Summary: From Childhood, many have read and even memorized Psalm 23. This message takes a look at this well known passage from an ALTERNATE perspective by adding 1 WORD. (Useful for Funeral Service)
DO YOU WANT THE LORD AS YOUR SHEPHERD?
by William Akehurst, HSWC
When I learned of Cousin’s death at about 6 am on Saturday morning, I believe the LORD laid it on my heart to share this message for the funeral service, regarding this well known Psalm. I penned it moments after I had received the call. I have restructured it here for use as a regular sermon. Praise be to the LORD.
PSALM 23 – Do you want the Lord as your Shepherd?
Many of us learned Psalm 23 as children.
Perhaps we even memorized it, but did we really truly understand it?
For some, if you were to ask them to recite the 23rd psalm, they might get as far as the first verse.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”
I know when I learned the psalm, I didn’t truly understand its meaning.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Thinking, Jesus is my shepherd, but I don’t want him to be.
Or Jesus is my shepherd, and I want to do my own thing.
Many of us were at that place in our lives, where even if we knew that the LORD is to be our shepherd, we like the stray sheep of the herd, desired to break through the fence and see what made the world tick. We would search for greener pastures. We would trek out on our own looking for fulfillment from the things of this world and life, only to find it temporary and emptiness.
And some flat out did not want any part of the LORD as their shepherd.
What we must understand is that Psalm 23 is really saying this…
And I know we are not supposed to add words to the bible, but I want to add this one POWERFUL word.
WHEN the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.
Then we can go beyond verse 1 and experience the benefits of having the Lord as our shepherd to lead and guide us, as we follow HIM.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
Vs. 2 we don’t have to look for greener pastures, he makes us lie down in them…
When life’s storms come our way, He gives us peace and assurance and calms the storms in life. He supplies for our every need.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
He repairs us, he fixes our soul, that was once apart from HIM and rebellious. He leads us back to Him, to do what is right, as a parent to their child.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Even when faced with the thought of death, we need not fear, because he is with us with his protection, and these are our comfort
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Even when surrounded by things in our lives that appear to be overwhelming, tragedies and trials in life, he gives us sustenance and blessing, abundant and overflowing
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
We have hope during this life that his goodness and mercy are with us each and every day of our lives. His kindness and compassion.
And the biggest promise of them all…when the Lord is our shepherd, we will live with him, dwell with him in his house, forever.
Heb. 13:20—talks about "Jesus, the GREAT shepherd of the sheep . . . " Our shepherd rose from the dead, showing us that there is a resurrection from the dead. There is life after death.
John 14 Jesus said, In my father’s house are many mansions, and I go to prepare a place for you.
A place to live and dwell with HIM forever.
But how can the Lord be our shepherd?
For the LORD to be our shepherd,
HE must lead us, and for Him to lead us,
We must follow HIM.
And in order for us to follow Him,
We need to WANT him, and in order to WANT HIM,
We FIRST must BELIEVE in HIM.
John 3:16, another bible verse from our childhood. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
In order for the Lord to be our shepherd, we must want him, by believing in him.