From the archives of Evelyn Roberts
Psalm 23 says that the Lord is our Shepherd. A shepherd is one who guides and leads. Sheep need a shepherd. One reason is that sheep follow their noses. They put their heads down and start grazing, and they have such a poor sense of direction that they will graze right over a cliff if the shepherd doesn’t watch them.
If a sheep strays, it’s in danger, and the shepherd has to find it and restore it to the flock. We, too, are like sheep. We may go wandering off, but our shepherd leaves the rest of the flock to search for us and bring us back to the fold safely.
I’m told that when a shepherd in Israel takes his sheep from one pasture to another, he uses his rod to beat off snakes, wild animals, or anything that endangers his sheep. This is exactly what the Lord, our Shepherd, does for us. He is our Protector, and He beats off any evil that comes against us as we trust in Him. Psalm 23:4 says: I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Verse 5 says the Shepherd anoints our head with oil. To me, that symbolizes the Holy Spirit. I’m told that sheep get extremely hot, and briars scratch their faces. At day’s end, the shepherd takes a vial of oil and pours it on the heads of the sheep and into their wounds. The soothing oil helps to heal them. The Holy Spirit does the same for us. When we’re in a tangle with our adversaries and problems, the Lord anoints us with His Holy Spirit.
Verse 6 says, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the of the Lord for ever. This verse reminds us that our Shepherd is pouring out His goodness upon us, and He is with us always!