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  • Dr. Roger D Duke

Is Christ Your Good Shepherd?



Psalm 23 “The Shepherd Psalm”


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.



Is the Lord Jehovah—Jesus Christ Your Shepherd?


Psalm 23:1 The Lord [is] my shepherd . . .[1]


This is to be understood not of Jehovah the Father, and of his feeding the people of Israel in the wilderness . . . though the character of a shepherd is sometimes given to him, Psalms 77:20; but of Jehovah the Son, to whom it is most frequently ascribed, Genesis 49:24 . This office he was called and appointed to by his Father, and which through his condescending grace he undertook to execute, and for which he is abundantly qualified; being omniscient, and so knows all his sheep and their maladies, where to find them, what is their case, and what is to be done for them; and being omnipotent, he can do everything proper for them; and having all power in heaven and in earth, can protect, defend, and save them; and all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge being in him, he can guide and direct them in the best manner; wherefore he is called the great shepherd, and the chief shepherd, and the good shepherd. David calls him “my shepherd”; Christ having a right unto him, as he has to all the sheep of God, by virtue of his Father's gift, his own purchase, and the power of his grace; and as owning him as such, and yielding subjection to him, following him as the sheep of Christ do wheresoever he goes; and also as expressing his faith of interest in him, affection for him, and joy because of him: and from thence comfortably concludes. . . .


I shall not want


Not anything . . . not any temporal good thing, as none of Christ's sheep do, that he in his wisdom sees proper and convenient for them; nor any spiritual good things, since a fulness of them is in him, out of which all their wants are supplied; they cannot want food, for by him they go in and out and find pasture; in him their bread is given them, where they have enough and to spare, and their waters are sure unto them; nor clothing, for he is the Lord their righteousness, and they are clothed with the robe of his righteousness; nor rest, for he is their resting place, in whom they find rest for their souls, and are by him led to waters of rest, as in Psalms 23:2: the words may be rendered, “I shall not fail”, or “come short”; that is, of eternal glory and happiness; for Christ's sheep are in his hands, out of which none can pluck them, and therefore shall not perish, but have everlasting life, [see also] John 10:27.

[1] John Gill, “Psalm 23:1,” John Gill’s Exposition of the Old & New Testament, Vol. 3 (London: Mathews & Leigh, 1809; reprint, Paris, AR.: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989), 626 (page citations are to the reprint edition).

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