The Lord is my Shepherd

Psalm 23 Part 1

God is with His sheep

1) The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.2) He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.3) He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.4) Even 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.5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”(Psalm 23:1-6 ESV)

Introduction

This text is meant for God’s people. Through the centuries Psalm 23 has been a comfort to many of God’s children, and it will continue to be like that for many more. We must remember that David who wrote this Psalm was a shepherd and knew what it meant to shepherd his sheep. He knew how to use his rod to guide the sheep and discipline the sheep, and he knew how to use his staff to protect the sheep against lions and bears and other dangers. He was also anointed as king over Israel and he knew how to sit amongst his enemies at the same table. King Saul wanted to kill him many times in his life, and he lived among the Philistines as well when King Saul hunted him and when he had to escape from Saul’s hand. King David lived an extraordinarily difficult life, yet adventurous life. But he also knew that God was always with him, while he was still a nobody and tending sheep. That is why this Psalm is so amazing. It tells us of God who is always with His people no matter what they go through. David knew God personally and redemptively. The Bible tells us that he was a man “after God’s own heart.” That meant that God loved David and David loved God, in that order.

In the Old Testament, many times God identified Himself as the Shepherd of Israel (Psalm 80, 100, Ezekiel 34). God identified Himself with His people, and in the New Testament, we find that Jesus Christ identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. We also see that Jesus makes a distinction between the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31-46. The sheep are His people, His children and the goats are the unbelievers or wicked people, the cursed sons of the devil.

The pivotal thing all of us must determine in our own lives is this: are we part of God’s flock? Are we His sheep? By that I mean, are we born again? Have we been changed from being recalcitrant and disobedient and rebellious people to become obedient, submissive and believing people in Jesus Christ? If you are not a sheep, if you are not born again, born of the Holy Spirit then God is not your Shepherd and Jesus Christ is not your Good Shepherd. Jesus came to lay His life down for His sheep. He calls them out by name, and they follow Him. They know his voice, and they follow Him (John 10:1-7). So if you are born again, if you have been given a new heart this Psalm is meant for you: to comfort and strengthen you in your journey through life, but if you have not been born again, this Psalm is not for you. You will not understand it if Jesus is not your personal Savior and Lord. My prayer for you is this: That you may know God to be your Shepherd, your Good Shepherd that will never leave nor forsake you.

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