by Dr. Randy Tompkins

The 23rd Psalm is widely known and used many times in sermons and a variety of services. This song from the heart and mind of David usually reflects a man’s thought of how God and man interact. Today,  the prevailing theological thought is that David was penning these words not from the experiences of God and man, but from the eyes of a sheep.

Remember, all of David’s young life he was a shepherd. Through the years of shepherding his flock, he learned how the sheep responded to him and followed him. In essence he imagined how the sheep saw him.

If you would take a few minutes and read through the 23rd Psalm and think of a sheep making those statements. It may somewhat change the meaning of the words on the page. For instance, the passage, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” is not referencing the home ranch pastures.

This phrase is in reference to the trip the shepherd and flock made each spring from the home pasture to the high mountain pastureland in the spring and the return trip in the fall. Along that trail, there were areas with deep ravines and gullies. Predators could find many hiding places from which to attack the flock. However, the sheep were not afraid. They probably were not even aware of the terrible possibilities.

Why? Because the Shepherd, whom they loved and trusted, was with them.

We are in the midst of perilous times. Many are fearful and worried. Why are these feelings of anxiety and fear taking hold of our city, state, and country? Because we don’t see the Shepherd that is there to take care of us. The Pandemic has brought us to a point of life that has not been encountered since the very early days of the Polio epidemic.

My father lost a young brother to Polio and had another brother that lived for a time in an iron lung and lost a leg due to polio.

When the polio vaccine first came out, the same excuses were made that are being made today. The same fears were exhibited then as today. But when it was announced the vaccine was available in our town, my parents marched me to the head of the line and said, “He’ll take the shot with no reservations!”

Well, they didn’t have any reservations, but I did. However, they didn’t ask me. I took the shot. My parents were confident the Shepherd was with us.

When you are facing all the weirdness going on around us today, what do you rely on? Are you in the group that doesn’t believe anything good is correct? Or are you in the group (no matter what your theological views are) that believes a Shepherd that loves you and wants the best for you is constantly looking after your best interests?

In Christ’s Service,

Dr. Randy Tompkins

Interim Senior Adult Minister Calvary Baptist Church

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