Summary: Week 3 of Believe looks at the fact that God is a Personal God.
September 21, 2014
Well, we’ve moved into week 2 of Believe. And I believe this series is going to be great. I’ve heard some really good comments from many of you about what you’re reading, the hope you’re experiencing and that’s great! Last week we took a look at God! That was a big, overwhelming topic. And today narrows it down, just a bit. We’re looking at the fact that God is a personal God.
There are about a gazillion scriptures we can look at to talk about God being a personal God, and I played over a bunch in my head, and narrowed it down to one scripture that most people are already familiar. This should take me about 5 weeks to finish, but we’re going to do it in one week. So, this will take a few minutes, I’ve got my coffee, I hope you’ve had yours.
We’re going to look at Psalm 23. So . . . let’s jump in!
I love the way David describes God. In verse 1 He exclaims, The Lord is my Shepherd. In Hebrew the name Lord is “Yahweh.” This was the same name God revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14, when God said, “I am who I am.”
Most Jewish people consider this name too holy to be spoken by human lips. In fact, it was so revered that it was only pronounced once a year on the Day of Atonement, and then only by the high priest in the most holy place of the Temple.
If the name needed to be written, the scribes would take a bath before writing it and then destroy the pen afterward. It’s difficult to define what the name really means, yet, we trust that God is who He says He is. He’s the One who is all powerful, never changing, all knowing and everywhere at the same time.
Jesus also revealed Himself to the Jewish people in John 8:58, when He said, “Before Abraham was, I AM!” That was so blasphemous to the Jews that they tried to kill Jesus, because He equated Himself as God. Jesus wanted us to know He is a personal God. He is our Shepherd.
In Psalm 8 we read, “O Lord [“Yahweh”], our Lord.” He is creator and yet He is present. He is powerful and He is personal. He is majestic and He is my friend. He is a consuming fire and yet He is my personal shepherd. Isaiah 40:11 ~ He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
We see God as being personal as we move throughout this Psalm ~
God provides and leads us to be content. The last part of verse 1 tells us that since the Lord is my shepherd I will not lack anything that is necessary and good for me: I shall not be in want.
If Jesus is your shepherd, everything else is secondary. Since God is our shepherd all of our needs are taken care of. It becomes a matter of contentment. There are lots of things we want, but God provides for our needs. And when we have God, our wants become secondary.
In todays world, it’s not the norm to hear someone say, “I shall not want.”
Max Lucado refers to our discontment as the “prison of want.” Its prisoners want something bigger. Nicer. Faster. Thinner. If your happiness comes from something you deposit, drive, drink, or digest, then you’re in the prison of want. Are you hoping that a change in circumstance will bring a change in your attitude? If so, you’re locked up. You’re in a cell of discontentment. Allow the powerful simplicity of verse 1 to dwell within you ~ what you have in your Shepherd is greater than what you don’t have in life. Do you believe that?
God nourishes us. 2 “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters.” Notice the shepherd “makes” me lie down. The shepherd would take the sheep and fold their legs in such a way that they would become paralyzed for a while and therefore had to lie down and get their much- needed rest. Some of you have been made to lie down as a result of a broken bone, some other health problem, heartbreak, or even the loss of your job. The shepherd has slowed you down for a reason.
While the shepherd would force his sheep to rest sometimes, the best way to get his flock to chill out was to make sure four conditions were met.
Fear. Sheep are nervous and fearful. When they know the shepherd is with them, they relax. Isaiah 43:5 reminds us ~ “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”