Daily Devotional ThoughtsThis Week’s Study: Psalm 23:1Monday - Proud of our Shepherd!The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1).Today we being an in-depth study of the Shepherd Psalm. I am especially indebted to Phillip Keller (A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23) for many of the thoughts shared in this series. This poem was written by King David, who was, as you know, himself a shepherd.David begins this Psalm by bragging about his Shepherd. He writes: “The LORD is my shepherd!” We need to think of it this way: “The LORD is MYShepherd! What an amazing thought! The Lord God of the universe condescends to be my shepherd! Who is this LORD? To begin we notice the word is in all caps in our Bibles. When we see LORD in our Bibles we realize this is the word the Hebrews held in such reverence they did not even pronounce the word. Perhaps we can learn a bit about reverence from them! At any rate, today we don’t know how to pronounce this word. Sometimes we transliterate it to Jehovah, sometimes to Yahweh.Regardless of the pronunciation, here is what is important. The word LORD, or Yahweh, or Jehovah means “self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God: - Jehovah, the Lord” Strongs: H3068). Our Jehovah God is self-existent, indebted to no one or nothing else. And He loves and shepherds us! We’ll pick up here tomorrow.Tuesday - Proud of our Shepherd - our Creator-Part 1!The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1).As we saw yesterday, when we see the word “LORD” we know that the original author used a word which by definition names the self-existent God who is indebted to no one. Perhaps this word more than any other reminds us of the power and self-sufficiency of our God, the One Who created us. As Phillip Keller puts it:God the Father is God the author--the originator of all that exists. It was in His mind, first, that all took shape.God the Son, our Savior, is God the artisan--the artist, the Creator of all that exists. He brought into being all that had been originally formulated in His father’s mind.God the Holy Spirit is God the agent who presents these facts to both my mind and my spiritual understanding so that they become real and relative to me as as an individual (A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23, p. 11).The amazing thing about all this is just this: that the Creator Of the Universe looks with love and favor on you and me! The one true God who “In the beginning . . . created the heavens and the earth,” the one true God who “spoke, and it was done; . . . commanded, and it stood fast” loves us and cares for us (Genesis 1:1, Psalm 33:9). Truly “the LORD is my shepherd!”Wednesday - Proud of our Shepherd - our Creator - Part 2!The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1). In this psalm, David speaks “with a strong sense of pride and devotion and admiration. It was as though he literally boasted aloud, ‘Look at who my shepherd is--my owner--my manager!’ The Lord is!” (Keller, Ibid. p. 11).As a former shepherd himself, David knew a sheep’s quality of life is absolutely dependent on the shepherd. When blessed with a wise and caring shepherd the sheep enjoys a bountiful life. When cursed with an uncaring shepherd that same sheep would suffer starvation and endless hardship. So what kind of Shepherd is our God?First, He is the intelligent creator of the universe as we saw yesterday. Think of immensity of the universe. Space expanding beyond the farthest reaches of our imagination. Go out in the country to a dark place and gaze up at the stars. Think about the billions and billions of stars up there, so many they are beyond our ability to number. Consider that our sun is one of the smallest of these stars. Of all the stars and planets scattered across the universe the little planet we call earth is so small as to totally insignificant.Yet our self-existent, Creator God considers us worthy of His love and special care. Think of it! In the midst of this vast universe we are the objects God’s care and affection. Our Shepherd is one whose intelligence and power is beyond our understanding! How tremendously blessed we are to be able to say with the psalmist, “Truly “the LORD is my shepherd!”Thursday - God is our legitimate Shepherd.The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1).God’s right to be my owner and shepherd is established by at least three facts.First, as we’ve seen in our previous devotionals, God is my creator. “He. . . brought me into being and no one is better able to understand or care for me. I belong to Him simply because He deliberately chose to create me as the object of His own affection” (Keller, Ibid., pp. 12,13).Whether we care to admit it or not, God claims legitimate ownership. His knowledge of our needs is absolute and no one can better provide our necessities.Secondly, God bought us back. God gave us the ability to choose to stray away from His love and care. God did so because He wanted genuine love from human beings. God knew that by giving us the right and ability to choose or to reject Him, He would be truly loved by some and genuinely hated by others. By giving us that choice, God signed Jesus’ death warrant because God knew we would need a Savior. Our God “Himself absorbed the penalty for [our] perverseness” (Keller, Ibid. p. 13). “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all ((Isaiah 53:6). Our Creator paid the price for our sin and bought us back!What a Savior! And what a Shepherd! Today, if you’ve never before surrendered your life to your Savior, why not do it now? Today, whether old-time Christian or one who just came to God, let’s praise God for His love, for His intelligence and for being our good shepherd.Friday/Weekend - God is our legitimate Shepherd - Part 2.The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1).As we saw in Thursday’s devotional, God’s right to be our Shepherd is established by at least three facts. First, He created me. Secondly, when I rebelled and became a slave to Satan and sin, God bought me back. This happened when Jesus Christ died my death on the cross thus paying the price for my sin. Finally, God is my legitimate shepherd because, like a good shepherd, He is continually providing and laying “Himself out for us. He is ever interceding for us; He is ever guiding us by His gracious Spirit; He is ever working on our behalf to ensure that we will benefit from His care” (Keller, Ibid. p. 14).Matter of fact, as Phillip Keller points out Psalm 23 could rightfully be called “‘David’s Hymn of Praise to Divine Diligence.’ For the entire poem goes on to recount the manner in which the Good Shepherd spares no pains for the welfare of His sheep” (Ibid. p. 14). We’ll watch for this as we continue through this Psalm.Truly we are blessed to have such a wonderful Shepherd! We can be proud our our Shepherd! With joy we should exclaim, “The Lord is MY Shepherd!