The warm and beloved 23rd Psalm, the Shepherd's Psalm, is preceded by the solemn and mournful 22nd, or what we might call, the Lamb's Psalm.
"My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me?... I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh me to scorn... The assembly of the wicked have enclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet... They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture" (Psalm 22:1; 6; 16; 18).
"The Lord is my Shepherd" (Psalm 23:1).
The Lord Jesus Christ is our great and good Shepherd, and He is the Lamb of God, slain for us(Hebrews 13:20; John 10:11; Revelation 13:8). The latter office necessarily preceded the former as our Savior had to make atonement for our sins as the Lamb before He could fully take residence within us as our great and good Shepherd. He suffered untold sorrow and agonies for His trusting sheep so that He might joyfully take His rightful place as the master who lovingly provides, protects, guides, chastens and leads us into green pastures and beside still waters.
We can trust such a Shepherd, we can with our whole heart abandon ourselves to His perfect care and direction. For a long eternity we shall look upon the Hands that wield the rod and the staff, Hands that still bear the wounds suffered whereby the Lord Jesus made us His own. The Feet whose tracks we will forever follow bear the same marks of love and devotion, paving every eternal path as a sacred trail of grace. His heart was pierced also, pointing to that agony of spirit resulting from Christ having been wounded "in the house of My friends," but even more, of being smitten and forsaken by the Father whom He so loved (Zechariah 13:6; Isaiah 53:4). Oh yes, we can trust such a Shepherd as this, the great and good Shepherd who is also a Lamb, "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
"Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God."