The Lord is my Shephard,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul,
And leads me on paths of righteous for His name's sake.
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.
Thou prepares a table for me in the midst of my enemies,
Thou anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows.
Surely I will walk in goodness and mercy all the days of my life,
And dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
A wise pastor once explained to me that King David, who wrote this psalm, was once a shepherd boy himself, and saw the love and protection of the Lord in terms of a shepherd. He said that the goal of any shepherd is to raise good, quality sheep and wool. Let me explain further....sheep are not particularly smart animals and rely totally on their shepherd. Green pastures provide the best food to raise good sheep. This pastor also said that sheep will not drink from running or noisy water, so a good shepherd will lead them to still waters. The Good Shepherd provided sustenance for those he is responsible for. He will lead them on the correct paths to keep them from getting lost are taking wrong turns.
And when the sheep travel through dark valleys where predators are lurking around every corner, that can mean death if they wander away. So a touch of the shepherd's staff and rod along their back keeps them in line and lets them know the shepherd is watching over them and protecting them. The shepherd beds them down in a narrow canyon, protected on three sides, and builds a temporary fence across the front of the enclosure so they can safely eat "in the midst of their enemies".
A good shepherd will place oil on their head, which as it ran down their faces, kept the burrs from getting in their noses and causing breathing problems. And because of the saving grace of the Good Shepherd, David, the shepherd boy and King, knew that his blessing overflowed. He knew that God's character is always one of goodness and mercy. He knew that it would always be, and that God would abide in him, and he would abide in God.
On this New Year's Day, I wish you joy of knowing the Good Shepherd in all His glory. Happy New Year!