Sunday, October 9, 2016

Good Shepherd in Psalm 23:3

artwork by Krista Hamrick

It is so energizing and exciting to participate in #Write31days, an online writing challenge where writers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in the month of October. Within the #Write31days category of Inspiration & Faith, I chose to focus on the topic of the Name Above All Names every day for 31 days. You can view each of my daily posts at this landing page.

Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art prints, Name Above All Names Alphabet and Psalm 23 have so inspired me. Each of the 26 individual Names she has identified are so special, as Krista has intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows, each one with its Scripture reference.

My heart has been drawn to do a word study for each of the names included in her art print. Krista and I felt led to publish our Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ available on Amazon at this link. 

I was inspired by Chris Tomlin's anointed Good, Good Father while studying  John 10:11 

  I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 

Amplified: I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep.

J. B. Phillips: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd will give his life for the sake of his sheep.

The Message: I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary.

Psalm 23 is perhaps the most beloved scripture about our Good Shepherd. Ask people which scripture they love the most and which has meant most to them and many would point to the Twenty-third Psalm. It has dried many tears and lifted many out of the pits of despair and discouragement. This small Psalm deals with almost every adverse circumstance in life and how to win over it.

Verse-by-verse study of Psalm 23:3

AMPC: He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.

CJB: He restores my inner person. He guides me in right paths for the sake of his own name.

EXB: He gives me new strength [renews my soul]. He leads me on paths that are right [righteous; or straight] for the good [sake] of his name [reputation].

TLB: He gives me new strength. He helps me do what honors him the most.

MSG: True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.

JEHOVAH-RAPHA—The Lord, my healer (Exodus 15:26)—He restores my soul:

JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU—The Lord, our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)—He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Pastor Warren W. Wiersbe writes: “God cares for us because He loves us and wants us to glorify Him. The shepherd cares for his sheep because he loves them and wants to maintain his own good reputation as a faithful shepherd.”

Jehovah-Rapha, the Good Shepherd is our restorer. He puts our lives back together. He gives us a new start. He renews and revives us. He picks us up, heal our hurts, our bitterness, our rejection, our loneliness, our feeling of worthlessness, that pain of a broken heart. He is our cure. He is the Great Physician.

The Good Shepherd goes ahead of the flock to discover green pastures and still waters. Then, he comes back to the sheep and escorts them to that place. He keeps them on the right path, the right direction. The shepherd's reputation is at stake when someone sees a sheep off the path, the right direction.

Jehovah-Tsidkenu: "I AM your righteousness." When we receive Christ as Savior and Lord we receive His robe of righteousness for our rags. We are made right with God. He then leads us in the right direction. He places us on the right path. The Good Shepherd has gone ahead of us, He has sent the Holy Spirit to escort us and show us the right way.

Pastor Octavius Winslow writes: “David, the king of Israel, would, from his early occupation as a shepherd, be thoroughly conversant with the roaming instincts of his flock, its natural proneness to wander, and its utter inability, by either memory or skill to retrace its steps back to the fold. His own spiritual history, as a sheep of Christ's flock, would supply Him with a striking and melancholy illustration of this fact in natural history. If ever there were a sad wanderer from the sacred fold, or one who, when restored, more sincerely deplored his backsliding, frankly confessed his sins and deeply felt his inability by any self-effort to return to God—it was David."

Pastor Winslow continues: "Who is the Restorer, but the Shepherd, whose the sheep are, and from whom they have wandered! There is but one Being who would or could go in quest of the stray sheep—traversing the bleak mountains and the lonely valleys, and the dark, stormy night, until He finds it, bringing it back upon His shoulder rejoicing. Christ alone knows the existence and extent of our soul-backslidings. With His hand upon the pulse—His eye upon the heart—acquainted with every fluctuating thought and emotion of the soul; who so fitted as He to seek and restore the wanderer from His fold? Oh what a throb of gratitude should beat in our hearts at the thought that Jesus knows us altogether—all our infirmities, and all our graces—when the pulse of love beats faintly, or when, in the sincerity of our hearts, we can appeal to His Omniscience, and exclaim, "You know that I love You!" "I know my sheep."

In the eastern tradition, a shepherd walks at the head of the flock. This is much different from the western tradition of driving the sheep from behind. The shepherd calls the flock out of the pen in the early morning to lead them to pools or wells of water where they can quench their thirst. He then guides them to green pastures, taking them around the rocky places where they might stumble. He assists the tiny and fragile sheep by lifting them with the crook of his staff. He runs his hand over the sheep as they enter the pen, counting them and ensuring that they have returned from the pasture unharmed. Then the shepherd settles in for the night to watch for predators. How awesome that Jesus is our shepherd. He will lead us to living water and guide us along the right path even when the way is rocky. He carries us when we stumble and watches over us during the dark nights of our lives, making us feel secure. All that He asks is that we respond to His voice and follow Him. 

Heavenly Father, 
It is comforting to know that I am not alone in the journey called life. God, I thank You that You are ever vigilant, watching over me, meeting with me in the morning, and abiding with me through the night. Even though I may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your name is Emmanuel--God with us--I am absolutely certain You are with me, You will never leave me or forsake me. May I always respond to Your voice and stay close to You. I gladly follow You as You call my name! In Your mighty Name Above All Names--Good Shepherd, we pray, amen.
Look Up—meditate on John 10:11 Pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on 
John 10:11 pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on 
John 10:11 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

* If you liked this post you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


  1. Blessings, Beth! May you be aware of the Shepherd's guidance in this 31 day adventure!

    1. Thank you, is such a joy to share with others what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has used to encourage me...many blessings to you!

  2. Beautiful artwork! Beth, I so love when you share either other versions or root meanings of words as they always open my eyes to see something new. Today was no different. The Amplified ... so grateful the Good Shepherd took a risk on me when He laid down His life. Those words will be something I think on all day. Blessings!

    1. Joanne, thank you so much for your kind comments! Krista Hamrick is an amazing artist! I purchased the 11 x 14 prints of Krista's Name Above All Names and Psalm 23 from her website... and have them in my quiet time very inspiring! Many blessings to you!


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