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Summary: A message dealing with the the shepherd, and his sheep !

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Beside Still Waters

Psalms 23:1-6

We have been preaching in the Psalms for several Sun evening, and I’ve been just kinda bouncing around.

I must admit that sometimes I hesitate preaching on the passages that are so familiar because I know that you’ve heard so many messages from them.

The passage that we have just read tonight is probably the most familiar passage of scripture in the Bible along with the passage that we call "The Lord’s Prayer".

I have no doubt that you have read it, heard it, and listened to many sermons on it, but tonight I just couldn’t pass it up. It is so beautiful, and meaningful that we should never tire from hearing it or reading it. It really has so much to say to us about our relationship with the Lord, and his with us !

The LORD is my shepherd !

David of course was a shepherd. On the most important day of his life........the day that he would be annointed King over all Israel, he had to be fetched from the fields where he was shepherding his Father’s sheep. One day as David was doing his job, and thinking about what he was to the sheep....how dependent they were upon him for their needs......how he had to lead them, take care of them, and provide for them.......he suddenly realized that the LORD was to him what he was to those sheep. He proudly announced the LORD is my shepherd !

It has been said....in fact I’ve said it before.......i.e that sheep are dumb animals.......yet perhaps we need to reclassify sheep. Perhaps we shouldn’t look at sheep as being dumb, but rather dependent !

As our shepherd............

I. Notice His Provision For Us.

It was spring. But it was summer I wanted - The warm days, & the great outdoors.

It was summer. But it was fall I wanted - The colorful leaves, & the cool, dry air.

It was fall. But it was winter I wanted - The beautiful snow, & the joy of the holiday season.

It was winter. But it was spring I wanted - The warmth, & the blossoming of nature.

I was a child. But it was adulthood I wanted - The freedom, & the respect.

I was 20. But it was 30 I wanted - To be mature, & sophisticated.

I was middle-aged. But it was 20 I wanted - The youth, & the free spirit.

I was retired. But it was middle-age I wanted - The presence of mind, without limitations.

Then my life was over, & I never got what I wanted.

Isn’t that the sad tell of so many lives...........? Aren’t we sometimes like that ourselves ? Not satisfied with what we have, but always wanting ?

We shall not want of any good thing !

Psa. 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his see begging bread.

Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

II. Notice His Positioning Of Us.

a. He positions us for rest.

It’s not easy to get a sheep to lie down. A strange thing about sheep is that they will refuse to lie down unless four requirements are met. (1) They must be free from all fear. (2) There must be no tension between members of the flock. (3) They must not be aggravated with flies or parasites. (4) And they must be free from hunger.

b. He positions us for refreshment.

Sheep are poor swimmers. Their thick coats will cause them to drown once they get wet. For this reason, sheep will not drink from moving water.........if a shepherd comes to moving water, he will not force the sheep to drink from it, but instead will dam up a small portion of it so to provide them with "still waters" that they can, and will drink from.

Jesus made it clear that the thirsty souls of men and women can only be fully satisfied by coming to him. In John 7:37, he stated, "If any man thirsts, let him come to me and drink." Our Shepherd leads us beside the still waters.

c. He positions us by restoring us.

There is an Old English shepherd’s term called a "cast" sheep. This is a sheep that has turned over on its back and can’t get back up again. It happens frequently. And when it happens, all the sheep can do is lie on its back, with its feet flaying frantically in the air. Sometimes it will bleat, but usually it will just kick.

If the shepherd doesn’t arrive within a short time, the sheep will die. That’s one of the reasons why a shepherd is always looking over its flock, counting them to see if they are all on their feet. If one is missing, he thinks, "One of my sheep is cast and I’ve got to find it." This is the thought behind the parable of the 99 sheep and the one that went astray.

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