#887 - "Shepherd of My Soul" by Kutless
Jon Micah Sumrall rewrites a Psalm in this new song by Kutless.

Posted: January 18, 2018 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Alpha / Omega is the latest worship release by Kutless. It follows up their popular worship releases Strong Tower and It Is Well, continuing the pattern of including a blend of well-known and original worship songs. 

Alpha / Omega features the popular songs "King of My Heart," "Your Great Name," "Cornerstone" and "Great Are You Lord." With the new album, fans are able to sing along with those classics as well as add some new favorites into their time of worship, including a new version of "Strong Tower." This album features the original worship songs "You Are Love," "Gave it All," "No Wonder" and "Shepherd of My Soul." I had the chance to speak with Kutless lead singer Jon Micah Sumrall about "Shepherd of My Soul."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

Throughout the Scriptures there are a handful of places where God and Jesus are referred to as a Shepherd. That imagery is used in describing Jesus as our Good Shepherd. The songwriting story is that I've been friends with Matt Hammitt, who used to be the lead singer of Sanctus Real, for many years. We've always been too busy touring to write songs together. We were finally able to get together to write some songs after all these years. We spent a few days writing, and this is one of the songs that came out of that time. 

If God is the Shepherd of our souls, He is guiding us and leading us and directing and preserving us, what does that mean and what does that look like? The first Scripture that came to mind for me is Psalm 23. We read through that Psalm and talked about how God is actively our Shepherd, and He is guiding and leading us. We all know that Psalm well, and if you listen to our song, we are re-phrasing some of the verses from that Psalm. Then we reflect on that in the chorus. 

It's not about me and what I can do for God, but about Him and His character. That's where we landed, and that's what the song is about: a modern reflection and personal application as we think about God as our Shepherd.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Psalm 23 (NKJV): "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

Psalm 23:4 (VOICE): "Even in the unending shadows of death's darkness, I am not overcome by fear. Because You are with me in those dark moments, near with Your protection and guidance, I am comforted."

Psalm 121:1-2 (NKJV): "I will lift up my eyes to the hills--From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth."

Isaiah 51:6 (NKJV): "Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, The earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not be abolished."

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV): "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV): "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

What is the takeaway message?

The traditional theological perspective of mankind is that we have the physical body, the mind and the soul, which is the Spirit. Coming from that school of thought, the eternal spiritual component is a very important part of our lives, and we forget about it sometimes. We are aware of what we feel physically and emotionally, and that eternal perspective also has a huge bearing on how we live our lives. It affects how we feel and how we act in the physical world in a huge way. 

A lot of the brokenness we see in our culture can be traced back to, at its core, broken souls. We have people who don't have a foundation and a future in Christ and are not settled in knowing that they are in God's hands. Once you become a Christian and have an eternal perspective, it affects everything. The deep soul side of you can have a comfort and hope and know that there is still a future. 

It's important that the soul is mentored and grows in Christ. We have the surface relationship with God sometimes when we pray for our physical needs. That's the here and now instant gratification side. That's our culture. The soul aspect is a focus on eternity, and I think as you grow in your faith you realize that instant gratification isn't what really matters. That ultimately pales in comparison to the spiritual relationship with have with God. 

I can relate it to a marriage. Rather than a selfish way to looking at what you are getting out of it, which isn't healthy, we need God as our loving Shepherd to guide and protect and gently lead us. Sometimes we have physical difficulties, and they help us grow deeper in our spiritual relationship with Him. 

We wanted this album to focus on who God is and wanted these songs to be an exaltation of Him. There's a time for contemplation, and healing comes from focusing on the infinite glory of God. "Alpha Omega" is another name for God and captures the timelessness of God.

Nothing shall I want, nothing shall I fear
Lord, I know that You are near
You can make me still, You restore my soul
Lord, I know that You are near

Shepherd of my soul
You will never let me go
Because of You
Because of who You are
In the valley low
There's no fear that I'm alone
Because of You
Because of who You are

Lead us in the path of Your righteousness
For the sake of Your great name
You prepare a place where I'm forever safe
Your mercy finds me all my days

Shepherd of my soul
You will never let me go
Because of You
Because of who You are
In the valley low
There's no fear that I'm alone
Because of You
Because of who You are

Your love, it leads us home
Yes, Your love, leads us home
Jesus, Your love, it leads us home
Oh, Jesus, Your love, leads us home
Your love, it leads us home
Jesus, Your love, it leads us home

You're the Shepherd of my soul
Only One I will follow
Because of You
Because of who You are
In the valley low
There's no fear that I'm alone
Because of You
Because of who You are  

"Shepherd of My Soul" is a great new song for the Church. Kutless has consistently impressed me with their mature faith and sincere desire to serve Jesus. This is a wonderful song that really brings me into a state of personal worship. I imagine this song is sung in the way King David sang his profound words of comfort in Psalm 23 to the Lord. David was a shepherd, and he knew that the Lord was his only guide and hope, the Good Shepherd of his soul. This song is all about submitting to God all of your worries, anxieties and stress and letting God be your guide. God wants to walk beside you, and He wants us to be bold and unafraid.

I have found that by being washed by the water of the Word, I am strengthened with the Truth that fear, worry and being anxious is not God's plan for our lives. As followers of Jesus, we know that we can trust God's Word. I realize that Jesus commands us to trust God's Word completely, no matter our circumstances. We are all a work in progress. Have faith and let God "work all things together for good."

This song is about submitting to the Lordship of Jesus over our lives and acknowledging that "For the sake of Your great name, You prepare a place where I'm forever safe, Your mercy finds me all my days." The Lord tells us all throughout Scripture to not be afraid and this song celebrates that Truth. What a wonderful, loving and gracious God that we serve. I am so thankful to Jesus for saving me and showing us how to live. Remember and celebrate that "You're the Shepherd of my soul, only One I will follow, because of You, because of who You are, in the valley low there's no fear that I'm alone because of You, because of who You are." Amen to that!

Listen to the song below.


NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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