December 12, 2019

Shepherded to Shepherd

Psalm 23 is likely the most well known passage in all of Christendom. However, it is often viewed in an entirely individual, objective, and shallow way. In order to have a proper appreciation of Psalm 23, we need to see what the goal, the end-product, of this psalm is.

In the last verse David declares, ” I will dwell in the house of Jehovah for the length of my days.” The entire experience of David—being led to the green pastures and restful waters, being shepherded through the valley, and feasting on the battlefield—culminates in one thing: dwelling in the house of Jehovah.

It is true that this psalm is largely a matter of our individual experience, founded on experiencing the Lord as our everything and all-sufficient one (v. 1), knowing Him as our enjoyment, rest, and path (vv. 2-3), abiding in His presence (v. 4), and participating in His anointing (v. 5). However, all of these experiences of Christ should lead us to something corporate: His house and a desire to dwell there for the length of our days.

The divine and mystical meaning of this psalm is that all of our experiences of Christ should bring us to have a heart for the church, which is the house of the living God (1 Tim. 3:15). The Lord as the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4), the Shepherd of our souls (2:25), and the good Shepherd (John 10:11) does not shepherd us for our own well-being and building up alone. He also shepherds us so that we may shepherd others, so that we may nourish and cherish those in the church.

For example, after the Lord shepherded Peter through a multitude of situations and failures, He gave Peter one commission: “Shepherd My sheep” (John 21:16). After Peter had been brought through many “valleys,” fought on many “battlefields,” and was being brought to “waters of rest” on the seashore in John 21, the culmination of the Lord’s shepherding of Peter was that he would shepherd others, particularly those in the house of God—the church.

The experience of David and Peter should be our experience as well. The Lord’s dear shepherding through all of our situations should bring us into a life in which we shepherd others, a life in which our only desire, our “one thing” (Psa. 27:4), would not be to have an individualistic, week-to-week, traditional Christian life but that we would dwell in the house of Jehovah—the church—all of our days.

6 thoughts on “Shepherded to Shepherd

  1. To dwell in the house of Jehovah – the church – all the days of our life. To be shepherded and to shepherd others all the days of our life. Hallelujah!!

  2. Amen! The Lord does everything for His Body! TO ME FOR YOU! We are shepherded that we may shepherd others, esp those in the house of God! Now enjoying Him is no longer for our personal edification. Its for the church! This is our RESPONSIBILITY! May we all be strengthened and encouraged to constantly and faithfully receive shepherding in our personal walk with our Lord that the church may benefit. Tis a corporate matter! May our walk with the Lord be brought to a higher realm through this revelation! Praise Him for His timely speaking!

  3. amen. After reading John 21, one may ask: “How does the Lord have such a Big Heart?!!” Even after opening His heart to them, they turned away. But the Lord still came to shepherd them! His main concern was winning over their heart. He asked Peter about his love for Him three times!! This is our eternal Shepherd whom we need to experience. May He duplicate Himself in us in this way. Only with these experiences can we shepherd others according to God (1 Peter 5:2). We may be discouraged and without hope when our new ones turn away and are occupied with many things, matters, and person. This should cause us to pray for the pneumatic Christ to shepherd us to shepherd others, even with His divine care, faith, and Love.

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