THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
For at least part of their history, the Hebrews were a nomadic people, wandering from place to place and seeking pasture for their herds of sheep, goats, and cattle. To sustain their livelihood, it was vital for shepherds to keep their animals from straying, to protect them from thieves and wild animals, and to provide them with plentiful pastures. In the ancient Near East and in Israel itself, “shepherd” eventually became a metaphor for kings.
The Hebrew Scriptures speak of God as the Shepherd of his people and apply this image to religious leaders as well. The New Testament presents Jesus as the Good Shepherd, who protects the lives of his sheep by forfeiting his own life. When you pray to the Lord your Shepherd, you are praying to the One who watches over you day and night, feeding you and leading you safely on the path of righteousness.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
(Psalm 23:1 – 3)