David’s description of the Shepherd in the 23rd Psalm who cares for and loves His sheep, is a fitting illustration of the Messiah’s love and care for His sheep, who He came to redeem.
Sheep are undoubtably the dumbest and most helpless of all animals. Unable to care for themselves, they will soon perish without the attentive care of a good shepherd. Sheep cannot find food or water for themselves; they must be led to green pastures and cool waters. Very often sheep will fall and turn upside down with their hooves pointing into the air. Unless the Shepherd comes to their rescue and turns them right side up, they will die. David referred to this frequent event as being “cast down.”
Psalms 37:24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.
On four occasions, David asks of his own soul; why are you cast down?
Psalms 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.
David had apparently seen the sheep many times in this precarious position with their feet pointed up into the air—hopeless, and helpless unless he came as their shepherd and turned them right side up. This reminded him of those times when his own heart was discourage—turned upside down, and God came as his Shepherd to give him hope and help. (more…)