In Psalm 23 David refers to God as his shepherd. This begs the question: In what way is God like a shepherd? David teaches that God is like a shepherd in at least five ways. In this post we’ll look at the second way. David says:
God is my shepherd in that he comforts me.
David writes in Psalm 23:3a, “He restores my soul.” Let me explain… A cast sheep is a sheep that’s been turned over on it’s back and can’t get up. If a sheep is cast for too long, it will die. The shepherd is always on the look out for a cast sheep. When he finds one he runs over to it, flips it over, and rubs its legs to get the blood flowing again. The sheep take comfort in the tender care of their shepherd. David here is saying that God, as Shepherd, has always picked him up when he was cast down.
For example, after David killed Goliath, Saul became jealous of David and he had to flee to the wilderness to hide from Saul, who sought to kill him. Well one day, the arch enemies of the Israelites, the Philistines, attack the Israelite town of Keilah and David sees this as a chance to get back into Saul’s good graces. David defends the city and defeats the Philistines. David thinks to himself: Surely Saul will stop trying to kill me now! But as soon as Saul hears of David’s whereabouts, he sets out to kill him! David is crushed! Maybe this was the instance that caused David to write “…my soul is downcast with me…” Psalm 42:6. But when David was cast down God sent Jonathan, David’s best friend, to help David find strength in God. Jonathan spoke many encouraging words to David, assuring him that one day he would be king (1 Samuel 23). Jonathan’s act of love, prayers of support and words of encouragement lifted David’s spirits and restored his soul. David was cast as a sheep but through Jonathan, God lifted David’s spirits.
I was sick not too long ago. I was cast down. And my growth group brought me breakfast to lift my spirits. They knew that bacon would lift my spirits just as much as prayer so they brought some over along with some pancakes and many other tasty breakfast treats. Through their act of love, encouragement and prayer support, my spirits were lifted.
When you choose to make the Lord your Shepherd he cares not just for your physical needs but your emotional needs as well. When you are down in the dumps, he sends just what you need or who you need to lift you up – to restore your soul. If you are cast down today I would encourage you to invite God to be your Shepherd because there is nothing more he would love to do than run to your side and flip you over. If you’ll make God your Shepherd, you can say, as David did: God is my Shepherd in that he comforts me.