This is arguably the most familiar verse in the Bible. The most encouraging thing about it is that it is NOT written as a promise!
The little linking verb is in that statement makes it even more powerful than a promise. Is is undeniably present tense. And that makes all the difference.
If it were merely a promise – the sentence would read “the Lord will be my shepherd” … meaning that His shepherding is potentially yours in the future.
This truth is more powerful precisely because it is not written as a promise, but as a present reality. His activity as Shepherd (providing, protecting, directing) is accessible right now.
Find encouragement here: It is not a future possibility that He shepherds – it is what He is doing right now – for anyone who will hear His voice and come to follow Him. He is the utterly Good Shepherd, He lays down His life for His sheep. No one can ever snatch them out of the care of His hand.
For a person who has not yet embraced Christ — it means sincerely turning to Him and asking Him to be the leader and Lord of your life. It’s about asking Him to make what He did on the cross count for you. It means accepting His forgiveness for your sin. It means inviting Him to live in you and through you.
If you already know Christ, it means only one thing. Follow. Just do what sheep do. Follow the Shepherd. With that comes His shepherding — His provision, His protection, His direction for your life.
God IS …
He IS shepherding right now. It is a present reality. There is no waiting in line. His providing, protecting, directing care is available to you now. Listen for His voice, and like a sheep, catch up and stay near Him.
Is is a great spiritual reality — God is not potentially there for you – God IS already there for you:
“The Lord IS my strength and my song” Ex 15:2
“The Lord IS my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord IS the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Ps 27:1
“God IS our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” Ps 46:1
“God IS faithful” 1 Cor 1:9
“God IS stronger” 1 Cor 1:25
“God IS for us” Rom 8:31
“God IS able” 2 Tim 1:12
“The Lord IS my shepherd; [and] I HAVE ALL I NEED.”Psalm 23:1 (NLT)