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Summary: Psalm 23 describes the life journey we are on. “The first part introduces our shepherd to us; part two describes the hills that are the up times in our lives; the third part of the Psalm brings our journey into the dark valley..."

FOLLOWING THE GOOD SHEPHERD

OPENING – HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE:

For the past couple of weeks we’ve been talking about the importance of getting into God’s Word.

SOAP JOURNALLING:

(courtesy of Wayne Cordeiro and the Life Journal)

S - Scripture - write out the Scripture God speaks to you through

O - Observation - write out your observations on that Bible verse

A - Application - write out how you intend to apply this truth to your life

P - Prayer - write out a prayer to pray back to the Lord based on this Scripture

REVIEW THE FOUR QUESTIONS:

WHAT DOES THIS SCRIPTURE TEACH ME ABOUT:

1. WHO GOD IS? What do I learn about the nature of God?

2. WHO AM I? What do I learn about the nature of man?

3. GOD‘S PROMISES? Is there a promise to claim?

4. GOD‘S COMMANDMENTS? Is there a commandment to obey?

A LOOK AT PSALM 23:

“1 A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

3 He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

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.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

THE BIG IDEA: Psalm 23 describes the life journey we are on. “Four parts: The first part introduces our shepherd to us; part two describes the hills that are the up times in our lives; the third part of the Psalm brings our journey into the dark valley, where life becomes more difficult, and at times painful; and part four encourages the traveler again – there is a purpose and a plan to our lives.” (Barry Buzza, Life Journey).

1. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SHEPHERD:

1 A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

• The first thing we learn in this Psalm is something about the nature of God.

• Jesus said, “I am the door. Those who come in through me will be saved. Wherever they go, they will find green pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:9-11).

• Our life journey really begins when we enter through the door – Jesus. When we believe in Jesus, He becomes our Shepherd.

• The fact that God calls us sheep is not a compliment: “All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” (Isaiah 53:6).

• “I shall not want.” Speaks of satisfaction.

2. THE GOOD TIMES IN OUR LIVES:

2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures

• “He makes me” because I get too busy.

• “lie down” – we need seasons of rest in our lives

• “green pastures” – feeding on the Word.

He leads me beside the still waters.

• speaks of His presence – this comes in prayer

• QUOTE: “The shepherd leads us beside quiet waters for the purpose of refreshing, nourishing and refocusing our spiritual centre.” (Barry Buzza, Life Journey).

3 He restores my soul;

• How? We talked about this last week:

“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.” (Psalm 19:7a).

He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

• stay on the path the shepherd has laid out for us.

3. THE VALLEYS IN OUR LIVES:

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;

• QUOTE: “In this section, David switches pronouns. No longer does he refer to the shepherd as He, he becomes You. In the valley of the shadow of death, we are brought face to face with God.” (Barry Buzza).

• Note that shadows images without substance. They can scare you, but not hurt you.

• Why does the Lord sometimes allow us to go through valleys?

o Because its easy to forget about Him when we live comfortably on the mountains.

o Benefits to valleys: “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” (James 1:2-4).

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