Episode 034 – Psalm 23 Pt 1: My Savvy Shepherd

Key Passage(s): Psalm 23:1

Psalm 23 is one of the most well-known and beloved passages in the entire Bible. And over the next several weeks, we’re going to tackle this culturally-rich psalm, unpacking all the ways it’s as relevant today as it was when written three thousand years ago. In this particular teaching, we learn what it takes to be a great shepherd, and how astounding it is for David to proclaim, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

Discussion Questions

  • What’s your biggest takeaway from the teaching?
  • How have you traditionally understood the shepherding profession?
  • What surprised you most about the skills required to shepherd well?
  • Do you find your deepest security in the good shepherd or do you place it in other things (position, wealth, reputation, accomplishments, other people, etc.)?
  • In what ways have you been lured into the “wants of the world” and have lost sight of your need to rely on the good shepherd?
  • What “needs” do you have that you haven’t brought before God in a while or even at all? Take some time to do so.
  • How will you begin relying anew on the good shepherd this week?

For Further Study


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  1. Good morning Brad,
    After this beginning I’m sure the entire series is going to be interesting. I’m looking forward to it.

    Thank you,

  2. Brad, what a great reminder that because of who God is and His capabilities I don’t need to have want or anxiety for my future or my care. Thank you also for the resources. Looking forward to the series. On a side note, somehow I can’t find the ebook you offered when we signed up on Walking The Text. Would you be able to send it as an attachment to my email (karlfigg@mtco.com). Thank you

  3. I loved hearing that the sheep and goats THRIVE in the wilderness as I am in a wilderness place for a time and it is good to know that I will thrive here with my Good Shepherd.

  4. Love Psalm 23 and after time in Israel definitely revolutionized how I understand it cannot wait for you to get to some of the other awesome parts and unpack them even more… the right paths….
    Random question- would you ever let someone else use your photography? I have a photo of a shepherd in the Negev Desert that I was literally just trying to have blown up to put on my wall but they say the quality is not good enough… Your photo is even better- would you consider sharing? No worries if not.

  5. I am so excited about this teaching.
    I used to play guitar and sing in church many years ago and my favorite song was about the lord being my sherpard. It was in Spanish and the words say that there where 100 sheep in the pastors that the lord took care of and one day when he counted there were only 99. He cried with sadness left the 99 and went to look for it. He found it shivering he took it in his arms and healed it’s wounds and returned to his sheep. The words say that this story repeats itself till this day. Sheep are still lost in this world because they haven’t seen the light of the lord.
    I was that lost sheep and to see myself being found by Him and being held in his arms words cannot explain my feelings
    I sing this song all the time.
    By the way. Do you know if this story is written anywhere in the Bible?

  6. If Jesus says I am the good Shepherd and it was always attributed to God, Psalm 23 The Lord-YEHOVAH-is my shepherd then using the phrase-I AM-and Good Shepherd then do we see YEHOVAH TORAH in the flesh Himself and thus correctly called-The Salvation of YEHOVAH(term Jesus-YASHUA) of Himself by an anointed One, ha Mashiachi.??

    Jer 3:15 speaking of —-TORAH?

    • The Jer 3:15 is more straight forward than that. God is upset with the “shepherds” (“leaders”) of Israel for not leading them well. God is saying here that new shepherds will be raised up to lead the people the way he wants them led.

  7. Great job Brad! Wow, an entire massage on ONE sentence. Really looking forward to you unpacking the rest of the Psalm. I wonder now, after your video, about the Green Pastures we can LIE DOWN IN…

  8. Part 1 poses a conceptual challenge: imagine shepherding as it was practiced in the Judaean & Negevian deserts of David’s time.

    You help us navigate this challenge by:

    (a) refuting a conception of shepherding that many 21st-century North Americans hold (especially if we’ve lived in the temperate zone climate and geographies) … and then

    (b) building an 11th-century-B.C. conception with the visual and verbal information you provide.

    You build this 11th-century-B.C. conception of shepherding around Jeremiah 3:15, indicating that Judaean & Negevian shepherds had specialized “knowledge and skill,” tailored to the terrain, climate, flora, and fauna of the day.

    The knowledge-based dimensions of shepherding you list are:
    * knowledge of harsh environments
    * knowledge of unforgiving canyons
    * knowledge of treacherous water realities
    * knowledge of persistent predators
    * knowledge of poisonous plants
    * knowledge of venomous insects ….

    The skills-based dimensions of shepherding, though, are absent.

    1. What are the specialized skills that 11th-century-B.C. shepherds possessed that were unique to shepherding in the Judaean & Negevian deserts?

    2. What could an 11th-century-B.C. shepherd do with his knowledge that 21st-century North American would find surprising, insightful and contextualizing?

    I may be asking questions that are addressed in subsequent Parts of this Teaching Series. But here at the outset I’m wondering if there’s something to be said that can foreshadow the shepherding skills to come.

    Curious to learn more …

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