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The Shepherd Psalms

In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ is spoken of as “the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11), “the Great Shepherd” (Hebrews 13:20), and “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4). Also, in Hebrews 9 three lines of truth relating to Him is these three aspects are unfolded. In verse 24, Christ is presented as “entered … into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” This is the truth of Psalm 23, Christ “the great Shepherd of the sheep.” In verse 26, Christ is presented with these words: “Once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” This is Psalm 22, Christ “the Good Shepherd,” who gave His life for the sheep. In verse 28, Christ is seen in the future: “Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” This is Psalm 24, Christ “the Chief Shepherd,” who will yet come in glory.

Thus, we have in the three Psalms the Cross, the Crook, and the Crown. This sets forth symbols of the past, present, and future work of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Shepherd of the sheep and lambs of His flock. As to the Cross, we see His love unfolded in His sufferings to make propitiation for our sins (Psalm 22). The Crook suggests His grace that flows out in the loving, faithful care and ministry He carries on now (Psalm 23). The Crown symbolizes the glory that He will yet reveal in His kingdom on earth (Psalm 24).

—Donald T. Johnson, from Words of Truth

There are only two negatives in this Psalm, neither of which is detrimental to the child of God. They are: “I shall not want,” and “I will fear no evil.” —C.W. Slemming