Our Primary View of Him

Listen, Shepherd of Israel, who leads Joseph like a flock.—Psalm 80:1

Why did David choose to think of God as his Shepherd? The picture of God we carry deep in our hearts is the one we relate to whenever we find ourselves surrounded by trouble or difficulties. But perhaps what is more important is this—we will interpret every event of our lives in accordance with the inner picture that we have of Him.

When I have asked people during counseling to describe to me their primary view of God, I have been surprised that so often they see Him not as a loving Shepherd but as an austere and stern Judge. God is a Judge, of course—as David discovered when he committed adultery with Bathsheba—but that is not His primary relationship to His children. Someone has pointed out that the two most beautiful illustrations of God’s relationship to His people given in Scripture are those of a Father and a Shepherd. It is interesting also that the two best-known passages in the whole of God’s Word—the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23—use these analogies.

What kind of picture of God, I wonder, do you carry deep down in your heart? If your primary view of God is as a Judge, then you will tend to interpret your problems as God’s judgment upon you, rather than an opportunity to experience in your troubles His tender love and care. Make no mistake about it—the image of God that you carry deep in your heart is the one that you will relate to in a moment of crisis.


O Father, help me develop a true image of You in my heart: a picture that is exposed, not from my own feelings and ideas about You, but from the principles that lie hidden in Your precious Word. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

Further Study

Col 1:1-15; 2:9; Jn 1:1-2

How has God revealed Himself to us?

What is your picture of God?

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