My Shepherd, My Father

Bible Book: Psalms  23
Subject: Father's Day; Father
[Editor's Note: Dr. Johnny Sanders went home to be with the Lord a few years ago. He provided material for this website from the beginning and I appreciate him so much. Check out the Commentaries he left for us on this website as well. I found this message that had not been uploaded to PastorLife on July 16, 2019 and I now add it in his memory.]

Psalm 23

It was many years ago, but I remember it as though it happened yesterday. Clay and some of his buddies were standing together at the health club, each trying to top the other with tales of their manhood. In reality, each was trying to impress the others with stories of sexual exploits. Finally, as if make his point more forcefully, Clay announced, with a knowing eye, "I have a little girl somewhere!"

Translate that, "I am really a man!" Another young man assured them he has a baby somewhere. And I'm thinking, "And God knows where that baby is, and He knows where you are."

Clay's claim seemed unreal to me at that time, but now, some 35 years later, there are a lot of men who could make such a claim. A young girl, still in elementary school, announced to her friends and her teacher, "I am supposed to go home with my daddy today, but he is taking me back to my mother early because he has a date. He has a date with this woman who has slept with every man in town. She has slept with every man my mamma has slept with!" No child should have to grow up in an environment like that!

The Bible commands us to honor our parents, and that we should. However, we are living in a day when there is serious need for more honorable parents to whom their children can look for those essentials a father should provide. As a teacher with a lot of experience, my wife has been telling me for twenty-five years how our society is changing, based primarily on what she has seen in the lives  of children in her classroom - fathers abandoning their children - mothers inviting a series of boyfriends to move into her home and expose her children to the most vile, evil things in our society. When that boyfriend turns attention to mother's young daughter, my son, the juvenile prosecutor for the District Attorney's office, gets involved. Since his cases are confidential, he can only report in generalities, which is fortunate for children, but may be unfortunate for society because that man will go on to the next girlfriend and her children.

Right after I graduated from seminary I was asked by my father to meet with a group from their church, my home church, to talk with a man who had been accused of touching a thirteen year old girls in a questionable manner. He may have simply hugged the girl, but when she told it, there were questions. The girl's father had said he would meet, but only if I attended the meeting to help keep things under control. I don't know that the man was guilty of anything other than poor judgment, but I will never forget something my father said as we drove home from the meeting. He said, "Son, a  man who cannot resist a thirteen-year-old girl is not much of a man." He was right.

There are a lot of men out there today who think of themselves as real men who fall under the judgment of my father - not much of a man. A man who is unfaithful to his wife is not much of a man, his ego notwithstanding! A man who abandons his children is not much of a man. The man who neglects his children is not much of a man. The man who abuses his children is not much of a man, no matter what image he may have of himself.

What does it take to make a man? What does it take for a man deserve honor from his children? I would like for us to consider that question today in light of a very familiar passage of Scripture. I have preached from the Twenty-third Psalm many times, in worship services, in revivals, and often in funeral messages. I have often been amazed when the Lord has given me a fresh message from this familiar passage. I once read a paraphrase of the first verse that read something like this: "The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I want." Those who have spent a lot of time with Psalm we are aware of the simple truth that verse one declares both the thesis of the psalm and the significance of that thesis. More recently, I feel that I have been led to a little deeper truth, a truth so rich that I do not know how I ever missed it. Please follow me as I read the Twenty-third Psalm and then share a few thoughts that I believe we can take and make an application for Father's Day, or simply to learn something that will help us apply these great truths to our daily walk with the Lord.

Now here is the parallel I would like to draw between our Heavenly Father (our Shepherd) and our earthly father. A faithful father must offer three things to his children: (1) relationship, (2) protection, and (3) provisions. God clearly meets those three obligations in the mind and heart of David, the shepherd King.

Now, here is another point that I would like for us to keep in mind. Man did not simply assign attributes of an earthly father to his concept of God in order to explain Him to others. God is the model, the standard, and the inspiration for the earthly father. Even in areas in which no earthly father can measure up to our Heavenly Father, He is still the model for all earthly fathers.

I. Verse 1

A. The Lord Is My Shepherd 1a

First, consider the word "the". If I remember my grammar lessons the word "the" is a definite article. We are not dealing with some generic god here. We are looking at The Lord, the one true God. David wanted people to know that his Shepherd was the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. He was not talking about Baal, Dagon, or Allah. The One to whom he owed allegiance was the God of Creation, the God of Adam and Eve. This is the God of Noah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is the God of the Exodus, the God who met Moses on the holy mountain, the God of the Ten Commandments, the God of the Covenant. He was the God of the Conquest, the God of history, the God of the Psalms.

David's Shepherd was not simply a God, He was The God. Francis Schaeffer wrote a book, The God Who Is There, in which the former agnostic makes the case for the existence of the one true God. He followed that book with another one, He Is There And He Is Not Silent, in which he shows that God the Creator reveals Himself to the one creature created in His image. He reveals Himself in nature, but He reveals Himself more forcefully in and through His Word. For example, he spoke these words to Moses:

"I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.... for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments" (Ex 20:2-6, KJV).

Paul was inspired to write some powerful words in Romans about those who witness evidence of God's existence and decide to worship some false god of their own making rather than the one true God. He writes:

"For God's wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles" (Rom. 1:18-23, HCSB).

David was certainly no fool when we wrote, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Ps. 14:1, KJV). Nor was a fool when he recognized one, and only one, God as His Shepherd.

When the word "Lord" is found in all caps, there is a special significance associated with it. There are three primary words used for the Creator in the Old Testament. The first is Elohim, a general name for God which stresses His power (He had the power to create the world exactly as He says He       did in Genesis. The second word is Adonai, a word which denotes sovereignty. He has the   sovereign right to reign over all He created. The third word is special, it is the covenant name for God. Most student of the Word believe the name to have been pronounced Yahweh. The name is unique because it can apply to no other than the God of Abraham, Moses, and David. It is the name the Lord gave Moses at the burning bush. This word for God is actually a verb, "I AM". When the word Adonai   is translated into English it is Lord (Capital "L" and lower case "ord"). When Yahweh is translated   into English it is rendered LORD (all caps). When you see that you know you are looking at the covenant name for God, the most holy name, meaning, I am that which I am; I was that which I was; and I will be that which I will be.

Listen to the words God spoke to Moses on a later visit when he gave the Ten Commandments for a second time.

"The Lord came down in a cloud, stood with him there, and proclaimed [His] name Yahweh. Then the Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed: Yahweh-Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand [generations] , forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin. But He will not leave [the guilty] unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers' wrongdoing on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation" (Ex 34:5-7, HCSB).

David used the covenant name for God in Psalm 23, along with the definite article. David's Shepherd is the one and only God, Who can never be confused with pagan gods, the gods of the New Age movements, or the gods of gold, silver, brass, stone, or wood.

The word "my" makes this very personal. He is "my" LORD. He is my God. He is my Shepherd. He is my Father. In the New Testament, Jesus teaches us to pray "Our Father." In so praying, we settle the relationship between ourselves and our Lord, just as we settle the relationship between ourselves and all other believers.

Somewhere a number of years ago I read about two ministers who took a vacation in the Highlands of Scotland, where they walked daily among the hills and alongside bubbling streams. One day, the encountered a young boy who was tending the family's small flock of sheep. They shared their faith with the lad, using the Twenty-third Psalm to draw a parallel between the Good Shepherd and the boy's work with his sheep. They prayed with him, believing that he understood.

The following year they returned to the area and daily walked the same hills, all the time looking for the shepherd boy. Toward the end of their vacation they stopped by a cottage to ask for a drink of water, and as they visited with the lady of the house, one of them told her about meeting a young lad the year before who was tending his sheep. When they described the boy the lady exclaimed, "That was my son!" She went on to tell that he failed to come home one day and when they searched for him they found that he had fallen over a precipice and had apparently lived only a short while after the fall. They expressed their sympathy. The mother said, "I would like to ask you a question. When they found his body the ring finger of his left hand was held tightly in his right hand. Do you have any idea what that could mean?'

The visiting ministers smiled and one said, "Yes, we know. You see, that was the 'my' finger. We told him about Jesus and asked him to pray, asking Jesus to forgive his sins and come into his heart.

We asked him to hold up the fingers of his left hand and touching each, and beginning with the thumb say The Lord Is My Shepherd. We asked, if you are really trusting Jesus to be your Good Shepherd, take hold of the 'my' finger. Your son died holding onto the 'my' finger."

The Lord is my Shepherd. No one who read the Shepherd's Psalm in David's day had to ask what the duties of the shepherd were. No one had to ask what kind of person it took to make a good shepherd. No one had to ask about the courage or commitment of a good shepherd. They all knew. The shepherd was like the cowboy of the Old West. His was a rugged life, not for the faint of heart. David was, even as a young boy, a model shepherd. He led his sheep to green grass and good water. He provided for them. He protected them against all enemies, killing both a bear and a lion that threatened his father's sheep. He knew the commitment required and he had the courage to do whatever it takes to protect and provide for the sheep.

The good shepherd offers three things. (1) He offers a personal relationship (John 10); (2) He offers his protection; and (3) He offers the provisions the sheep need. David did those things for his sheep, and meditated upon the many ways in which his Shepherd did those things for him.

In the NT, Jesus identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd. Let Him tell us about it in His own words, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10:11, (HCSB). Jesus offers a personal relationship, He offers us His protection, and He offers His provisions. How do we become a part of his fold? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved (Rom. 10:13).

B. I Shall Not Want 1b

I shall not want for a relationship. David provided everything his sheep needed, including the security and peace of knowing him as well as a sheep can know a shepherd. David had a personal relationship with the Shepherd of his life. Everything he did for his father's sheep his Heavenly Father did for him.

I shall not want for protection. David fought and killed both a lion and a bear when he was still a young boy. He would risk his life to protect his sheep. As he considered the Lord as his Shepherd, he realized that God was absolutely able to protect him. David might give his life and still not fully protect his sheep. His Shepherd could and would protect him, and his Shepherd was never in any danger. No threat in the world would prevent God from protecting His servant.

I shall not want for provisions. A father who loves his children seeks to provide for them. Sometimes he fails through no fault of his own. Circumstances, such as illness, war, famine, or a depression can greatly impact the earthly father's ability to provide for his children. Bad decisions can prevent the earthly father from providing for his children. Divorce may determine to some extend how much he can help his children.

The only thing that stood between David and the Lord, his Shepherd, was that which stood beyond the will and purpose of his Shepherd. Today, when our Heavenly Father's provisions do not reach us we can look to two primary factors: (1) our rebellion, or (2) His sovereign will for us.

God not only provides our daily bread, He has provided gravity to hold us on the earth. He has placed the earth at exactly the right distance from the sun so that we will neither freeze to death nor burn up along with all other life on earth. He has blessed us with water to drink and food to eat.

II. Verse 2

B. He Maketh Me To Lie Down In Green Pastures 2a

David, like all good shepherds, planned the grazing carefully so that he would always be able to lead his sheep to a green meadow or hillside so that they could receive the nourishment they needed.

That was the goal of every good shepherd. They kept in mind the fields in their area so as to avoid overgrazing and to avoid following another flock only to find stubble where he expected to find green grass.

Some of the early cattlemen in the west reasoned that if the land could support millions of buffalo, it could sustain a herd of cattle numbering in the thousands. In time they came to understand that buffalo kept moving and in doing so instinctively avoided overgrazing. The grass came back, but  when it was overgrazed it would die down to the roots. David sang the praises of his Shepherd for leading him to green pastures. He is still leading his people to green pastures. If you end up in a dry, barren field you can be sure you were not following the Good Shepherd.

The faithful father seeks to provide for his family. My father was orphaned at four years of age. At twelve years of age he dropped out of school and began pulling a cross-cut saw all day every day  with grown men to help feed himself and his grandmother. At sixteen he was running a crew in the woods. Before he was twenty, during the Great Depression, he joined the CCC so that he could help provide food shelter for the aunt who had helped provide for him when he was growing up. When he had a family he worked long hours on his farm to provide for his children. He was concerned about their physical needs as well as their spiritual, social, and educational needs. When I go into my shop or pick up a tool I often thank my father for taking the time to training me. My earthly father was not infallible, but my Heavenly Father is both willing and able to provide the what I need.

B. He Leadeth Me Beside The Still Waters

Here is another example of the provisions we receive from our Shepherd. Some earlier students of the Word explained that sheep will not drink from running water. A teacher in a Christian school once told me that was not true. She knew, she said, because her father kept sheep and they would drink from running water. The lady may have been right, but she missed the point.

David may never have heard anyone say, "Still waters run deep", but he understood the significance of it. Randy Knepper, a banker in Jacksonville, Florida, and I served together on the board of trustees for LifeWay Christian Resources. In September, 2006, Randy and I arranged to meet early for a  board meeting at Glorieta, New Mexico, so we could spend some time driving through the Pecos Canyon, following the Pecos River. The next day we drove much higher into the Rockies, often stopping to photograph streams. As we drove through the mountains we stopped often along side deep gorges or canyons. When we stepped out of the car, or let down the windows, we could hear the water running down the mountain side. Even when we could see no water we could hear it. We often saw white water rushing through big rocks or cascading over boulders. That would not be a safe place for sheep to drink. A few days later Charles and Doris Roberts and I drove to Los Alamos and to a popular vacation spot where the rock formations which looked like Teepees attracted people from all over the world. We saw mountain streams where sheep might drink without fear and without danger. The shepherd was careful to lead his sheep to good, clear, clean water where they could drink without fear. He may have dammed up small streams to guarantee an abundance of safe water for his sheep.

In the New Testament, Jesus declares, " But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again-ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life", (John 4:14). Jesus, on another occasion, shocked the religious leaders in Jerusalem when He shouted out, "The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him", (John 7:38). The earthly father does all he can to provide for his children. Our Heavenly Father's provisions are always adequate. More than adequate.

III. Verse 3

A. He Restoreth My Soul 3a

My Shepherd provides for my salvation. No earthly father can do that, but he can lead his children to the Good Shepherd who can and will save all who trust in Him. My wife asked me for a few copies of the Gospel of John in the new Mandarin translation, a ministry of B&H Outreach International. Having served on the B & H Publishing Group during the time Ken Stephen (President) and Phill Burgess (VP) were working with Chinese translators, I was blessed to have been able to place copies with a lady from China who was even more excited about the opportunity to get a copy to her mother and  her aunt in Beijing. I gave Becky three copies so her students see what the Mandarin looked like.

They wanted to know what it said and she told them if they wanted to see the translation they could look at the HCSB on the opposite page. They soon found John 3:16 and began to look at it. The majority of the students were from non-traditional families but all those students except one could quote John 3:16, and that student learned it very quickly. The one verse they had memorized, possibly in Bible School, is the one verse you would want every child to know in order to receive God's salvation.

B. He Leadeth Me 3b

That is sanctification. I know, I know! That is not the way some would define sanctification, but if we leave off the means, and methods for just a moment, may I ask what you think of the outcome.

What about the results? Is there anything in this world, or the next, for which one should strive more than Christ-likeness? Please allow me to give you a verse that makes the case here: "For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29). Now, how is one conformed to the image of Jesus Christ? I am glad you asked! Paul has an answer for us: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil, 2:5). I am pulling those words our of context, but I believe the principle applies. When you begin thinking like Jesus you will begin acting like Jesus.

An earthly father can desire sanctification for his children, but he can no more produce sanctification than he can produce salvation. What he can do is lead his children to the One who can do both.

IV. Verse 4

A. I Walk Through The Valley

David knew his Shepherd would lead his sheep under all circumstances. You will observe that the shepherd king did not say that the Lord His Shepherd would lead him to the valley of the shadow of death. He did not say that his Shepherd would lead him into the valley of the shadow of death. Nor, did he say he would walk with him in the valley of the shadow of death. What he said was, "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."

I have two sons and when they were growing up things happened to one and one happened to things! I once heard my wife say she wouldn't take a million dollars for either one of her sons - but she wouldn't give two cents for another one just like them. A father can identify with that!

John was in the fifth grade when I received the call from his school. He had fallen from a piece of playground equipment and they thought he had broken his arm. I rushed to school, picked him up and headed to the hospital. Now consider these possible explanations of what happened:

I took John to the hospital (then put him out with instructions to see if he could find the ER). I took him into the hospital (and let him see if he could find the ER).

I walked with him in the hospital (until I saw a friend and told him to find the ER on his own).

I saw my son through the hospital, including walking him into the hospital, down the hall to the ER, made sure he would get the medical help he needed (including a cast!), and then took him home where his mother and I could watch him (and spoil him just a little).

Like David, I know the Lord, my Shepherd, will walk with me through the valley of the shadow of death. He has already done that. He saw me through an extended period in ICU, through by-pass surgery, and through recovery and rehab. And you know something? I never once thought of a light at the end of a tunnel. You see, I was walking with the Light of the World!

B. Thou Art With Me

This relationship reassures me. When I attend my first funeral service I sat by my father, a fact for which I have often been thankful. I had been told that Uncle Willie was a Christians. Uncle Willie was in heaven. Uncle Willie was with the Lord. Then why, I wondered, are all these people crying. I didn't feel like crying. I wondered why I didn't feel like crying if so many others were. Then I looked up at my father. I looked right into his eyes. He was serious but in control. He had known Uncle Willie all his life - a lot longer than I. I was thankful that my father was with me that day. I was thankful many times after that when I could look to the most courageous man I have ever known for guidance, wisdom, integrity, and protection.

After growing up, I came to understand that my earthly father was limited, but my Heavenly Father is infinite, eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. I am thankful that He is always with time. By the way, during those 14 or 15 days and nights in ICU, I was encouraged by His presence. No hospital schedule, no doctor, and no nurse could keep Him out!

C. They Comfort Me

The rod denotes my Shepherd's protection. The rod was a heavy club, about like a baseball bat. With it the shepherd could fight off wild animals or thieves that would steal his sheep. My father protected his family, but he didn't stop there. The nearest law enforcement officer was in Tunica, 25 miles away, and in order to call the sheriff my father would have had to drive into Quitman County to find someone up so he could use the telephone. By the time he did that, it might be too late to do any good. On more than one occasion, I saw my father go to a home on our farm, or out into a field an take a gun away from a drunk who was threatening to kill his family. I was convinced that if he could protect those families he could protect his own family. Sadly, I watched my father grow older, have heart attacks and strokes, and in time his family had to care for him. My Heavenly Father will never grow old and He will never grow weak.

The staff denotes guidance and security. We have all seen pictures of the shepherd's staff. With the crook, he could reach down a lift a lamb that had fallen into a ditch or a shallow gorge. With the straight end he could gently guide his sheep, or he could discipline the sheep by touching it with more pressure - or slapping it on the side. David had both used the shepherd's staff, and been the recipient of his Shepherd's guidance and discipline. These are two things that are sadly missing in many homes today - a father's guidance and discipline.

V. Verse 5

A. A Table Prepared

Let me give you a hypothetical situation from David's day. Jonathan had become involved in a fight with Simeon and in the fight Simeon was accidentally killed. Jonathan flees and all the men in Simeon's family and many friends pursue him with one thing in mind - vengeance. Jonathan sees a shepherd's tent and heads for it. There, shepherd Benjamin welcomes Jonathan, who explains what he has done and that he is fleeing to a city of refuge where he will take hold of the horns of the altar and demand a fair trial.

Simeon's avengers cannot invade the tent of another shepherd for a period of time. So, they will wait until Jonathan's time is up and trap him and kill him. They cannot, according to the "law of the plains" enter Benjamin's tent and take him - for some period of time. They watch from a distance as Benjamin prepares a meal and sets it before Jonathan "in the presence of his enemies." Jonathan has found a place of refuge in the tent of Benjamin - just as David's Shepherd had protected him when he was being pursued by Saul.

That is good, but it gets better.

B. Thou Anointest My Head With Oil

Not only does Benjamin provide a sanctuary for Jonathan in the face of Simeon's avengers, he anoints him with oil. In other words, he makes him feel at home. He offers more than a refuge, he offers his friendship. He did not just do his duty, he went far beyond the call of duty.

Do you remember the story I told about taking John to the hospital after he fell and broke his arm at school? Well, there is another chapter to that story. The next morning I went to John's school and spoke with his teacher. I thanked her for calling me and taking care of John until I got there. Her rather curt reply was, "It was my duty!" My wife and her friends who taught in a local public school were appalled at the attitude of John's teacher in the Christian school.

Benjamin may well have said to Jonathan, "there is some mutton, eat it and be prepared to leave as soon as possible." He did more than his duty. David had experienced the goodness and mercy of  his Shepherd on many occasions, especially when he was being pursued by Saul.

This speaks of a relationship, protection, and provisions. We live in a hostile world today. The earthly father should seek to provide all three things our Heavenly Father provides for us.

I told you it was getting better, right? Well, it gets even better.

C. My Cup Runneth Over

This speaks of an abundance in all the things David's Shepherd had made available to him. It also speaks of an overflowing of those three things which a father makes available to his children: relationship, protection, and provisions. In the New Testament, we read that the Good Shepherd declares, "I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance" (John 10:10).

VI. Verse 6

A. Goodness And Mercy

I do not take the initiative in finding God. One may well try to "find religion", but no one finds Jesus Christ through his own efforts or pursuits. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, taught, "As for Me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all [people] to Myself" (John 12:32). Those who have come to know him are urged to "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8).

This speaks again of a relationship, protection, and provisions. All of these things our Heavenly Father can and will provide for His children, and the godly earthly father would like to provide for his children.

B. I Will Dwell In The House Of The Lord

Do you remember our story about Jonathan, who is fleeing from the family and friends of Simeon, whom he accidentally killed? Jonathan comes to the tent of Benjamin where he is invited in and treated like a family member - for a brief period of time, but not forever. David has absolute confidence that he will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Old Testament saints did not have as clear a picture of end time events or heaven as the Holy Spirit reveals in the New Testament, but this verse shows that David believed that he would live with his Lord forever. Job had declared, "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (Job 19:25, KJV). Now, David knows he will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Our Heavenly Father provides a home in His house for all believers - forever. Jesus, the Good Shepherd stated it clearly in his Farewell Discourse.

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:1-6, KJV).


David was a man of thought, meditation, and inspiration. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he recognized the Lord as his Shepherd, Who provided in abundance all the essentials of life: a relationship, protection, and provisions. Is it any wonder that God is so often portrayed as "our Father" to all believers?

In the New Testament, Jesus declared, "I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep" (John 10:11-15).

Jesus died on the cross for our sins. If we believe in Him, He will give us everlasting life. He said, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28, KJV).

I would appeal to our earthly fathers today to trust Jesus for His great salvation. Then, in Christ, build a better relationship with your children than you ever imagined. Protect your children with everything you have, even unto death if necessary. Provide for your children as the Lord blesses you.

Above all, lead your children to the Heavenly Father who can do what you can never do. Your relationship with your children is limited by time, His is timeless. Your protection for your children is limited, His is limitless. Your provisions may be adequate for this life, He offers abundance in everything.

I thank God that in Jesus, I can join David in calling my Lord my Shepherd. Furthermore, in Jesus Christ, I can call Him "Father". He invites you to come to Him today, as Savior, Lord, Father.