Psalm 23:1-3 (NLT)
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name�s sake.
A good shepherd always provides for the needs of his sheep. He watches over them. He keeps them fed and watered. The shepherd is always on guard to ensure his sheep follow the right paths that are safe to travel. David understood this because he was a shepherd and he saw God as his shepherd leading him to good places.
There's a line in the Old Testament written by Isaiah that tells the result of God's gamble, (Isaiah 53:6): "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way." Although God has a right to own us because he created us, he gave us the option of freedom, and we all left. We chose sin and did not love him as he wanted to be loved. In response, he chose to send out his own son to look for us, to hunt us down, to find and redeem us at a terrible cost--the cost of his own life.
A shepherd notches the ear of a lamb born to his flock and has rightful ownership. That lamb deliberately walks away. The shepherd searches near and far to get that lamb back. A long time later, he finds not a baby lamb but a grown sheep for sale at an animal auction. The shepherd recognizes his mark on that sheep's ear. He goes to the auctioneer and says, "I can see the mark. That sheep is mine."
The auctioneer says, "Listen, you must bid and pay just like anybody else."
The shepherd bids and pays an outrageous price, far above any reasonable market value in order to get his lamb. He now has a double right to own this sheep: from birth, from redemption.
God has a right to own us as creator and because he has paid the blood of his own Son--an outrageous price far above our market value--in order to redeem us back again. [Leith Anderson, "The Lord Is My Shepherd," Preaching Today, Tape No. 136.]
God watches over us and even provided His own Son as payment for our sins. How dear we are to God, precious in His sight. Let us love God in return and follow Him to green pastures that are good places for us to be.