The Lord is “My Sovereign, Shepherd, and Salvation” Metaphor
Three psalms that begin with the words, “The Lord is my . . .” will be discussed in this essay. David is the author of all three in which he uses metaphors to describe God as his deliverer and savior, the trust he has in God, and the faith he has in Him. The three psalms to be discussed are Psalms 18:2; 23rd; 27th and I will comment on the things of which God is compared.
Psalm 18:2 NKJV: This psalm entitled “God the Sovereign Savior” was written by David in celebration and gratitude of God’s grace for his deliverance and victory (NIV). David used military terms in his praises of God. David saw God as a rock that could not be moved by those who wished him harm and God as a mountain fortress that protected the believers, and was a place of safety. His use of strength and stronghold served to buttress his image of the Lord. God was seen as a shield that was between David and his enemies. The horn of salvation represented might and power and further emphasized the image of God (NKJV). This picture of a mighty God as protector and Savior could easily be extended to us because He is all of that for us.
Twenty-third Psalm: “The Lord the Shepherd of His People,” was written by David to show his trust in God. He wrote from his own experience as a shepherd in his youth. Concerning the metaphor of followers (as sheep of Jesus’ flock), sheep will not lie down as long as they are disturbed about something and they are afraid of fast-running streams (NKJV). Only the shepherd (God/Jesus) can settle them down in a quiet and loving voice. Only He can lead them to the green pastures and still waters. Extending the metaphor to Christians, only He can restore our souls. God will be with us as we travel the Valley of the Shadow of Death (fear) in our time of troubles. His table and cup represent God’s provision for us. Goodness and mercy represent God/s love for us. The House of God is the land of promise (Heaven). It was the custom in David’s time to anoint guests with olive oil at meals which was part of the ritual of keeping guests safe from enemies. God can be seen as bringing us into His house forever. David sees God as a caring shepherd and dependable guide (rod and staff) (NIV). This view of God’s loving care could be extended to cover us all.
Psalm 27 NKJV: “An Exuberant Declaration of Faith” is the name given to this psalm by David. Everyone has lived in fear and darkness at some time, but God brings the light and salvation. David wanted to be in the House of the Lord and His temple (the presence of the Lord). He sought the Lord’s guidance every day of his life and asked the Lord not to forsake him (NIV). He knew God had a pleasant nature and offered Him sacrifices of praise (joy). The Lord will keep him safe (in pavilion and tabernacle) David described his enemies as ravenous beasts who wanted to eat his flesh. He feared enemies might dissuade the righteous from seeking God, but he waited to know the presence of God in the land of the living (in his lifetime) and he waited on the Lord to hope in God, and wait for God’s timing and action.
God is compared to mighty things such as rocks and fortresses to emphasize His strength and glory. David speaks of His greatness as he praises Him in faith, trust, and thanksgiving. The metaphors could be extended to include all Christ’s followers in all era including today. The matters brought out by David exist yet today.