THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
Key Verse: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
Key Theme: Personalizing God as Shepherd.
Key Descriptive of God: MY Shepherd
Psalm 23, is undoubtedly the most famous of all Psalms and has been my favorite since a boy. I believe it to be a progressive testimonial of David’s life and when that is understood it is all the more powerful. My book, “Becoming a Super Hero: A Pocket Guide to a Life Like David” does the best at extracting the full understanding but I will do what I can in this short post as well. Story-telling time ahead. You won’t want to miss it.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
This, I believe to be the major reveal of Psalm 23. Scripture puts some dots out, there that once we connect them, suggest that David was an illegitimate child and possibly a product of incest. In Psalm 51:5, he tells of being “brought forth in iniquity, and in sin, my mother conceived me”. In Psalm 69:8 he speaks of being “a stranger to his brothers” and “an alien to his mother’s children”. “Iniquity” often refers to generational sins. David’s great-grandmother was Ruth the Moabitess, with the Moabites being incest descendants of Lot and his daughters. We see this same “iniquity” in David’s sons who went after David’s own wives and a sister (all kinds of messy family dynamics with David). In Ps. 69:8 where it separates being a “stranger to his brothers” and “an alien to his mother’s children”, I think it is suggesting that being a product of incest (Jesse and somebody) and as David is growing up neither side accepts him as he is the proverbial “red-headed stepchild” — except worse. David grew up under profound rejection, which is reportedly the greatest pain a human being can experience.
DAVID THE BASTARD-CHILD?
The fact that in 1 Samuel 16, he was not even invited to be a part of Samuel, the prophet, anointing one of them as next king, tells us a lot. Samuel had ahead of time told Jesse to sanctify ALL his sons because God had chosen one of them as the next king. It is unimaginable that if David was considered “a son” why he would not be one of those sons— or at minimum invited to the ceremony. First of all, they were all descendants from Boaz and so we can assume they were wealthy. By the next chapter when David, now anointed as king by Samuel, is sent to the Goliath battlefield, it says he left “servants” in charge of his flocks. So they had them. Coronation day, David was not needed to watch sheep for practical purposes nor because he was the youngest— but because he wasn’t considered “family”. He was the bastard child. Shepherding was the very lowest on the totem pole job for servants and no family of wealth would have a son doing that. Furthermore, David wasn’t the youngest, as the Hebrew word QATAN used to describe David as “youngest” also means “least”. I Samuel 16:10 says Jesse had all 7 of his sons go by Samuel to see if they were the one— but they weren’t. In 2 Chronicles 2:14, in the genealogy section, it tells of Jesse’s sons and it says “his seventh was David”. So on the day, Samuel was anointing one of them there was a brother younger than David that was with the family. David was just “the least.”
HE IS THE ONE!
Now imagine the shock when the prophet Samuel says, “Jesse, the Lord has said one of your sons is to be the next king— and so I told you to sanctify them all and bring them to me and you said you did. The Lord is still saying “one of your sons” is to be king. Care to explain?” A cold sweat hits Jesse— who furthermore had invited all the elders of the city for this supposedly unparalleled day of honor for himself. Suddenly he realizes his secret sin (that perhaps no one in the family even knew about) is being exposed in the grandest fashion. Should he deny there is another son? But he knew there is no lying to THE prophet. Especially in the Old Testament. You could die. So he said, “there is one more— and there he is watching the sheep”. He was within view. Imagine David watching all this pomp and circumstance not as a son but as a bastard-child and then suddenly being set in front of his “brothers”— none who claim him— and anointed king of Israel as the chosen of God. “He is the one.” Imagine his brothers. They still didn’t like him in the next chapter and none of them ever served David as brothers should. I am sure they thought the prophet had gone into early dementia. This is WHO God chose and HOW He chose him. It is all told in Psalm 23.
“MY” SHEPHERD: HOW A GIANT-KILLER IS FORMED
David had a revelation of the Lord not just as A shepherd, not THE shepherd, nor OUR shepherd. He was to David— MY shepherd. I believe he wrestled with God while doing the lowly shepherding job he had. I believe he learned to be honest there and poured out tears and bitterness to God for his ignoble existence and lack of options for ever-improving his state of being. He knows Jesse is his dad, but Jesse doesn’t claim him therefore no inheritance is coming. On and on so many things to embitter him. Then suddenly a lion shows up and picks off one of his helpless sheep. David identifies with that helpless sheep, and instead of saying as I might, “Oh thank God for the sacrificial lamb that saves me from being the snack”, he makes a decision, that if it is the last thing he ever does, he is going to be better than God is towards him. Suddenly he is super fast and super strong. Catches up to the lion, knocks him over the head with a supernatural thunderbolt punch, delivers the lamb, and shreds the jaw of the lion, killing him. From that moment on he was a different man. He had been “sozoed” (inner healing) in an instant. God cared. God was just. God cared about little innocent lambs— including himself. God, as well, will show up supernaturally when you stand in the gap knowing that. This was the day the Lord became MY shepherd. He was to David what David was to his sheep. It is why even after being anointed king he will not leave the flock. This is where he meets and knows God. For you and for me, once you break off the lies of rejection and He becomes “The Lord MY shepherd”, it is a “line in the sand” you are never retreating from. It is the foundation of being a giant-killer. David’s first “lion” was lyin’ rejection. His first bear was to bare insignificance. Once he drastically dealt with them by ripping their mouths, there is no Goliath that will ever intimidate you. You look at them and with disdain say, “who is this uncircumcised Philistine?”
I SHALL NOT WANT
Once He becomes MY shepherd in the way David encountered Him, you enter the “I have all I need” zone. What a zone.
HE MAKES ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES
The phrase “makes me to lie down” in Hebrew is RABATS meaning “to couch beneath”. The Shepherd MADE him lie down by setting Himself up as an irresistible “couch” right there in the midst of the “green pastures.” There He would feed him not “bales of hay” of yesterday’s truths, but the “green pastures” of today’s fresh rhema words, personalized for him.
HE RESTORES MY SOUL
When you grow up under the profound rejection David did, you need “soul restoration”. This he got progressively as He was shepherded by the Lord with “green pastures” and “quiet waters” – but of course one can only imagine how much was restored the day David gets called out from the sheep and in front of his unloving brothers anointed king of Israel. That will quickly tell you that you may have been processing God and life incorrectly.
YOU PREPARE A TABLE IN FRONT OF MINE ENEMIES?
When do we ever hear about when that was? It was in fact the day Samuel the prophet called for him out of the sheep shed. A table of sacrifice had been prepared. The word “enemies” is better translated “anguishers” (as it says in Spanish). Those who vexed him and made life difficult for him were his brothers. Can you imagine going from “the bastard” to “the king” in 5 minutes? That had to feel pretty good.
YOU ANOINT MY HEAD WITH OIL
This is proof of what I just told you. His head was anointed before a prepared table right in front of his adversarial brothers. Life would be harder in some ways but crackling with enough destiny to make it worth it.
SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY WILL CHASE ME DOWN
As I said, David’s life testimony is laid out in Psalm 23. His healed perspective of God, and of his own challenging journey has him speaking prophetically and confidently into his own future. “Because God is MY shepherd, I expect goodness and mercy to always be stalking me.” Do you know how rare that sentiment is in believers? Invite God to take you through your personal Psalms 23 overhaul, this 67-day “Summer of His Love” journey. You can start with raw and even bitter honesty. He can take it. Sometimes that is how you discover “The Lord MY shepherd”. End-game reward you already know and are already encouraged by “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. It is the seeing of God “in the land of the living” where you/we need the breakthrough. It can happen quickly.
Written by: Johnny Enlow
67 DAY COUNTDOWN SERIES
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The 67 Day Countdown Series is brought to you by Johnny and Elizabeth Enlow, founders of Restore7 ministry, as well as international speakers and best-selling authors. Among Johnny’s books are The Seven Mountain Prophecy, The Seven Mountain Mantle, Rainbow God, The Seven Mountain Renaissance, Becoming A Superhero, and RISE. Elizabeth serves as CEO and penned Rainbow God: The Seven Colors of Love and God in Every Season.