C – GEMS FROM PSALMS – 3
Ps.23:1 This psalm is one of the best known and loved of the psalms. It gives hope and comfort to many and well it should. The Lord is my shepherd. Who could be a better and more trusted shepherd than my Lord? The Lord is all-powerful (omnipotent) and all-knowing (omniscience). God knows our needs even before we ask. Phil.4:19 He is able to protect and provide in times of trouble and temptation. Ps.84:11,12 We can trust God to lead us in the right way.
The Lord IS my shepherd. The Lord is not only presently my shepherd but will continue to be my shepherd in time to come. As long as I willingly follow Him, He will lead me. He is everywhere at all times (omnipresent). There is no waiting for God to hear me for He knows when I am in trouble. God is there. Ps.139:1,2; Prov.15:3 God fills the earth. Jer.23:24 No better shepherd could ever be found.
The Lord is MY shepherd. This is personal. He cares for me as an individual. Eph.2:4 When we read “us” we don’t stop to take into consideration that I am included in “us”. The same is true in Rev.1:5. The Lord shed His blood for me and loves me and will be my shepherd to lead and protect me.
The Lord is my shepherd. David, probably the author of this psalm, was a shepherd. He knew the responsibility that belonged to a shepherd. Each shepherd had his own call for his sheep. The sheep of two shepherds could be intermingled but when one shepherd called his sheep, his own sheep separated from the others and followed their shepherd. Jhn.10:3-5 How well do we know the voice of our shepherd? It comes through His Word.
We have only one shepherd. Jhn.10:11 The real shepherd will protect his sheep while one who is just a servant will face a beast who would kill the sheep and then run away. Jhn.10:12,13 We want to be sure we are following the right shepherd. Our shepherd is Jesus and His Word. Matt.7:15; Acts 20:29
Sheep are helpless creatures. The shepherd is their protector. Isa.53:6; Rom.3:10 We have all strayed to our own way; but we have a shepherd that is fully aware of our weakness and He wants us to return to Him. Ps.119:176 Jesus spoke of the lost lamb—just one out of a hundred—and yet He found that one that was lost. We are important to our shepherd—every one of us. Lk.15:4-6 Heaven contains thousands of angels and yet when just one comes to Jesus, they all rejoice. Lk.15:7 The tenderness of our shepherd is shown in Isa.40:11. The shepherds of the people of
Israel had not
kept their responsibility. Ezek.34:4-6 We know our shepherd, Jesus Christ, will
be trustworthy and care for us in every way.
I shall not want. We have the assurance that our needs will be met. Ps.34:9,10 God will keep His part of the promise but we have our part—seek Him first. Matt.6:33 We can put our troubles in the lap of our shepherd and not suffer worry and anxiety. Phil.4:6,7 Our shepherd will love us, protect us, provide for us, and guide us. 2 Cor.9:8
Ps.23:2 The good shepherd provides rest and comfort. Sometimes in our frustrations of life, we have the feeling of Ps.55:6. Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. With Jesus as our shepherd, we can put our trust in Him and find that rest. Matt.11:28 The unfailing love of our shepherd is our comfort. Ps.86:5 We are abundantly comforted so that we in turn may comfort others. 2 Cor.1:3-5
Jesus, our good shepherd, leads us to the place we should go. However, we must follow. Matt.10:38,39 Without our shepherd leading us, we would not know the way. We may think we know and have confidence in our way, but it is a probability that we would be lost. It is humbling to follow but following Jesus is not an alternative. 1 Pet.2:21
Ps.23:3 Do you ever feel that your soul is dry and unresponsive? David has an answer in Ps.19:7. Too often when this feeling comes over us, we are failing to be fed by the Word of God and our fellowship with our shepherd. When our spiritual strength is restored, then we have the vigor to follow our shepherd in the paths that are right. Without our guide, we flounder as a blind man. Isa.42:16 Occasions of suffering or trouble have occurred that God allowed so that His glory would be seen. God allowed many problems to come to Job to show His glory. Paul was not cured of his problem but the Lord told him, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Jesus did not go to Lazarus immediately when he was dying for the glory of the Lord was to be evident to the people as Jesus brought him back to life. Jhn.11:14,15 The path of righteousness may include problems. Jam.1:2,3 We are strengthened by them and it is all to the glory of God.
Ps.23:4 At some point in life we will all face death and sorrow. We will witness pain and sorrow with those we love and eventually we, ourselves, will face death unless Jesus returns first. Our Lord has given us assurance and hope if we follow our shepherd. Jhn.10:27,28: Isa.41:10 “Rod” was used in many ways in the Bible but for a shepherd it was a fairly short and thick piece of a limb to lean on or use as a weapon against enemies of the sheep. A “staff” was longer with a crook at one end which would enable a shepherd to put around a lamb to rescue it. At times the two words were used interchangeably. In either instance the rod and staff were symbols of protection.
Ps.23:5 The picture changes from the shepherd and his sheep to a host of a banqueting table. The Lord provides in a way that is greater than sufficient. Ps.31:19 The Lord wants us to have an abundant life. Jhn.10:10 Oil poured on the head was a favor done to a special guest. Lk.7:46 The cup running over was a sign of abundance.
Ps.23:6 God is so good! Ps.36:7-10; 2 Tim.4:18 The desire of a true follower of Christ is to dwell in His house (His presence) forever. Ps.27:4