Jesus Is Our Shepherd

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Like many folks when I was young, I memorized Psalm 23; the oft quoted psalm written by the Shepherd-King, David, that we use to compare to Jesus our Good Shepherd. I knew the words by heart, but didn’t fully understand their meaning until I recently began reading Chuck Swindoll’s Living the Psalms. Encouragement for the Daily Grind.

As with many Old Testament words and images, I find our modern understanding of them doesn’t always translate the true intent of Old Testament words clearly without a further explanation.

In his chapter on the psalm which Chuck Swindoll titled, “The Woeful Song of Frightened Sheep” he says:

  • Sheep lack a sense of direction. They get lost easily, even in the familiar environment of their own territory.
  • Sheep are virtually defenseless, awkward, weak, and ignorant.
  • Sheep are by nature unclean.
  • Sheep cannot find food or water. If left to themselves, sheep will eat poisonous weeds and die.
  • The sheep’s wool belongs to the shepherd, not the sheep.

Of course, as he lists the sheep’s qualities he compares them to humans, pointing out how like sheep we truly are.

Although I found Swindoll’s explanation of each of the psalm’s verses very interesting and helpful, the clarity I most discovered came from his explanation of verse 5: He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies.

The meaning of that verse never quite came into focus for me until now.

He explained how when the shepherd takes the sheep to a new field to graze, he rakes down the grass with his staff and looks for viper holes. When he finds the holes the adders live in, he pours a circle of oil at the top of each hole.

He also spreads oil on the sheep’s heads; anoints them in a way.

When the adders sense the sheep’s presence and attempt to attack, they can’t pass over the slippery oil.

Should they manage to climb out of their hole, the smell of the oil on the sheep’s head drives them away.

The sheep are now free to eat at the table full of fresh grass the shepherd prepared in the presence of the enemy snakes.

What about you? Does that make Psalm 23:5 clearer, or did you already understand its meaning?

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You spread out a table before me, provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies; You care for all my needs, anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil, filling my cup again and again with Your grace. Psalm 23:5 (VOICE)

I wish you well.


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A Man After God’s Own Heart

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Sheep. Sinner. Saved.

King David and I have several things in common. We both have been around sheep. I was the Queen of the Sheep Show in Rotorua, New Zealand, after all. We both are Jesse’s kin. My maternal grandfather’s name was Jesse. David and I both are sinners forgiven and saved by God’s undeserved mercy and grace. No further explanation necessary.

The more I study, the more I appreciate the record we have in the Bible of David’s life. We are given an honest look at the one who was called a man after God’s own heart. We are shown the good. The bad. And the ugly. The record of David’s life does not fill pages with his accomplishments, victories, psalms and leave out his shortcomings, deficits, sins. We are given the truth of who he was. A sinner saved by grace.

David didn’t set out to become a hero by slaying Goliath. He killed Goliath because the giant ridiculed Jehovah God. David did not seek the crown. God gave it to him. David did not believe himself above God’s justice. He repented of his sins and begged for the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy.

It seems David wanted to please God. It seems he was human and sometimes failed. It seems there were times when he messed up his life and the lives of others. It seems he had a lot in common with us.

David believed in a God who was bigger than the sum of his sins. He believed in a God of redemption. He believed in a God of mercy and forgiveness.

Look through the Psalms David penned and you will see David believed during his highest highs and lowest lows, whatever his state in life, it didn’t matter much if his heart wasn’t right with God. He wanted to be the man God wanted him to be. He was a man who got back up when he fell.

David was a man who wanted a heart like God’s heart.

I want my heart to look like God’s heart, too, don’t you?

Leave your comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven! What joys when sins are covered over! What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record. There was a time when I wouldn’t admit what a sinner I was. But my dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration. All day and all night your hand was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water on a sunny day until I finally admitted all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, “I will confess them to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Psalm 32:1-5 (TLB)

I wish you well.


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