|artwork by Krista Hamrick|
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 listening to this beautiful rendition of the Psalm 23 song, The Lord's My Shepherd, by Stuart Townend. while studying John 10:11 …
NASB: 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.
Verse-by-verse study of Psalm 23:5...
CEB: You set a table for me right in front of my enemies. You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over!
TLB: You provide delicious food for me in the presence of my enemies. You have welcomed me as your guest; blessings overflow!
Pastor Warren W. Wiersbe writes:
23:5a—"Another word for “feast” is “table.” This table doesn’t necessarily refer to a piece of furniture used by humans, for the word simply means, “something spread out.” Flat places in the hilly country were called “tables,” and sometimes the shepherd stopped the flock at these “tables” and allowed them to eat and rest as they headed for the fold."
23:5b—"The shepherd would examine the sheep as they entered the fold to be sure none of them was bruised, injured, or sick from eating a poisonous plant. To the wounds, he applied the soothing oil, and for the thirsty, he had his large two-handled cup filled with water. He would also apply the oil to the heads and the horns of the sheep to help keep the flies and other insects away. The sheep knew they were safe, and they could sleep without fear."
Jehovah-Nissi--God is our Banner--A banner has the idea of a raised flag or pole, which is a symbol of victory. It has the idea of a banner gleaming conspicuously for all to see. It's the Cross that is the symbol of our victory. We are justified on the basis of Christ’s finished work on the Cross. We are under the banner of the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Because we have placed our trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we are redeemed by His precious blood. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. Knowing that God’s love for us and approval of us will never be determined by our performance is the most encouraging promise to which we cling.
Pastor Charles Spurgeon writes: "Thou preparest a table, just as a servant does, when he unfolds the damask cloth and displays the ornaments of the feast on an ordinary peaceful occasion. Nothing is hurried, there is no confusion, no disturbance, the enemy is at the door, and yet God prepares a table, and the Christian sits down and eats as if everything were in perfect peace. Oh! the peace which Jehovah gives to his people, even in the midst of the most trying circumstances! Anoint my head with oil and my cup overflows, both activities represent the first two things a gracious host would do for an honored guest in David's day. The host would take a small clay pitcher with a very narrow neck, break the neck and pour the perfumed oil over the guest's head until it drips onto his beard and clothes, thus anointing him with a sweet smell. What a scene of blessing and honor. The psalmist’s head was anointed with oil, a generous gesture which bestowed honor on him as an esteemed guest. My cup overflows, not only enough, a full cup but more than enough, an overflowing cup, not half-filled, but running over, not “leftovers” but abundantly given. God’s provision is as abundant as the drink offered to a guest by a generous host. The lavish treatment of the guest is indicative of the loving care of God for His people."
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.