Summary: Relationship is key to understanding Psalm 23
A. RELATIONSHIP IS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING PSALM 23
1. The Shepherd’s relationship to me begins with His commitment.
a. Possession. “His own sheep” (John 10:4).
b. Sacrifice. “The good shepherd giveth His life” (John 10:11).
c. Transforms. “He restoreth my soul” (Ps. 23:3).
d. Care. “Calleth His own sheep by name” (John 10:3).
e. Guides. “He leadeth me” (Ps. 23:2).
2. My commitment to the Shepherd.
a. Obey. “He leads me in right paths” (Ps. 23:3).
b. Trust. “Thou art with me” (Ps. 23:4).
c. Nearness. As long as I am close to the Shepherd, He can take care of my needs.
B. THE PRONOUN “MY”
1. Personal. Not “the” cup runs over.
2. Favorite. Not “a” cup runs over.
3. Parent’s religion. Not the “parent’s cup” runs over.
4. Pastor’s religion. Not the “pastor’s cup” runs over.
5. Sunday religion. Not the “Sunday cup” runs over.
6. What can we learn from the pronoun “my”? Do you have a favorite cup?
Past good memories
7. The Shepherd wants to satisfy your thirst by giving you a drink from your favorite cup.
C. THE CUP
1. What happens when you stick your face down into a pond to drink?
a. Hard to swallow.
b. Inconvenient kneeling.
When the Shepherd gives you a drink, He does not make you kneel down to suck up the water, but He gives you a drink from your favorite cup.
2. Why does the Shepherd use a cup?
a. He wants to make it as convenient as possible.
b. He cares that you drink the right way and that you drink the right stuff.
Character is habitually doing the right thing in the right way.
D. RUNNETH OVER
1. Notice what the shepherd does not offer.
a. Empty cup. Tells you to go fill it up.
b. Half-filled. Drink this and I will give you more.
c. Filled to brim. The law required exact fulfillment, but grace gives abundantly more.
d. Abundance. What is meant by “runneth over”?
2. “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20).
3. Jesus created wine at the wedding.
a. Plenty. Six water pots of 2 or 3 fur skins (106-154 gallons).
b. Excellent. “Thou hast kept the good wine till now” (John 2:10).
4. What fills your life?
a. Salvation. “The cup of salvation” (Ps. 116:13).
b. Satisfaction. “Filled the hungry with good things” (Luke 1:53).
c. Happiness. “Filled our hearts with . . . gladness” (Acts 14:17).
d. Peace. “Filled you with joy and peace” (Romans 15:13).
e. Holy Spirit. “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).
PRAYING THE 23rd PSALM
Because Thou art my Shepherd,
I commit my needs to Thee.
Provide green pastures for me to lie in,
Lead me beside still waters.
Restore my soul when I’m empty,
Lead me in right paths for Your name’s sake.
Be with me in danger when I walk
Through the valley of the shadow of death.
Deliver me from evil,
And protect me with Your rod and staff.
Prepare a table to feed me,
So my enemies can see Your provision.
Anoint me with the oil of Your healing,
Let me drink from the full cup of Your provision.
Surely goodness and mercy will always follow me,
And I will live with You forever. Amen.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you.
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Dr. Towns' email is ELTowns@liberty.edu
Dr. Towns’ web address is www.elmertowns.com