked him what he should do. The expert asked him how far away he was when he released the raccoons. When he answered, “Five miles,” the expert laughed and said, “Oh, you have to take them at least 20 miles away, minimum. And chances are they’ll still find their way back.”
Not so with sheep. They can get hopelessly lost even when they’re close to home. And just like sheep, we are hopelessly lost—without a Shepherd.
Think of all the recent advancements in science and technology. Despite these achievements, mankind is still utterly lost from a spiritual standpoint. We’ve walked on the moon and created every modern convenience, but there’s still an inner emptiness and loneliness that remains.
Technology and science won’t fill that void. Philosophy, art, and literature won’t either. Even relationships with other people will not bring ultimate contentment.
We need a Shepherd. We need to be found.
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