Summary: The Lord is not "the shepherd" and He's not "a shepherd." David says He's MY shepherd. What does that mean for us?
(I started the sermon by singing the first verse of “He Leadeth Me” and then asked the congregation to join me in the chorus)
“He leadeth me, O blessed thought! O words with heav’nly comfort fraught! Whate’er I do, where’er I be, still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.’
(CHORUS) He leadeth me, He leadeth me, by His own hand He leadeth me; His faithful foll’wer I would be, for by His hand He leadeth me.”
The 23rd Psalm is one of the best-known passages in Scripture. It’s only 6 verses long, and yet in those short 6 verses David describes God with such depth and power that entire books of theology couldn’t even begin to touch it. In those verses David tells us truths about what God meant to him and what He can mean to us.
And the one of the most important Biblical truths he declared was this: The Lord Is My Shepherd!
Until you understand that simple truth nothing else in Scripture makes any difference. What David was describing here was a God who really cared for him. He said “the Lord is MY shepherd.” He’s not A shepherd and He’s not THE shepherd… the Lord IS MY SHEPHERD.
ILLUS: Years ago, someone told of a dream he had. In his dream he moved among the temples of ancient Greece. Near one of them he met a priest and began to talk to him. Pointing to people approaching the temple, the dreamer said to the priest: "I suppose these people honor and love their god." And the priest just laughed "Honor? Love? What do you mean? They fear him because he may destroy them, but love ...." 'Whoever loved a god?' '
"But," said the dreamer, "don’t these people seek to know the will of their god?'' And the priest said. "He does not work by will, but by whim, by caprice. He may smite with illness, curse with barrenness, blight with disaster. No one can know the mind of a god. One may only appease his anger." (from a book by James Black).
You see… that’s the way a lot of folks look at God. They see Him as uncaring… EVEN cruel A deity to be feared and avoided - BUT NOT DAVID. David declared: The Lord is MY shepherd. It’s personal for David. This is his God. God was HIS shepherd, and because of that - David KNEW he was safe.
Psalm 59:16 I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Psalm 61:2b-3 I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
You see, this was the key to David’s being a man after God’s own heart. David wasn’t a Sunday Go To Meeting guy. He didn’t just show up for an hour on Sunday and live however he wanted the rest of the week. David was sold out for God because he KNEW that his Lord wasn’t just a god who was WAYYY up there… and who didn’t really care.
The God that David loved… loved him back. And so DAVID wrapped his life around this God.
ILLUS: David’s attitude toward God reminds of story of a Sunday school teacher who asked her class if any of them could quote the entire 23rd psalm. A little girl was raised their hand. When the teacher asked if she really knew the entire Psalm, the little girl nodded and then said: “The Lord’s my shepherd… and that’s all I want.” (From the book “I Shall Not Want” by Robert Ketchum)
That’s the best theology you’ll ever hear all year! The Lord is YOUR shepherd, and He’s all you will ever need and all you’ll ever want.
But that does raise the question… is the Lord YOUR shepherd? Is He ALL you want? Until you figure that out… you’ll miss out on the best God has to offer. And one of the most important things God has to offer you is this: He’s got a plan for you
“He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:2-3
God KNOWS where you need to be, and if He is YOUR shepherd… He’s gonna take you there. When God is YOUR shepherd… He has plans for you. He has a destination for you in His mind.
That’s what Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know the plans I have for you plans to prosper you and not to harm you,