Summary: The Lord can be my shepherd if I choose Him. But why would anyone NOT choose Him? And what difference can He make in my life as "my shepherd"?

In September of 1938, a man from Long Island purchased a barometer. When it arrived in the mail he was disappointed to find that the needle appeared to be stuck. It pointed to the sector on the barometer that was marked “hurricane.” He SHOOK the barometer several times… but the needle never moved. So, he sat down and wrote an angry letter to the company and mailed it the next morning as he drove into New York City. That night, when he returned home, he discovered that the barometer missing... and so was his house. The barometer had been right. While he’d been gone, a hurricane had come and destroyed his house.

That man didn’t TRUST the barometer, and it nearly cost him his life. (Pause) What (or Who) you trust… can make all the difference in your life. The 23rd Psalm is a Psalm about TRUST - trusting in God. “The Lord is my shepherd… I shall not want.” I TRUST HIM!

ILLUS: There was a Sunday school teacher who asked her class if any of them could quote the entire twenty-third psalm. A little four-and-a-half-year-old girl raised her hand. She stood up and said: “The Lord is my shepherd, and that’s all I want.” (“I Shall Not Want”, a book by Robert Ketchum)

In Psalm 23 - David is essentially telling us – God is MY shepherd and He’s all I want. I TRUST Him! In fact, David trusted his entire life to God. God was all that David wanted! And Psalm 23 was David’s way of telling us that he knew how much God loved Him and protected him.

ILLUS: Now, the problem is… a lot of people struggle with that. There was study published by USA Today a few years back. They found that over 31% of Americans saw God as “Authoritarian.” He was almost always angry. He wanted us to shape up and fly right. And if we didn’t – He’d punish us. About 16% of Americans pictured God as “Critical” and “Judgmental.” He was still unhappy with us, but He has no intention of offering either divine HELP or divine WRATH. A 3rd group (over 24%) believed God was “Distant.” He may have created earth, but He didn’t have any intention of getting involved in our lives. So, over 70 % of Americans in that survey believed that God either DOESN’T like us, or DOESN’T care what happens to us! Those folks would have a hard time believing that “The Lord Is My Shepherd, I shall not want.”

Their doubt about whether God cared for them reminds of the parable Jesus told about a rich man who gave money to his servants. He gave 5 talents of gold to one servant, 2 to another, and 1 to the 3rd. When their master returned the first man and 2nd man doubled their master’s money… but then "The man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So, I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ "His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. "‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents… And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 25:24-28 & 30


The disobedient servant HID what he’d been given because he was afraid. And he was a called wicked and lazy servant BECAUSE didn’t trust his master. He was NOT driven by FAITH - he was driven by FEAR, and he paid a price for that.

Hebrews 11:6 says “without faith (trusting God) it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

There’s a powerful promise found in II Chronicles 16:9 “The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…”

God is basically saying – commit to me; chose to follow me; and I’ll be your good Shepherd. I will strengthen you… I will protect you… I will supply for you.

So, let’s consider what Psalm 23 tells us about God. 1st – it tells me that God leads us. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. HE LEADS ME! Oddly enough the sheep don’t usually know WHERE they’re going. The shepherd doesn’t consult the flock. He doesn’t ask their opinion. He simply gets out in front and He leads - because He knows where the best fields and the best water and best grass are.

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