"Messianic Profile 3: Shepherd / Overseer"(page last updated: June 25 2020)
Psalms 23: kjv
Today's Audio Commentary: ""Messianic Profile 3: Shepherd / Overseer""
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Today's Commentary Outline:
- Messianic Profile 3 Messiah the Shepherd - Introduction:
Psalms 23:1 kjv
- Today we consider the third of several Messianic profiles in the BackToPsalmsSeries (1. Messiah's kingly role ps21 2. suffering servant role ps22. 3. ps23 = pastoral/shepherd role) from a couple different key vantage points.
- Typical = "Jehovah is my shepherd". Our 1st primary view = "Jehovah is _Messiah's shepherd"
- "The LORD is my shepherd" (overseer)- Jehovah is Messiah's overseer. Truth = disconnect Jehovah/Man requiring intercessor. God = Light + no darkness, Man = fallen/sin/none that do right. God so loved the world that he gave HIS only begotten, God does oversee all creation (omnipresent, omniscient), rebellious self oversees man from man's vantage. Messiah set aside His triune divinity, became flesh, surrendered Himself entirely to Jehovah, Jehovah was Messiah's shepherd/overseer. Before Christ entered into our hearts, not one man could truthfully say that, and even then it seems to be a matter of willing degrees.
- "I shall not want" - Not once did Messiah lack from Jehovah. By completely surrendering Himself to Jehovah He did not have the same personal requirements as we do, Jehovah supplied everything that Jehovah required of Messiah. Our prayers often = lack. There was a brief moment Christ said "why hast thou forsaken me" (quoting from the psalms). Having surrendered His own power, He never once lacked Jehovah's confirmation/power to heal/exorcise/perform the miraculous/prophesy/fight temptation etc.., even protecting Jesus from Herod (+three sons later) and pharisees out to kill Him. The Father glorified Him and He glorified the Father, neither ever lacked.
- "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures" - No matter where Messiah found Himself, for Him it was green pasture. (look where He found Himself - sleeping on rocks, sandals and robe only possession, alone on a hill, on a dusty road, on the floor of a boat, in a crowd of clammering people, in the chief priest home being spit upon)
- "he leadeth me beside the still waters" - There is turbulence all around Messiah, that is why this statement is so picturesque. He is being lead beside still waters while the rest of us are being caught up in the rage and fury.
- "He restoreth my soul" - two aspects (1. temporal nightly/daily, it was said that when the woman touched His hem He could feel the power going out of Him, multiply that by 500x a day; it is said that when He healed He took upon Himself our ailments) (2. eternal having died for sin being resurrected)
- "he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake" - What the Father said that is what Messiah spoke. What the Father did that Messiah did. Messiah did not ever do anything on His own, HE did what the Father lead Him to do; in that doing He was righteous, in that doing Messiah glorified the Father and the Father's name sake.
- "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me" - We cannot say that Messiah does not know what our lives are like. HE lived this valley probably more so then any of us. We cannot say that for the Son of God it was all too easy, there spiritual warfare all around surrounding His life that we would absolutely fear and tremble at and flee from that He knowing Jehovah was with Him confidently and bravely and triumphantly fought. "I will fear no evil: for thou art with me"... can anyone of us say the same thing to this extent?
- "thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" - There was not anything that Jesus ever did that deserved Jehovah's rod and staff. Yet Jesus received the full brunt of both in the place of sinners. The comfort for Him was in the fact that by doing so He would become mankind's redeemer, it would please the Father to bring HIS lost children back, that untited again as one we would be able to partake of God and Savior's glory.
- "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies" - A table is used for a banquet or a feast. What is pictured here in the broader context of scripture is a combnation of victor's feast and a wedding feast. It is a table like none other.
- "thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over" - Oil in the scriptures often symbolizes the presence or anointing of Holy Spirit. Messiah was to have the Holy Spirit poured out upon Him in full measure not just a portion; therefore His cup did actually runneth over like no one else before and no one else ever since.
- "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life" - Goodness and mercy did follow Messiah all His days on earth. Whether He was talking to a woman by the well, a publican in a tree, or a adulteress in a circle of Christ tempting religious types. It also followed Him in the form of the Father's many confirmations, thousands of miraculous healings and wonders. Goodness and mercies given by the Father to us through the Son
- "and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever" - Need I say anymore?
- Because Jehovah was Messiah's shepherd, shepherding Him back to the position on the right hand throne that He now is, we now have a shepherd overseeing our souls. In one sense it is still Jehovah Father that is my Shepherd. In the same sense it is Jehovah Messiah that is my Shepherd having become intercessor between Jehovah God and I.
- Now there certainly are other ways to examine this psalm but, this preliminary matter is far too important not to confirm and understand. Once we see that Jehovah is Messiah's shepherd then we can see Messiah being our Shepherd is just the same as Jehovah being our Shepherd and then we can begin to see how often we fail at this psalm in each of our own cases.
- You might think it strange that we'd be turning from Psalm:23 in this commentary to kjv@Ezekiel:34. Please indulge me for a moment would you?
- Different types of shepherds (parents/teachers, managers/CEOs, captains/commanders, councilmen/presidents) (pastors/priests, deacons/elders).
- Ezekiel 34 describes what it comes to when a shepherd cannot be found, multitudes of shepherds not shepherding their flocks.
- Is the Lord their Shepherd?
- Miserable history of the kings of northern and southern kingdoms - what happened to the priests and high priests?
- 200-300 years at a time
- God then steps in/weeks months latter we find shepherds right back at it.
- Now remember these shepherds to whom Ezekiel is addressing, a large number of them are those who firmly believe that the "LORD is" their shepherd.
- It came to a point where the shepherds of Israel had proven themselves so corrupt that through the prophet Ezekiel Jehovah decreed:
kjv@Ezekiel:34:9-10 @ Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
- Accountability - required at their hand
- flock is the shepherds meat in his mouth
- Deliverance of flock
- How did it come to all of this? Same today?:
kjv@Ezekiel:34:2 ...Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
- "Do you love me Peter" "then feed my sheep" kjv@John:21:15-17.
- Sheep are fed by leading to greener pastures, leading, may not want to go, hesitant, to go their own direction.
- What kind of shepherd is it that does not lead? That instead follows where the sheep lead him?
- How can it be a man who claims the LORD to be his shepherd can get away with this?
kjv@Ezekiel:34:4 The diseased (rubbed/worn) have ye not strengthened (fastened to/seize)...
- A good shepherd both knows the signs,
- is on the lookout,
- urgently fastens his/herself to the situation,
- separating/treating/strengthening the affected + flock. (Physical needs/Spiritual needs)
kjv@Ezekiel:34:4 ...neither have ye healed (mend) that which was sick (rubbed or worn),
- Rubbed/worn? Wayward + loyal. (loyalty earned/maintained)
- These shepherds, by not fastening themselves to these situations, allowed physical this.
- Why not fasten? Risk of losing their own reputation/life/food source. Risk of leaving the other shepherds and flocks. Fear of the beasts.
- Job = Mend = sew/stitch back together (1st separate, 2nd teat, 3rd restore back together).
kjv@Ezekiel:34:4 ...neither have ye bound_up (wrap/compress) that which was broken (burst/break down),
- Things easily break that need to be bound up/bandaged/casted.
- Situations burst out that need holding back/compressed/restrained to keep it from bursting apart.
- Left unattended, situations like this compound, the effect on society is exponential.
kjv@Ezekiel:34:4 ...neither have ye brought again that which was driven away,
- Sheep driven away by what?
- Impulse/rebellion, neglect/mistreatment/legalism/irrelevance/peer pressure?
- Shepherding even requires going out and fetching back sheep that have been driven away.
- Requires knowing where to go to find these and how to steer them back.
- Most shepherds to busy with their own business/overwhelmed with the needs of the other sheep stuck in their business.
kjv@Ezekiel:34:4 ...neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.
- Cruelty takes on many shapes and forms.
- Neglect (let it never be said of a shepherd)
- Oppressive rule/legalism
- The fact that these shepherds are not searching out the lost illustrates that as much as they say "the Lord is my Shepherd", the Lord actually is not.
kjv@Ezekiel:34:5 ...And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd:
- No shepherd - what a sad state of affairs.
- plenty of so called shepherds, just not the ones that rightly shepherd over their flocks.
- Signs = no feeding (being fed upon), no fastening themselves to their individual sheep wandering/drifting/rubbing or wearing, not binding/compressing/repairing the fences, not separating/strengthening/restoring, not searching out, not bringing back into the fold, allowing the fold to scatter etc...
kjv@Ezekiel:34:5 ...and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
- Shepherd/Sheep/Beasts - story as old as time.
- If the beasts don't eat them, the beasts become their shepherds.
kjv@Ezekiel:34:6 ...none did search or seek after them
- "That was then but, this is now". Are things any different? Is shepherding more difficult today? How/Why so?
- television and social media?
- science (falsely called)?
- government directed education and secular humanist enlightenment?
- opioids and alcohol and elicit pornography?
- Is it that we are now up against these things now that they weren't or is it that there is just not the same caliber of shepherd left that is searching and seeking after them? Is not this modern difficulty the result of the people not being properly shepherded to begin with?
kjv@Ezekiel:34:8 ...my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field
- Notice the possession indicated here: "my flock" (Jehovah's flock not any of ours)
kjv@Ezekiel:34:8 ...neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock
- "The LORD is my shepherd".
- Think twice before we repeat this Psalm:23.
- is this the way that the sheep behave when the Lord is their shepherd? How the many other assistant shepherds behave? We are all shepherds in one sense or another... what business do we have so proudly speaking of our Lord so confidently and yet behaving ourselves in this way?
- So what else then did God say to us through Ezekiel?
Ezekiel 34:9-16 kjv
- And again:
Ezekiel 34:23 kjv
- A couple hundred years after the time of Ezekiel who should appear but Jesus of Nazareth:
John 10:11 kjv
- There is a very interesting picture of Christ the Shepherd given us in kjv@Revelation:7:17
kjv@Revelation:7:17 @ For the Lamb (sacrificial role Psalm 22) which is in the midst of the throne (kingly role Psalm 21) shall feed them, and shall lead (shepherd role) them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
- The three roles come together at some point and that is what makes Christ as special as He is.
- Soon, in addition to these roles that we already know about, we will be able to add to all this the role of high priest/intercessor making this Christ more different yet (not of Levy but Melchizedek).
- What is more picturesque yet is what this unique form of Christ is able to do for His sheep.
- This great shepherd is able to lead the flock to an eternal spiritual pasture like no other (having given His own life for these sheep, having been brought to this pasture by the Father Himself, being first born of many). kjv@John:10:15
- This great shepherd is able to lead the flock to spiritual living waters like no other (whosoever shall drink of this living water shall never thirst). kjv@John:4:10-14
- This great shepherd is able to separate the goats from the sheep. kjv@Matthew:25:32-33
- These picturesque spiritual concepts should all be familiar to the followers of Jesus' words.
- People understand "shepherd" in the general sense. It is such a calming picture/they turn to it in times of need. Do they understand Shepherd in the greater context though?
- that by Christ being King, Christ being Victor, Christ being high priest and prophet, this Christ is not your typical understanding of shepherd.
- He has earned the right and the power and the authority to command over this universe, over all creation for all of eternity and not one moment nor one particle less.
- Many people in time of trouble have turned to this psalm. In times of family death, times of war, times of plague or famine or depression, this psalm has calmed them/given them hope/eased their travail. Has it though yet grabbed their soul from its drifting? Awakened their souls from rest to move with the fold onward through the valley to the higher ground?
- Many have called upon this psalm to cheer themselves up, but yet so many people simply linger here in this meadow where they have already been.
- What it is that troubles the young ewe is that it's a long distance between here and there, and the ewe does not see any reason for moving today all over again. As far as she knows this green pasture here right now will always be this green, maybe the next pasture will not, what about the pasture we were at yesterday, what was wrong with it?
- A burly young ram dances and prances with youthful joy, full, reinvigorated. He says this is the life, I deserve this meadow. His exuberant fleet footed step-dance unknowingly clogs him and his buddies a good distance over to the ledge of a cliff. Shocked is he when his eye fix upon an alternate final destination below on the rocks.
- This psalm is not a painting of a stationary place that we should be, it is a portrait of a Shepherd who intends to get us from here to where we really need to be safely. This place here is not that place, good of a place as this seems to be.
- What is it that troubles the shepherd? That until we all safely arrive at His place, there is not a moment's rest, not only are there dangers and perils, there a sheep that can seem to understand what is in their best interest.
- Where the sheep's human shepherds have so completely failed, this shepherd must have suffered as a Lamb in order to be established as king/high priest/prophet of all eternity itself.
- He shall not fail us for He is able to lead us into these picturesque Christ like things.
- Let's examine these things in the next section.
- Understanding all of this that we've looked into about our Great Shepherd first, now we can look back on Psalms 23 from the more typical vantage point: The Lord Messiah being this type of shepherd to you and I.
- kjv@Psalms:23:1 @ The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
- Because Messiah is this type of shepherd to me, every necessary spiritual thing has been provided me, there is nothing lacking, the work of Christ is all sufficient. The lifeless spirit within my soul since the time of the first Adam because of the death and resurrection of the second Adam is quickened with me. My heart has been cleansed but His blood and I have been given the robe of His imputed righteousness to wear over me. The Holy Spirit, the seal of my salvation, now dwells within me which sets me vastly apart from the common unsaved man for I am a temple of the Holy Spirit.
- The Apostle Peter claims that divine power now has given me all things pertaining to life and godliness up to and including escape from the corruptions of this world and in its place the partaking of Christ's own divine nature. Paul claims that I have I have been adopted in to family of God and have an eternal inheritance. Both claim that I have been called into His glory and virtue, created unto goods works ordained from long before.
- Is there anything else that might be missing or that I might need to secure for myself? Not with this Shepherd. "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want". The verses upcoming are poetic descriptions of just how pleasant and fulfilling this all sufficiency of Christ really is.
- kjv@Psalms:23:2 @ He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
- The green pasture is the early pasture where the grasses are just sprouting up. Not only are they sweeter and better tasting, they are much more nutritious to eat. The green pasture does not last for long, it grows and dries out in the heat, the stocks become more fibrous, the flock has to be led higher and higher in elevation to stay in the green pasture. To lie down in the green pasture means to have eaten to the heart's content, to the point of being able to eat no more.
- Still waters on a river or stream are the pools of water just outside the white water coming off the fall. It is where the fish love to hang out. There is plenty of oxygen from the white water close by, there is plenty of food settling to the side, the water is cool and invigorating. It is also where the wild life prefer to drink as it is not so troubling as the falls not as spent as the slumbering bends.
- Do you see how green pastures and still waters help to poetically describe what this all sufficiency of Christ is like?
- kjv@Psalms:23:3 @ He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
- The soul typically comprises one's will and desires, appetites and the senses in poetry. It can be content or greedy, it can take pleasure or displeasure, it can feel safe or sense peril or jeopardy; in this case it has been restored. For too long it has been led astray, confused by temporal excess and pleasures, hurt by the pushing and shoving and trampling of other souls racing to get themselves more, wounded by conscience and echoes of what it once was. Restore means to be turned back right side up, back on track, heading the direction originally intended. The all sufficiency of Christ has this effect upon the saint's soul.
- Paths of righteousness... probably referring to the direction originally intended. Why would He do this? It is not that any of us deserve this kind of royal treatment? Why would He become for us this great of a shepherd? It is for His name's sake. He has become for us "all sufficient" to keep His reputation/name holy and intact.
- Note also, before we move on, in these poetic description it is He that is making/leading/restoring, it is not us, it is not the world, it is not religion; it is He the Shepherd that also happen to be the Lord. Notice also that we are not just there automatically, it is a process, it is dynamic and changing daily, we have to be constantly led. In order to be led, one has to be attentive and willing to be led. In order to be made one has to be attentive and willing to be made or shaped. In order to be restored one has to be attentive and willing to be turned back the direction originally intended. The picture here of all sufficiency is that it is all sufficient from the get go, but one has to be led more and more into the realization of it keeping themselves attentive to His lead.
- kjv@Psalms:23:4 @ 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.
- There is also the sense by Him leading us through this towards what is intended, that He is with us going through this same picture ahead of us as would be a shepherd. He has gone through this valley Himself. He knows the one safe passage. He knows how to steer us there.
- It is easy for anyone to get lost in this valley, to take a wrong turn, to lose their bearings, go south thinking that your heading north. At that point there is a sudden desperation, the instinct to survive kicks in which typically makes matters only worse. By nightfall you know all to well that you are utterly lost and in the jagged clutches of a life threatening situation.
- Likewise it is very difficult to trust another that they know where they are going, that they are the ones to get you out of this. How many times on this mountain has the lost party decided or fought to split up?
- "I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me". Comfort for most of us is a relative term. Yes, I fell better about. No, I am not a 100% with it yet. My companions discomforts are making me feel even less. What do they see that I don't. Ah, but in this picture we have Christ's all sufficiency, which does include a rod and staff, He's had to use it on me a time or two or ninety, but you know what, now that we are all in this valley, I'm okay with even that. Even His rod and staff are a comfort to me.
- You know we like to paint the picture that the Christian life is so calm and tranquil. It's not this life that is tranquil, this life is anything but tranguil, but in this valley, going through it as we have no other choice, Christ is our tranquility. How so? His rod and His staff and His all sufficiency!
- kjv@Psalms:23:5 @ Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
- So not only do have no other option but to go through this valley of the shadow of death, man, we even have to face enemies along the way. Not only our own personal enemies, but more so the enemies of our Lord (and you thought getting through your favorite psalm - psalm 23 was going to be easy) (I'm about ready to close this book and go read the sports page).
- It's a good thing that we have already been comforted by the rod and staff, that we've been restored and led to paths of righteousness, fed to our contentment by green pastures and still waters. How else would we be familiar enough with Christ's all sufficiency to arm ourselves for His spiritual battles? The table is not prepared until the victory is assured and the victor is well on his way back to the kingdom. The enemies should be well aware of this, they are present while the victors table for us is being prepared. (glad I didn't close this book)
- kjv@Psalms:23:6 @ 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.
- I have to ask you now: Who is your Shepherd? Who is your spiritual overseer? Really?
- General notion of God?
- Another God?
- Can't get away from Shepherd.
- The Lord Jehovah is my Shepherd and I'll tell you why?
1 @ The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
- The sacrifice of Messiah - Lamb/Servant is all sufficient (sin causing death transferred/lifted and innocence/righteousness imputed).
- The reign of Messiah - King is all sufficient (being restored to the right hand throne of judgment, ruling over cleansed and appreciative born again hearts + all creation, with power and glory and majesty eternally)
- The leading of Messiah - Shepherd through this remaining section of the valley of the shadow of death is all sufficient.
- He is all sufficient, there is no want or lack, nothing I have to supply, only follow.
2 @ He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
- Not only is my soul's spirit quickened, it is feed on the greenest of all grasses and the purest of living waters, fed to the point of peace with God and life, therefore complete spiritual satisfaction and rest.
3 @ He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
- Just as my Shepherd gave Himself over to be shepherded in this life by Jehovah, I give myself over to Him.
- The journey from here to there is hard and long, yet with each new day I am restored.
- I do not determine which path leads to righteousness, I follow His path, His path has He has tested and proven to be right for my safe passage.
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.
- I have yet to escape this world, in this world there remains plenty of evil. The fear of evil is not my Shepherd though. What on earth could men do to me that would separate me from the love of my shepherd? What could they do to me that they haven't already done to my shepherd? that He wouldn't be right there with me leading me back out from?
- Neither am I above correction as well. With His reproof I might feel embarrassed with my self, not embarrassed for Him because He is right, He has not abandoned me nor corrected me out of meanness.
5 @ Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
- There is a big event upcoming, the victor over heaven and earth is to be married to His bride, there is a place at one of those tables being set for me. Many people have been invited, most will not accept this invitation, few will be chosen.
- I normally do not have enemies, the few I might have I have been command to love even them, my true enemies are enemies of the Lord, not even my love for them in Christ can change them. They say that it is God that is unfair and judgmental, I say hey it's His wedding (a wedding that you for yourself have chosen not to attend), it is you that is not fair and judgmental. Sorry!
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.
- Like my Lord, it doesn't matter what the others say about or do to me, I am with my Shepherd, my good Shepherd, I am part of His flock. His sheep know His voice, we go where He leads. Not that it is easy, not that it doesn't come with challenges that I will have to depend upon His all sufficiency, easy is not what it is all about, it is about being there with Him and the goodness that follows Him.
- Then there is the house of the Lord for ever, that brothers and sisters is our ultimate destination. Having been quickened. Having been adopted. Having been guided on a long arduous journey through a most dangerous and fearful place, taught to rely upon another man's all sufficiency, having attended this man's glorious victory and wedding feast, now we are brought into the mansion that this Lord and Savior/King of Kings/Shepherd of shepherds has been all this time preparing for us.
- Who is your Shepherd?
- It might be easier - General notion of God? Relics of Religion? Government? Another man? Self? = NO SHEPHERD TO BE FOUND.
- My Shepherd is the seed of David, the one Shepherd Jehovah promised Israel through kjv@Ezekiel:34, the Prophet promised Moses, the head crushing seed promised Adam and Eve. Exceeding great and precious promises going a long long way back.
- Oh there are other shepherds that will be neglecting to tell you this, shepherds that will tell you that the promised shepherd is late yet to come, shepherds that will tell you that for now they are your shepherds, to trust where they are leading you.
- Where is it friend that they have been leading you? Nowhere? Circles? Dispersed and scattered and prey to the beasts? On to their warm and cozy fire and spit?
- Dare they speak this Shepherd's name?
- What is this Shepherd's name? You know it? JESUS
- Because Jehovah was Jesus' Shepherd and lead Him successfully through valley of the shadow of death through His sacrificial Lamb role and through to the Kingly right-hand throne, now that same Jesus qualifies to be our Shepherd restoring us back to His Father's good good pasture.
- This Shepherd is JESUS and can be no other
The LORD Jehovah has established Jesus to be my Shepherd, therefore because of that I shall not want.