Summary: "Living with Confidence in God" is an exposition of Psalm 23. The point of the message is that God is worthy of your trust. It offers three reasons why God is worthy of your trust: (1) God watches over those who trust in him. (2) God walks with those who
LIVING WITH CONFIDENCE IN GOD
Psalm 23 is the best known and most beloved of the psalms. CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON aptly called it “the pearl of the psalms.” It is arguably the most famous and cherished scripture in the Bible. It is the John 3:16 of the Old Testament. The young and old know it. Seasoned saints, new Christians, and irreligious people are familiar with it. It is memorized by children, recited at weddings, read at sickbeds, preached at funerals, and consulted in counseling. In God’s Psychiatry, CHARLES L. ALLEN went so far as to say, “If people would repeat Psalm 23 seven times before they go to sleep each night, we would rarely see an emotional breakdown.” Without a doubt, Psalm 23 is one of the greatest poems and most inspiring psalms ever written. It is known around the world and has been appreciated throughout the ages. But it is not a song that everyone can sing. Psalm 23 is the exclusive testimony of those who have a personal relationship with the living God.
The ascription above verse 1 labels Psalm 23 “A PSALM OF DAVID.” That’s all we know about the historical background of this psalm. We do not know if David composed it as a young shepherd boy or as a wise old king. We do not know if David wrote it during a period of tranquil reflection or in a season of threatening difficulties. But this does not hinder our ability to understand or appreciate this psalm. To the contrary, it helps us to relate to it in a more personal way. Whatever David’s personal circumstances, he was able to say, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Is that your testimony? Can you say that the Lord is your shepherd?
John R.W. Stott wisely commented, “The Christian cannot read or sing this psalm without thinking of Jesus Christ, who dared to reapply the metaphor from Jehovah to Himself.” In John 10:11, Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The Good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Hebrews 13:20 says that Jesus is the great shepherd. And 1 Peter 5:4 says that he is the chief shepherd. But is the Lord your shepherd? Do you have a personal relationship with the living God? Have you put your trust in the Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? Again, CHARLES SPURGEON wrote, “If he be a shepherd to no one else, he is a shepherd to me. He cares for me, watches over me, and preserves me.” Can you say that? If not, then I plead with you to repent of your sins, run to the cross, and put your faith in Jesus for salvation from the holy wrath of God. And you will discover more and more each day that the Lord is worthy of your trust. Psalm 23 testifies to the fact that the Lord watches over, walks with, and welcomes in those who trust in him.
I. THE LORD WATCHES OVER THOSE WHO TRUSTS IN HIM.
A young boy was to recite Psalm 23 during a Sunday school program. And the nervous youth forgot the opening line of the psalm. But he came up with a novel version: “THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD; I SHALL NOT WORRY ABOUT IT.” He missed the exact words of the psalm but caught the exact sense of it. If the Lord is your shepherd, you really have nothing to worry about. RAY STEDMAN wrote, “There are really only two options in life. If the Lord is my shepherd, then I shall not want. But if I am in want, then it is obvious that the Lord is not my shepherd. It’s that simple! If there’s emptiness, loneliness, dissatisfaction, and frustration in our lives, then the Lord is not our shepherd. If we look to anyone or anything other than God as our shepherd, we will never be satisfied.” These words may sound harsh, but they are true. There is nothing, no one in this life that can bring true satisfaction – only God. Those who trust in the Lord can live with confidence that the Lord is watching over you.
A. THE LORD WATCHES OVER OUR PHYSICAL NEEDS.
Verse 2 says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” These two statements continue the shepherd-sheep metaphor to describe how the Lord watches over the physical needs of those who trust in him. First, THE LORD PROVIDES NOURISHMENT. Sheep are not able to hunt down or dig up their own food. They need a shepherd to find pastures for them to graze. And it must be green pastures, because hungry sheep will satisfy their hunger in the wrong places. So the faithful shepherd leads his sheep to green pastures. And once he leads them to green pastures, he makes them lie down in it. The shepherd knows what is best for the sheep. He knows the road ahead. He knows that tired and hungry sheep will not make the journey. So he makes them lie down in green pastures. This is how the Lord works in our lives. He makes us lie down in green pastures.