We, working through the verses of Psalm 78, have traced Israel’s national history. From the time of the Exodus, her miraculous deliverance out of slavery in Egypt … until the beginning of her brightest days (so far), the reign of King David, son of Jesse.
Today we notice verses 70-71, part of the Psalm’s last paragraph. “He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: from following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.”
The “He” of our Text is none other then the Lord Himself. He selected David to be King. First Samuel chapter 16 shares the story of David’s initial anointing.
The name “David” means “beloved.” One who “loves” … in the end hungering for God with all his heart. The word for love incorporated into his name suggest “fervent, boiling, eager love,” not some lukewarm substitute.
The noun “servant” is “ebed,” a common “slave,” really! Once we have been saved, redeemed, we are all “servants” of Jesus Christ! So says Paul in the New Testament.
Note that God “took” David (spelled “laqach” in Hebrew, a strong verb meaning “lay hold of, seize, fetch,” once even “to marry”) from the “sheepfolds.” The young man obviously was a shepherd, watching his family’s flock. So was our Lord such a shepherd! He called Himself from time to time “the good shepherd,” and later the New Testament labels Him “the great shepherd,” and “the chief shepherd.”
The Old Testament often calls Israel’s leaders (particularly her kings) “shepherds.” Some were good and others bad, of course.
Clearly, shepherding here is emphasized as requiring “tender care” of the ewes, even those who are “with young,” expecting to give birth to little lambs!
And when David becomes King, he is just to “transfer” his job description from caring for a flock of sheep to leading a flock of God’s people! (The very “word picture” the Lord uses for a “Pastor” in today’s New Testament Church format!)
A King, charged with “feeding” his people! “The Lord chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: from following the ewes great with young he brought him TO FEED Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.”
This verb “feed” translates “raah,” a key Old Testament action word meaning “to see, to oversee, to care for, to keep a careful eye” on one’s charge!
What a concept!
A national leader … caring for his citizenry with concern, pathos, and a mind to their spiritual wellbeing!
What a prophetic picture of Jesus, our Lord!
Listen to Him: “I am the GOOD SHEPHERD: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” John 10:11, His Death here being emphasized.
And about Him: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that GREAT SHEPHERD of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21, now His Resurrection is in view.
And also: “And when the CHIEF SHEPHERD shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” First Peter 5:4, finally His Second Coming is highlighted!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell