Yesterday, I wrote about the power of remembering that the Lord enlightens each of us individually. Today, I am also grateful for the pastoral care He provides to each of us.
In Psalm 23, David writes, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Through the rest of the psalm, he focuses on the blessings God gives him: peace, spiritual healing, protection, and love.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11). Several Book of Mormon prophets utilized this metaphor as well, emphasizing that the Savior provides gentle leadership which we must choose to follow:
- Alma: “I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep” (Alma 5:60).
- Nephi: “You have hardened your hearts; yea, ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd” (Helaman 7:18).
- Mormon: “[The Nephites] were once a delightsome people, and they had Christ for their shepherd; yea, they were led even by God the Father. But now, behold, they are led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her” (Mormon 5:18).
In light of these statements, David’s psalm sounds as much like a commitment as an expression of gratitude. God provides great blessings, and he chooses to receive them.
James Montgomery was the son of a Moravian pastor and a prolific hymn-writer, who lived in the early 1800s. The hymn “The Lord Is My Shepherd,” a poetic paraphrase of Psalm 23, appeared in his book Songs of Zion, published in 1822. It was set to music by Thomas Koschat, an Austrian composer who sang in the choir at St. Stephen’s cathedral in Vienna.
Here is a beautiful arrangement of this hymn by Mack Wilberg, sung by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. You might consider listening to this hymn with the text of Psalm 23 in front of you, to observe how Montgomery adapted the text.
Today I will be grateful for the Lord’s willingness to gently guide me, as a shepherd guides his or her sheep. I will choose to heed His call, knowing that He can provide all of the blessings described by David.