Psalm 23

Proposition: The Lord is not only my provider, He is my provision itself.

Subject: Do I know my Shepherd?

Text: Psalm 23: 1-4-5

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters,

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 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.

 Here at the very center of the Bible are psalms, or songs, rising up like a tune from its heart. They capture the innermost thoughts and prayers of Old Testament people and they still speak to our needs today. Psalm 23 is by far the most widely known psalm in the bible. It is taught by churches and Sunday schools across the country. It is quoted, reprinted, and spread throughout the Christian Community.

“The Book of Psalms is a compilation of several ancient collections of Hebrew songs and poems for use in congregational worship, as well as in private devotion. In some collections the ancient compilers gathered together mostly David’s superb songs. In others they drew from a variety of authors such as Moses, Asaph, Heman, the sons of Korah, Solomon, and Ethan. Many are from unnamed sources. Jewish scholars called these “orphan psalms.”

 “The image of “shepherd” arouses emotions of care, provision, and protection. A good shepherd is personally concerned with the welfare of his sheep. Because of this the designation “my shepherd” is further described by various aspects of God’s care: “he makes me lie down . . . he leads . . . he restores . . . he guides”; and by the resulting tranquility, “I will fear no evil.”

In today’s society, many believers want to be blessed, but they do not want to approach the source of these blessings. Unfortunately, not all they understand that in order to receive the blessing of knowing their creator, and shepherd, they must have to spend time with God in prayer, worshiping and praising him.

Undeniably, it is impossible for human beings, with limited minds, to get to know God in his complete magnificence. However, we at least get to know him enough to have the assurance of his care, and provision.

The psalmist remembers who his pastor is and what it means to be under a shepherd’s care. David was a pastor before being king, the word of God tells how David in his time as a shepherd, killed bears and lions when they tried to hurt his flock, therefore he knows how a shepherd defends his sheep.

However, how can a person trust someone that they do not know? How to cling to promises made by someone who is completely unknown? How to believe in the compassion and infallible love of a God with whom that person does not have a close relationship?

The Thesis: God is the true and good shepherd. The lord belongs to everyone who will have him. God is the highest, nothing is impossible for him, he cares, he is a companion, and he is God. But, sheep must know him, sheep must choose him.  

The Relevant Question:  If I know who my shepherd is, why fear?

Psalm 23 is probably the best-known passage of the OT. It is a testimony by David to the Lord’s faithfulness throughout his life. As a hymn of confidence, it pictures the Lord as a disciple’s Shepherd-King-Host. David, by using some common ancient Near Eastern images in Ps. 23, progressively unveils his personal relationship with the Lord in 3 stages.

  1. David’s Exclamation: “The Lord Is My Shepherd”
  2. David’s Expectations
    1. “I Shall Not Want”
    2. “I Will Fear No Evil”
  3. David’s Exultation: “My Cup Runs Over”

 Trust in God must come from a personal relationship with him, disciples must choose to be with him and enjoy his presence, this is the only way to know him a little and understand only to a certain extent his way of acting.

Followers of Christ have to keep in mind that a relationship is a two-way street, just as God’s care is vital in a devout life; God also wants our love and affection. He does not need us to be God, however, his spirit longs for us. God not only has love, God is love!

God, more than a provider is the provision itself when the church understands God’s love for her, fear would have no place. 

We would know that he would be with us in those valleys of life where we simply do not know what to do. In cases like this, how beautiful it is to have the certainty that the God who created the heavens and the earth, and who calls the stars each one by name, is on our side, not against us. That he cares about what happens to us and calls us by name. That is something that is truly like oil on our heads. When we achieve that trust in God, it is when our cups begin to overflow.

         This psalm captures the essence of David’s trust in God. Sheep have blind, absolute trust in a leader. If a lead sheep plunges off a cliff, an entire flock will follow. That kind of unshakable trust David sought in his walk with God.

“Yet no one can dismiss David as having a rosy, romantic view of life. The preceding Psalm 22 shows just how tough, gritty and ruthlessly honest he could be. Somehow David managed to make God the center of his life, regardless of circumstances—whether he felt comforted by God or cruelly abandoned by him. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God,” wrote this soldier who spent much of his time running from chariots and horses (20:7)”.

Now, we know that every coin has two faces and until this moment we have only seen one face of this Psalm presented by the psalmist: God is as all love and care, which is completely true, but…… what about the road and the staff??

 This is what I learned. Shepherds use a rod to protect the gentle and harmless flock from predators or reprimand unruly sheep that pick on others, eat the wrong plants, or are oblivious to danger. The shepherd parts the sheep’s wool using the rod to look for wounds, disease, and the overall condition of the skin.

A second essential piece of shepherding equipment is a shepherd’s staff that is long and slender with a crook on the end. When tired, a shepherd leans on the staff or uses it to return a lamb to its mother. He’ll bring timid sheep closer to him or guide the flock into new pasture or through a gate. The staff frees sheep from bushes or lifts them out of water when they stray too far and get into trouble.

While it is true that the Lord will provide us, care and protect us, certainly, the rod and staff is used to protect, guide, lead, but also to get us out of jams.

We, as a born again people, must know that part of that care implies correction, that there will also be times when the Lord will have to use the rod and the staff to get us in the right track in cases in which we want to get out of the way, or when we want to do our will and not his.

Conclusion:

David was a poet but also a powerful warrior. David was not just an instrument of God, David also was passionate about the presence of God; he knew how to pour out his heart in humility and sincerity in God’s presence. It is like saying, “Lord, I have studied, I have skills, and I have knowledge. But even so, I depend on you, I need you, without you I cannot. Everything I have, I put it at your disposal because you gave it to me, Lord Jesus, I may have so many degrees and titles, but Lord I NEED YOU, Jesus you are my shepherd, better is one day in your court  than a thousand elsewhere;!.

COL2030_roxannaguzman_Final Proclamation Psalm 23_030519

God bless you 🙂

Happy journey!

Published by Roxanna Guzman

Hi there! Thank you for visiting my blog :)

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