|Pixabay (Public Domain)|
Self-absorption is characteristic of present day civilization. There was a time when it was more common among young children to whom everything was “mine,” but in a world of selfies and personal rights, it seems like even adults consider everything “mine.”
That makes Psalm 23:1 something that should appeal to a self-absorbed world: “The Lord is MY shepherd.”
He is not A shepherd, one of many.
He is not THE shepherd, an impersonal one.
He is MY shepherd.
In a self-absorbed world we often picture this as us standing up to our enemies, our troubles, our needs with “big brother” standing behind us to support us. We are the centre of our universe, the core around which everything swirls and He hangs around to back up our play. We are the “knights in shining armour” while He plays the squire holding the weaponry.
But the psalmist isn’t puffing out his chest and warning his enemies off because he’s got a secret weapon at his disposal. David is not self-absorbed here.
He is in awe, overwhelmed by the thought that Almighty God, the Creator, the King, is a personal God with a personal interest in his personal life.
That little word “my” makes a world of difference.
John 10 shows us the true picture of “my” shepherd. Jesus, describing Himself as the Good Shepherd, the True Shepherd, says this: “The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3, 4).
See the difference? He is not my Shepherd, or yours, because He stands behind us, or even alongside us. He is our Shepherd because HE has made us HIS sheep. We listen to HIS voice and we follow HIM where HE leads. HE stands in front. HE leads, we follow, not the other way around. We am not the centre of our universe—HE is!
I guess the question needs to be asked: Who am I in awe of? Myself, because I am His sheep, or HIM, because He has stooped down and made this wayward lamb one of His own?
It really does make a difference.