Psalms is wonderful collection of prayer songs. Many are filled with praise. Many others are filled with despair. Often times the psalmist asks God in very specific and painful terms to punish and destroy his enemies. The psalms will alternately lift you up, bring you down, encourage you, discourage you; in short they will bring out every conceivable emotion in you. Jesus quoted from Psalms. In fact two-thirds of the Old Testament quotes by Christ and His disciples recorded in the New Testament are from Psalms. He said that all the prophecies about Him in the Psalms must be fulfilled, and there are many. Spend some time in the Psalms. In reading them, you will learn about Christ and you will learn about yourself. You do share many of the same emotions as the psalmist and Christ.
In our day, some of our most familiar, beloved, and comforting Scriptures come from this wonderful Hebrew hymn book, the Psalms. The 23rd Psalm may be the most quoted passage in the entire Bible or at least this side of John 3:16. Psalm 23 has been read at countless funerals down through the ages. The words of Psalm 23 paint a beautiful picture of our Savior watching over us, caring for us, keeping us safe, i.e. shepherding us as we pass through this life.
David wrote many but not all of the Psalms. He did write Psalm 23. He also wrote those on either side of it also. As others have pointed out before, it seems to me that Psalms 22, 23, and 24 are grouped together for a divine purpose. David wrote them all, but at different times in his life. So why should these three be put together? Psalm 22 written about one thousand years before Christ came, describes in great detail the crucifixion of Christ. In John 10, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Psalm 22 is the crucifixion psalm, the psalm of the Good Shepherd who has laid down his life for the sheep.
Psalm 23 paints a portrait of a living shepherd, one who is actively caring for his sheep. The work of the cross has been completed in the previous psalm. You now see the shepherd’s staff at work. Psalm 23 is written in the present tense. Christ is alive, leading us. Hebrews 13:20 reads, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord….” thus identifying Christ as the resurrected one, the Great Shepherd who is always present with His sheep.
Psalm 24 speaks of a king of glory, one strong and mighty, mighty in battle, ruling the world and all who live in it. It speaks of the king of glory receiving, accepting, and rewarding the faithful who have clean hands and a pure heart, who have sought after him. 1 Peter 5:4 states, “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” Peter is referring to Christ at His second coming as the Chief Shepherd. Psalm 24 is the psalm of the returning, reigning king who is the Chief Shepherd.
Christ is the Good Shepherd; He is the Great Shepherd; He is the Chief Shepherd. He is those three, but is He Your Shepherd? He won’t force Himself on you. He won’t be Your Shepherd unless you ask Him. Do it before it’s too late.