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Illustration results for 23 psalms

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Michael McCartney
 
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JESUS IN EVERY BOOK OF THE BIBLE

The Bible is about Jesus. He is pictured or prophesied about in each of the 66 books as well as in countless types in the lives of different characters in the Bible. Here is a breakdown of how He is pictured in each of the books...

O.T Book Main Revelation Key Prophecies* / Types of Jesus
Genesis The Seed of the Woman Messiah would be born of the seed of a woman (Gen 3:15, Luke 1:34-35)
Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob (Gen 12:3, 17:19, 28:14, Luke 3:23-34)
Messiah would be a king in the line of Judah (Gen 49:10, John 1:49)
Typified in the person of Melchizedek (Gen 14:18)
The life of Isaac - the sacrificed son (Gen 22)
The life of Joseph - the rejected brother (Gen 37)

Exodus The Passover Lamb Typified in the life of Moses - the deliverer
The Passover Lamb (Ex 12, John 1:29,36)
The Manna from Heaven (Ex 16, John 6)
The Rock struck at Horeb (Ex 17, 1 Cor 10:4)
The Tabernacle (Brazen Altar, Lampstand, Table of Showbread, Ark of the covenant etc) (Gen 25-30)
Leviticus The High Priest Typified in the sacrifices and offerings (Lev 1-7)
In the Jewish festivals (Passover, Atonement, Lev 16, 23)
In the scapegoat (Lev 16:7-9)
In the person and duties of the High Priest (Lev 16)
Numbers The Cloud and The Fire Messiah would be a King (Num 24:17)
Typified in the bronze serpent (Num 21:8-9)
The Water from the Rock (Num 20)

Deuteronomy The Prophet Like Moses Messiah will be a prophet (Deut 18:15-19, John 6:14)
Messiah would be worshipped by angels (Deut 32:43, Luke 2:13-14)
Typified in the cities of refuge (Deut 4:41)
Joshua The Captain of Our Salvation Typified in the person of Joshua (our leader into the promised land)
In the Promised Land
In the Commander of the Army (Josh 5:13-15)
Judges The Judge And Lawgiver Typified in the Judges (for He is true Judge of the living and the dead)
Ruth The Kinsman Redeemer Messiah would be a descendant of Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 4:12-17)
Typified in the life of Boaz - The Kinsman Redeemer (Ruth 2:1)
1 & 2 Samuel The Prophet of The Lord Messiah exalted by God with power (1 Sam 2:10, Matt 28:18)
Messiah would be a descendant of David (2 Sam 7:12-16, Matt 1:1)
Messiah would be the 'Rock' (2 Sam 23:2-3, 1 Cor 10:4)
Typified in the life of David - The King in Exile (1 Sam 22)
The life of Jonathon - the faithful friend (1 Sam 18:1-4)

1 & 2 Kings The Reigning King Typified in the life of Solomon (the Millennial Reign)
In the life and miracles of the prophet Elisha (multiplying bread 2 Kings 4:42, healing leper 2 Kings 5)
1 & 2 Chronicles Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah (1 Chron 5:2, Luke 3:23-32)
Typified in Solomon's temple
In the Wisdom of Solomon (2 Chron 9:22)
Ezra The Faithful Scribe Typified in person of Zerubbabel, the rebuilder of the temple (Ezra 4)
Nehemiah The Rebuilder of the Walls Typified in the person of Nehemiah, the rebuilder of the walls of salvation
Esther Mordecai Typified in the person of Mordecai
Job The Dayspring From on High Typified in the sufferings of Job and the blessings that would follow
Psalms The Lord Who Is Our Shepherd Messiah would be the Son of God (Ps 2:7, 12, Matt 17:5)
Messiah would be resurrected (Ps 16:8-10, Acts 13:30-37)
Messiah would be despised & crucified (Ps 22:6-8, 14, Luke 23:21-23, Matt 27:35)
Messiah would be hated without cause (Ps 69:4, Luke 23:13-22)
Messiah would be Lord, seated at the right hand of God (Ps 110:1,5, 1 Pet 3:21-22)
Messiah would be in the line of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4, Heb 6:17-20)
Messiah would be the 'stone' rejected by the Jews (Ps 118:22, Matt 21:42-43)
Key Messianic Psalms: Chapters 2, 8, 16, 22, 45, 69, 89, 109, 110, 118
Proverbs & Ecclesiastes The Wisdom of God Messiah would be from everlasting (Prov 8:22-23, John 17:5)
Messiah would be the Son of God (Prov 30:4, Matt 3:16-17)
Typified in the Wisdom of God (Prov 8:22-31)
Song of Solomon The Lover & Bridegroom Typified in the Bridegroom's love for, and marriage to, the bride
Isaiah The Suffering Servant Messiah would be born of a virgin (Is 7:14, Luke 1:34-35)
Messiah would be Immanuel "God with us" (Is 7:14, Matt 1:21-23)
Messiah would be God and Man (Is 9:6, John 10:30)
Messiah would have the 7-fold Spirit upon Him (Is 11:1-2, Matt 3:16-17)
Messiah would heal the blind, lame, deaf (Is 35:5-6, Mark 10:51-52)
Messiah would be proceeded by a forerunner (Is 40:3, Luke 1:17)
Messiah would be a light to the gentiles (Is 42:6, John 8:12)
Messiah would be despised by the Jewish nation (Is 49:7, John 10:20, Matt 27:23)
Messiah would be whipped and beaten (Is 50:6, Matt 26:67, 27:26)
Messiah would die as a guilt offering for sin (Is 53:10, John 18:11)
Messiah would be resurrected and live forever (Is 53:10, Mark 16:16)
Jeremiah & Lamentations The Weeping Prophet Messiah would be God (Jer 23:6, John 13:13)
Messiah would be a righteous Branch (Jer 23:5)
Messiah would be our righteousness (Jer 23:6, 1 Cor 1:30)
Ezekiel The Son of Man Messiah would be a descendant of David (Ez 34:23-24, Matt 1:1)
Daniel The Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven Messiah would be 'a son of man' given an everlasting kingdom (Dan 7:13-14, Luke 1:31-34)
Messiah would come 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Dan 9:25, John 12:12-23)
Messiah would be killed (Dan 9:26, Matt 27:35)
Revealed as the 'stone' (and His kingdom) that smashes the kingdoms of the world (Dan 2:34,44)
Typified in the 4th man in the fiery furnace - one like 'the son of gods' (Dan 3:25)
Hosea The Bridegroom Typified in Hosea's faithfulness to his adulterous wife (Hos 3)
Joel The Baptizer With The Holy Spirit Messiah will offer salvation to all mankind (Joel 2:32, Rom 10:12-13)
Messiah would baptize people with the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32)
Amos The Burden Bearer God would darken the day at noon during Messiah's death (Amos 8:9, Matt 27:45-46)
Obadiah The Mighty Savior
Jonah The Forgiving God Typified in Jonah being 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of a fish (Jon 1:17, Matt 12:40)
Micah The Messenger With Beautiful Feet Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2, Matt 2:1-2)
Messiah would be from everlasting (Mic 5:2, Rev:1-8)
Nahum The Avenger of God's Elect
Habakkuk The Great Evangelist, Crying For Revival Messiah would come from Teman at His return, full of glory (Hab 3:3)
Typified in the life of Habakkuk (his intercession and prayer for his people)
Zephaniah The Restorer of the Remnant
Haggai The Cleansing Fountain Messiah would visit the 2nd temple (Hag 2:6-9, Luke 2:27-32)
Zechariah The Pierced Son Messiah would be Priest and King (Zech 6:12-13, Heb 8:1)
Messiah would be ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zech 9:9, Matt 21:6-9)
Messiah would be God (Zech 11:12-13, John 12:45)
Messiah would be pierced (Zech 12:10, John 19:34-37)
Malachi
The Son of Righteousness Messiah would appear at the temple (Mal 3:1, Mark 11:15-16)
Messiah's forerunner would come in the spirit of Elijah (Mat 4:5, Matt 3:1-2)
N.T Book Main Revelation Titles / Names Revealed of Jesus
Matthew The Messiah The Son of David (Matt 1:1)
The King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2)
The Son of God (Matthew 2:15).
The Bridegroom (Mattew 9:15)
Mark The Miracle Worker The Holy One of God (Mark 1:24)
The Servant (Mark 10:45)
The King of Israel (Mark 15:32)
Luke The Son of Man The Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
The Consolation of Israel: (Luke 2:25).
John The Son of God The Only Begotten Son: (John 1:14,18)
The Lamb of God (John 1:29,36)
The Bread of life (John 6:35)
The Light of the World (John 8:1)
The I AM! (John 8:58)
The Door of the Sheep: (John 10:7,9)
The Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
The Resurrection and life (John 11:25)
The Way, the Truth, the Life (John 14:6)
The True Vine (John 15:1)
Acts The Ascended Lord The Prince of Life (Acts 3:15)
The Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42)
The Just One (Acts 7:52).
The Hope of Israel (Acts 28:20)
Romans The Justifier The Rock of Offense (Romans 9:33)
The Deliverer (Romans 11:26)
The Lord of the dead and the living (Romans 14:9)
The Root of Jesse (Romans 15:12)
1 & 2 Corinthians The Last Adam The First-fruits (1 Corinthians 15:23)
The Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45)
Galatians The One Who Sets Us Free The Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 1:3)
Ephesians The Christ of Riches The Head over All Things (Ephesians 1:22)
The Cornerstone: (Ephesians 2:20)
Philippians The God Who Meets Our Every Need The Name above all names (Philippians 2:9)
Colossians The Fullness of The Godhead The Image of the Invisible God (Colossians 1:15)
The Head of the body (Colossians 1:18)
The Beginning (Colossians 1:18)
The Firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18)
The Hope of Glory (Col 1:27)
1 & 2 Thessalonians The Soon Coming King The Lord of Peace (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
1 & 2 Timothy The Mediator Between God And Man The King of Ages (1 Timothy 1:17)
The Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5)
Titus The Blessed Hope The Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13)
The Great God and Saviour (Titus 2:13)
Philemon The Friend, Closer Than a Brother The Lord Jesus Christ (Philemon 3)
Hebrews The Blood That Washes Away My Sins The Heir of All Things (Hebrews 1:2)
The Faithful High Priest (Hebrews 2:17)
The Author and Finisher of our Faith (Hebrews 12:2)
James The Great Physician The Lord of Glory (James 2:1)
The Judge at the door (James 5:9)
1 & 2 Peter The Chief Shepherd The Living Stone (1 Peter 2:4)
The Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4)
1 & 2 & 3 John Everlasting Love The Eternal Life (1 John 1:2)
The Righteous (1 John 2:1)
Jude The God our Saviour The Only Wise God our Saviour (Jude 25)
Revelation The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! The Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last: (Revelation 1:17, 22:13)
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev 5:5)
The Word of God (Revelation 19:13).
The King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16)
The Bright Morning Star (Revelation 22:16)

* Prophecy Source: http://www.messiahrevealed.org/book-index.html Please check this link for additional prophecies

 
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Mark Brunner
 
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“Passing Through The Shadows!” 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 Key verse(s): 26:“‘For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes’.”

“Smile and the world smiles with you! Cry and you cry alone.” Walking through life with a smile on our faces is something to hope for, isn’t it? Life it far too short to be all gloom and sadness. Like the old song says, if you smile you draw crowds. When you cry you draw isolation and loneliness.

From an early age on we are taught not be be gloomy. There’s something about being around a person who is sad that simply repels us. Most of us will resort to nothing less than our best efforts to either avoid the gloom or change it somehow. Recently I returned home from a long day at the office dragging pretty much everything that I had encountered that day behind me. As I slipped in through the garage door into the entry way, so slipped in the meeting that had not gone well, the invoice that turned out to be more than I had planned, and the angry telephone call I had taken. Plop, they landed on the floor right beside my briefcase. Somehow I knew they were still there because even when I tried to refocus my thoughts on home and family, all I could think of was the office. I guess it was pretty evident on my face as I walked into the kitchen, shuffling across the floor in my slippers, mostly looking past my children and wife. They could see it written all over my face. “Had a bad day, huh?” “Yeah, the worst!” And I plunged into a lengthy dissertation on the woes of the day; moving back and forth between diatribe and regret. They had had a great day but now, as they listened to my woes, somehow their days had not been as good as they had thought. In fact, it wasn’t long before they were able to match woe for woe with the “king of woes”. My sorrow had magically become their sorrow. My sorrow like a drop of black ink in water slowly spread its inky murk throughout their clear and sunny day. “Gloom and doom, meet happy and promising!” Like that bothersome gab that grabs your hand and makes it serve as a sort of freeway for their emotions, gloom and doom simply won’t let go until they have poured themselves into you completely.

Carry our sorrow and laying it on others is not a very good idea. Yet, how can one be happy all the time? Isn’t there ever a place for sorrow, at least to balance out the brilliance of the light from time to time? In northern Chile, between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, lies a narrow strip of land where the sun shines every day! Clouds gather so seldom over the valley that one can say, “It almost never rains here!” Morning after morning the sun rises brilliantly over the tall mountains to the east. Each noon it shines brightly overhead, and every evening it brings a picturesque sunset. Although storms are often seen rising high in the mountains, and heavy fog banks hand their gray curtains far over the sea, Old Sol continues to shed his warming rays upon this “favored” and protected strip of territory. One might imagine this area to be an earthly paradise, but is far from that! It is a sterile and desolate wilderness! There are no streams of water, and nothing grows there.

We often long for total sunshine and continuous joy in life, and we desire to avoid the heartache that bring tears to our eyes. Like that sunny, unfertile part of Chile, however, life without clouds and even an occasional downpour would not be productive or challenging. But though showers do come, they will also end, and the sun will shine again. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5). (Our Daily Bread.)

Total sunshine in life? Let’s face it. That is never going to happen. In fact, there will always be a proper place for sorrow in life. I’m not talking about the impertinent spreading of your own personal gloom on people. Nobody needs that. No, I’m talking about the godly sorrow that leads to repentance and forgiveness of sins. When Jesus passed the cup to his disciples and broke the bread between his fingers at that last communing supper together, His soul was filled with a kind of sorrow that was truly appropriate and necessary for the moment. His soul was, as Martin Luther put it, “empty, single, and hungry”. His soul was prepared for the task ahead and He was demonstrating to His disciples how that sorrow could and would turn into joy. But first it must pass through the shadows and dwell in the darkness of sin. Here the soul must weep and by that invisible cleansing be able to behold more clearly the land of sweet light and happiness that awaits it if only it can endure the sorrow for but a short time longer. Yes, there is a time for sorrow when we rightly park our joy and walk some distance away from the light toward the shadowland where we find the source of that nagging that is constantly beating upon the doors of our souls. Here we too shall find the emptiness that makes preparation for being filled.

 
Contributed By:
Frank Gallagher
 
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These shepherds were symbolic of Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd, who would also humbly follow God’s will. Their sheep represent us as believers, in several ways:

- Sheep cannot clean themselves. Some animals such as a cat can do that, but not sheep. Likewise, we as unbelievers were not able to clean ourselves from the filthiness of sin;

- Sheep cannot defend themselves from predators. Many animals have a defense system, such as skunks and blowfish, but sheep do not. We as believers are protected from the evil one, Satan, ultimately by the power of God, and as a local church congregation by our pastor-teacher;

- Sheep cannot find food and water for themselves. They depend upon the shepherd to lead them to water and green pastures, as stated in Psalm 23. We as believers depend upon the Lord for our spiritual food and water, as well as on our daily physical needs;

- Sheep are not intelligent. As believers, neither are we when it comes to the things of God. That’s why our salvation, eternal security, and rewards depend entirely upon the work of Our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We have the Holy Spirit who makes spiritual things understandable to us (2 Cor. 2)

 
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HELPLESS ON MY OWN

Philip Keller was a sheep rancher. In his book, "A Shepherd Looks at the Twenty-third Psalm," he says that sheep they require more attention than any other livestock. They just can’t take care of themselves.

Unless their shepherd makes them move on, sheep will actually ruin a pasture, eating every blade of grass, until finally a fertile pasture is nothing but barren soil. Sheep are near-sighted & very stubborn, but easily frightened. An entire flock can be stampeded by a jack rabbit.

They have little means of defense. They’re timid, feeble creatures. Their only recourse is to run if no shepherd is there to protect them. Sheep have no homing instincts. A dog, horse, cat, or a bird can find its way home,...

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IN THE PRESENCE OF MINE ENEMIES

Richard Wurmbrand tells the story of a church leader he met while imprisoned in Romania. He was sentenced to 22 years for his goodness.
The man, his wife, and six small children were eating breakfast when the police burst into his home. They had just read Psalm 23.
When the police arrested him, the minister said, “You are the fulfillment of what we have prayed today. We just read…that God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. We had a table but we had no enemies. Now you have come. If you would like anything that is on the table, I would like to share it with you. You are sent by God.”
The captain screamed. “How could you speak such stupid things? We will take you to prison where you will never come out. You will die there. You will never see your children again.”
We have also read about this today, that I pass through the valley of the shadow of death and will not fear it.”
“How in the world should you not fear this?” shouted the officer. “Everyone fears death!”
“…The shadow is not something to fear,” the minister said calmly. “A shadow of a dog can’t bite you, and a shadow of death can’t kill you. All these things are shadows. We will have another life, not only one of this world. We can be killed.
We can be put in prison. Nothing bad can happen to us. We’re in Christ, and He takes us to another world.”
The church leader was taken to prison and his wife and six children were deported, but he knew that he had a God who would take care of them.

Source: Victor Knowles, Peace on Earth Ministries, Joplin, MO. Adapted from Voice of the Martyrs, February 2000.


 
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These shepherds were symbolic of Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd, who would also humbly follow God’s will. Their sheep represent us as believers, in several ways:

- Sheep cannot clean themselves. Some animals such as a cat can do that, but not sheep. Likewise, we as unbelievers were not able to clean ourselves from the filthiness of sin;

- Sheep cannot defend themselves from predators. Many animals have a defense system, such as skunks and blowfish, but sheep do not. We as believers are protected from the evil one, Satan, ultimately by the power of God, and as a local church congregation by our pastor-teacher;

- Sheep cannot find food and water for themselves. They depend upon the shepherd to lead them to water and green pastures, as stated in Psalm 23. We as believers depend upon the Lord for our spiritual food and water, as well as on our daily physical needs;

- Sheep are not intelligent. As believers, neither are we when it comes to the things of God. That’s why our salvation, eternal security, and rewards depend entirely upon the work of Our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We have the Holy Spirit who makes spiritual things understandable to us (2 Cor. 2)

 
Contributed By:
Matthew Mobley
 
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Contentedness is blessedness, (Hebrews “be content with what you have”, Paul “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation”) but in this life it is hard to find contentment. It is difficult to be content when we are bombarded by images and slogans and advertisements that’s sole purpose is to try to get us to WANT something. (We can even cater to this in the church). We are naturally consumers and as a result are naturally never satisfied. No matter how much we get, or how much we gain, or how much we achieve, we are never satisfied – it is never enough. We always want more.
You know, some Christians can be described in this way – in spite of being perfectly blessed, and cared for, it is still not enough – they are not content. In his book, "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23", Philip Keller says, “In spite of having such a master and owner, the fact remains that some Christians are still not satisfied with His control. They are somewhat dissatisfied, always feeling that the grass beyond the fence must be a little greener.”
Keller shares a story about a particular ewe (female sheep) who fit this kind of description. He called her “Mrs. Gad-about.” He said:
She was one of the most attractive sheep that ever belonged to me. Her body was beautifully proportioned. She had a strong build and an excellent coat of wool. Her head was clean, alert, well-set with bright eyes. She bore sturdy lambs that matured rapidly.
But in spite of all these attractive attributes she had one pronounced fault. She was restless – discontented – a fence crawler.
This one ewe produced more problems for me than almost all the rest of the flock combined.
No matter what field or pasture the sheep were in, she would search all along the fences or shoreline (we lived by the sea) looking for a loophole she could crawl through and start to feed on the other side.
It was not that she lacked pasturage. My fields were my joy and delight. No sheep in the district had better grazing. With “Mrs. Gad-about” it was an ingrained habit. She was simply never contented with things as they were. Often when she had forced her way through some such spot in a fence or found a way around the end of the wire at low tide on the beaches, she would end up feeding on bare, brown, burned-up pasturage of a most inferior sort.
But she never learned her lesson and continued to fence crawl time after time.

 
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Christian author Neil Anderson wrote a list he called The Twenty Cans of Success. These are based on what the NT says is true of Christians. These are promises, claimed by believers through the centuries. Allow God to speak to you through these assurances.

1. Why should I say I can’t when the Bible says I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13)? 2. Why should I lack when I know that God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)? 3. Why should I fear when the Bible says God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)? 4. Why should I lack faith to fulfill my calling knowing that God as allotted to me a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)? 5. Why should I be weak when the Bible says that the Lord is the strength of my life and that I will display strength and take action because I know God (Psalm 27:1; Daniel 11:32)?

6. Why should I allow Satan supremacy over my life when He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4)? 7. Why should I accept defeat when the Bible says that God always leads me in triumph (2 Corinthians 2:14)? 8. Why should I lack wisdom when Christ became wisdom to me from God and God gives wisdom to me generously when I ask Him for it (1 Corinthians 1:30; James 1:5)? 9. Why should I be depressed when I can recall to mind God’s lovingkindness, compassion, and faithfulness and have hope (Lamentations 3:21-23)? 10. Why should I worry and fret when I can cast all my anxiety on Christ who cares for me (1 Peter 5:7)?

11. Why should I ever be in bondage knowing that there is liberty where the Spirit of the Lord is (2 Corinthians 3:17)? 12. Why should I feel condemned when the Bible says I am not condemned because I am in Christ (Romans 8:1)? 13. Why should I feel alone when Jesus said He is with me always and He will never leave me nor forsake me (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5)? 14. Why should I feel accursed or that I am the victim of bad luck when the Bible says that Christ redeemed me from the curse of the law that I might receive His Spirit (Galatians 3:13-14)? 15. Why should I be discontented when I, like Pau...

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Contributed By:
Matthew Mobley
 
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In addition to being wanderers, it is nearly impossible to get sheep to “lie down.” The only way a sheep will lie down in green pastures is if it is FREE FROM ALL ANXIETIES – including a freedom from fear, freedom from friction with the other sheep, free from pests, and freedom from hunger.
Sheep are notoriously afraid. They are helpless, timid, and easily panicked. So much so, says Philip Keller in his book ’A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23’, that a single jackrabbit bounding from a bush can stampede a whole flock. When one sheep gets started and starts running, they all will bolt in blind fear, not even looking to see what it is they are running from. On one occasion, Keller says, a friend of his dropped by to see him who also had a Pekingese puppy. Just one glimpse of the unexpected little dog was enough, he said. “In sheer terror over 200 of my sheep which were resting nearby leaped up and rushed across the pasture.”
The main reason why sheep are so easily frightened is because they are so vulnerable. After he woke up one morning to find one of his best ewes had been killed by an unsuspected cougar in the middle of the night, Keller said from then on he slept with a flashlight and a rifle beside his bed – ready to jump at the first sound of a disturbance.
Like sheep, we too are easily panicked. We are vulnerable, and when you get down to it, pretty helpless in the face of attack. For sheep, there is no greater calming effect than the sight of the Shepherd. We, too, can “lie down” in peace, free from fear and anxieties, knowing that the Lord is our Shepherd. There are many dangerous places in this world, and there is only so much we can do to protect ourselves, but the safest place we can be is in the care of the Shepherd.

 
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Glenn Durham
 
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Phillip Keller drew from his many years as a shepherd to write, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, a book many Christians find beneficial. In one place he describes “cast” sheep: “This is an old English shepherd’s term for a sheep that has turned over on its back and cannot get up again by itself…. Even the largest, fattest, strongest and sometimes healthiest sheep can become ‘cast’ and be a casualty…. A ‘cast’ sheep is a very pathetic site. Lying on its back, its feet in the air, it flays away frantically struggling to stand up, without success. Sometimes it will bleat a little for help, but generally it lies there lashing about in frightened frustration. If the owner does not arrive on the scene within a reasonably short time, the sheep will die. This is but another reason why it is so essential for a careful sheepman to count his flock every day…. If one or two are missing, often his first thought is, ‘One of my sheep is cast somewhere. I must go in search and set it on its feet’” (54,61).

Keller reminds us that though the image of God’s people as sheep is common in the Bible, it is not completely complementary. From all accounts, sheep are helpless animals of limited intelligence. They are timid and can be startled by the slightest sound; but at other times they are so stubborn that nothing moves them. Pastor John MacArthur observes that “sheep are the most helpless, defenseless, straying, and dirty of animals. They require constant oversight, leading, rescue, and cleaning or they will die. Being a shepherd was good training for leading people.”

In spite of the negative connotations, however, God identifies us “sheep” and himself the “shepherd.” Calling us “sheep” might not feel like a great complement; but being the “good shepherd” greatly exalts God’s care and compassion. The Good Shepherd leads us to the green pastures and cool waters of heaven.

 
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