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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Sunday, January 11 2015

Contributor: Alex Alajiki

This Psalm was written by David about 3,000 years ago and it is still one of the most popular chapters in the Bible. Amazon, in Nov. 2014, released the most highlighted passages in their most popular books downloaded onto Kindle, their electronic book reader. It included the most highlighted passage in the Bible which turned out to be Psalm 23.
This Psalm is part two of what we could call a Messianic trilogy. Psalm’s 22, 23 and 24 give different glimpses of this wonderful Shepherd.
a) The Past in Ps.22; He is the good Shepherd that laid down His life for His sheeps. Jhn.10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
b) The Present in Ps.23; He presentely cares and provides for the His people. Hebrews 13:20-21  “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him…”
c) The Future in Ps.24; He is the Chief Shepherd that will care for His people eternally. 1 Peter 5:4 “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away”. Rev.7:17 “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water."

Ps. 23 can be divided into three parts;
1) The great Shepherd; our provider (vs.1-3)
2) The great Shepherd; our protector (vs.4-5)
3) The great Shepherd; Our preserver (vs.6)
1) The Great Shepherd; Our Provider:- Ps.23:1-3 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
The Lord – The source of David’s comfort, confidence and strength is The Lord. This name is “Yahweh’, the sovereign, almighty, delivering God. Jesus took this name for Himself when He said ‘Before Abraham was born, I AM!’(Jhn.8:58). We can’t call Him Lord until we come under His authority by giving up our own self-directed foolish ways. The Lord Jesus strongly rebuked those who held such a notion, saying, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matt. 7:21).

Is – David was referring to a present relationship. Not was, like He helped us in the past. Not will be, like we look forward to something He will do… but IS – present tense. David had extreme confidence in who God IS right now! Do you?

My – This is personal. The terms ‘I, my, me, he, his, you’ etc are used about 30 times in just 6 verses. His care is not just for the entire flock, but He is interested in personal relationship with individual Sheep. The Psalm is only valid for those who truly have Jesus as their own Shepherd. It’s not for goats. Ps.91:2 “I will say of the Lord, He is my….”

Shepherd – This imagery of the shepherd and sheep spans the entire Bible but is most prominent in the New Testament where Jesus speaks about His relationship with His people, His sheep. How would you describe sheep? What are their characteristics? They are dumb, dirty, defenceless and dependant. They are the most stupid animal on the face of the earth. If there was such a thing as animal school, they would be dropouts. If there is a ditch, they will fall in and need to be rescued. If there is a wire fence, they’ll get caught in it. And then the same thing will happen tomorrow. They can’t run all that fast, don’t have the greatest eye sight apparently and, being basically defenceless, are timid and fearful. And let’s not forget they are prone to wander. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”( Isa.53:6).
That’s the animal God choose which best represents you and I! They are in need of a good shepherd who will provide, protect, and guide his sheep. We need to remind ourselves of this all the time. God is the one who looks after our lives. That is why we need the saviour and the comforter in our lives. John 10:1, 11-115.

I shall not want – David was not saying ‘the LORD is my Shepherd, I get everything I want’! Nor was he saying that all our selfish "wants" and cravings will be satisfied if the Lord is our Shepherd. He was talking about genuine needs, not greed’!  Obviously it means that with the Lord protecting and providing for us then we shall not lack that which He knows we need. This verse doesn’t mean that there will not be times of drought, valleys, difficulties and need--- far from it... God loves you too much to just make things always easy! That seldom accomplishes His purposes and the rest of the Psalm show that these things do occur. But the confidence David had is that the great shepherd will always know what we need and when to provide it. Everything will be ok. He is in control. Ps.34:10 “The young lion.”
Luk. 12:22-32 “ And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,[b] yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his[c] kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters – Let us take note of the phrases He makes me and He leads me. Jesus our Shepherd is in the business of leading and bringing us to a place of rest. We often try to work things out in our little minds and end up working ourselves into a place of nervous exhaustion! We have to learn to sit back and thank Him once again. He makes me... He leads me.
It is the responsibility of the great Shepherd to lead us to green pastures and still waters, but it is our responsibility to follow, eat and drink. Whenever He makes us to lie down, we must learn to lie down even if we feel like moving. We can never suffer burn out, break down and depression if we constantly follow Him.

The strange thing about sheep is that because of their very make-up it is almost impossible for them to be made to lie down unless four requirements are met. [1] Owing to their timidity they refuse to lie down unless they are free from all fear. [2] Because of the social behaviour within a flock, sheep will not lie down unless they are free from friction with others of their kind. [3] If tormented by flies or parasites, sheep will not lie down. Only when free of these pests can they relax. [4] Lastly, sheep will not lie down as long as they feel in need of finding food. They must be free from hunger." How does these relate to us?

He restores my soul – He renews and refreshes my spirit. Literally, He brings it back. Our restoration comes when we follow Him to green pastures, still waters and take our rest by casting all our cares upon Him. Ps. 55:22 “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he shall sustain you: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake - The paths that the Shepherd takes us on are the righteous or ‘right’ paths. They will lead us to places of rest and provision. Obviously,
this doesn’t mean that the track that the shepherd takes is always an easy one. Sometimes it goes through the dark valley as the next verse indicates. But it is still the path that leads to righteousness. As you survey your life, what path has God led and guided you through? Was it where you thought you would go? Rom.8:29. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

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