A few days ago, a friend of mine (who was the one who made the song for this video) mentioned something to me that changed my life (not like a huge change, but a little one. Like a realization change, I guess).
He brought up Psalms 23,
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
It’s a verse that most of us know, some of us can even recite it from memory. It’s a Psalm of comfort that reminds us of how much God loves us and takes care of us. But there’s one little part that we tend to skip over without thinking about it.
Right there on the end of verse 3. It says,
for his name’s sake.
Christ followers are compared to a lot of things in the Bible. We are the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ, God’s Children, and in this verse and others we are referred to as sheep. I think the sheep comparison describes us the best.
All we think of is ourselves. I spend almost all of my time thinking about me. When I read Psalms 23, I read about how great it is that God protects me and leads me by still waters and how He comforts me. But verse 3 says that it’s not for me, it’s for His name sake.
A shepherd takes care of his sheep. He comforts them, he brings them near still waters, he puts them in green pastures and the sheep love it. But it’s not for the sheep that he does those things. He does it so that the sheep can be shorn for wool and slaughtered and eaten.
God takes care of us. He blesses us with things we need and want. He even comforts us when we need comforting. But He doesn’t do it for us. He does it for Him. Just like a shepherd takes care of his sheep and loves his sheep because of the benefit he gets out of it, God does the same for us.
We aren’t compared to sheep because we’re stupid (though we are). We aren’t compared to sheep because we flock around. We’re compared to sheep because we exist for the benefit of our shepherd.
Let that sink in.
The more you think about what the Bible says, the more you realize this is true. Take a look at Genesis. What does it say about why God created man? Take a look the rest of scripture and see what it says. God loves us. He loves us a lot. It’s not bad for us to enjoy His love. It’s good. But He doesn’t love us for us. He loves us for Him.