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Summary: When we fail, when we deny, when we fall short, Jesus will still prepare for us a table in the midst of our enemies.

Following the Shepherd

Psalms 23

Ps 23… 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 NKJV

Opening Illustration:

Peter is an interesting person. If you look closely, you could find him hiding in the shadows of life. Peter the impetuous. Peter the passionate. He once walked on water! He would soon preach to thousands. However, right now you would find him hiding in the shadows, weeping in pain.

Peter was hurting deep in his heart.

What hurt more?

• the fact that he did it or

• The fact that he swore he never would do it.

Luke 22:33-34… But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death." Then He said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me." NKJV

In Peter’s mind, denying Christ three times was bad enough, but the boasting that he would never fail, just added more pain.

His beard soaked from the tears of anguish flowing down his cheeks. Hiding the pain from others, hoping they would never know the degree of betrayal in his soul, Peter went fishing. Why did he go fishing?

We know why he went to Galilee….

Matt 28:16… Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. NKJV

Nevertheless … Peter decided to go fishing

John 21:3… Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. NKJV

Peter had laid down his nets the day Jesus called Him to be a fisher of men. No mention of him fishing during the ministry of Jesus and there is no record of him fishing after this event.

Jesus has risen from the dead, Peter has seen the empty tomb. Why would you want to be fishing right now?

Maybe, Peter’s broken heart was searching for a familiar place to find comfort. He could not deny his denial. The empty tomb had not erased the crowing rooster.

• When we fail.

• When Satan’s trap grips our soul.

• We then wonder if Jesus would return for someone like us.

Is Peter the only person to do the very thing He said he would never do?

• From now on, I am going to bridle my tongue!

• No more shady deals, I have learned my lesson!

• I am laying down this chemical dependency for the last time!

• Unfaithfulness is behind me!

• The Holy Bible now guides my morals!

The volume of our boasting increases the heartbreak of our shame.

• Rather than resist flirting, we return it

• Rather than ignore the gossip, we repeat it.

• Rather than stick to the truth, we shade it.

• Rather than the Holy Bible guiding our morals, we yield to fleshly desires.

Moreover, the rooster crows, conviction pierces and we become Peter’s partner in the shadows. We weep as Peter wept, doing just what Peter did, we go fishing.

“Going fishing,” means we go back to our old lives. We return to the Pre-Jesus practices. We do what comes more natural rather than what comes more spiritually.

Look what Jesus did, He prepared a meal and invited all of them, including Peter, to come and eat. No one was more grateful than Peter. The one that Satan sifted like wheat was now invited to eat with God.

Ps 23:5…You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

What the shepherd did for the sheep sounds a lot like what Jesus did for Peter.

When we fail, when we deny, when we fall short, Jesus will still prepare for us a table in the midst of our enemies. His mercy reaches into the darkness of life touching our hurting soul. Asking us to come and dine at His table with Him.

As David wrote the Psalm, his mind was on the meadows in the high country. A good shepherd would prepare the grazing area before the sheep were allowed to enjoy the fine grass.

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