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Summary: Christ our Shepherd is our Leader

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August 27, 2006

Psalm 23

My Shepherd, My Leader

Sheep are easily led, and because of that they are easily led astray. They’re needy, defenseless, and nervous.

I heard about a man who hated his wife’s cat. He wanted to get rid of it, but she wouldn’t let him. Finally, he decided he had enough! So, he put the cat in his car and drove to the other side of town, let the cat out, and drove home. As he pulled into his driveway, there was the cat walking up the driveway. He said, "I can’t believe this!”

The next day, he put the cat back in the car and drove ten miles away. He let the cat out, then sped back as fast as he could. As he pulled into the driveway, there was the cat yawning and walking in the house.

He was furious! So, the next day he put the cat in the car and went way out in the country. He drove twenty miles, took a left at a bridge, drove down some dirt roads with no street signs and found the deepest part of the woods and he dropped the cat off.

A few hours later, the man called his wife at home and asked her, "Honey is the cat there?" The wife answered, "Yes, why do you ask?" The furious and frustrated man said, "put her on the phone, I’m lost and I need directions."

Cats can find their way home! Dogs can find their way home, people usually can find their way home, but sheep can’t!

On their own sheep become easily lost. If they turn their head for a moment they will go in the opposite direction. That’s why we have the picture in the New Testament of leaving the ninety-nine to go and get the one who was lost.

Maybe that’s why there are so many comparisons to people and sheep in the Bible. We can lose our way, and then we need divine intervention from the Good Shepherd to get us back on track.

Fox sports had a one hour special on the life of Mike Tyson. During the interview, Tyson said he looks forward to his next life and hopes he will then find joy and peace. Isn’t that a sad statement. Especially, from a man who had it all. He could have been the greatest and wealthiest boxer in history, but now he is a has-been, who lives a life that is out of control. He really believes death will bring him peace. I have bad news for Mike Tyson, unless he comes to meet the Shepherd, his present life will look like a bed of roses.

We’ve been focusing on the most famous of all Psalms, Psalm 23. Last week we finished verse 1. It’s a crucial verse for us to hold onto. We need to remember, that the Lord, my Lord, your Lord, is our Lord and Shepherd. He will always be our Shepherd, so long as we are willing to be His sheep.

So today I want to look at the next few verses.

Verse 2 tells us, our Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures, He leads us beside quiet waters, He restores our soul.

Isn’t that beautiful. Look at what the Shepherd does for us.

The good shepherd leads his sheep to a lush pasture where they have plenty to eat and their stomachs are full. The sheep are so satisfied, that they don’t have the least bit of desire for anything more. The sheep are so content, they lie down in green pastures.

In his book, Phillip Keller wrote, sheep need 4 things in order to lie down.

1. They have to be full. Hungry sheep stay on their feet searching for another mouthful of food.

2. They must be unafraid. They will not lie down if they’re fearful. The least suspicion of wolves or bears and they stand ready to flee.

3. They must be content. If flies or fleas are bothering them they will not lie down. They must be comfortable before they’ll lie down.

4. And, sheep will not lie down unless there is harmony in the flock. If there is friction over the butting order, then they simply cannot relax and lie down.

God makes us lie down once in a while, doesn’t He? We rush about, trying to meet this engagement and fulfill that obligation. And in our hurry, we tend to miss the things that are most important. So once in a while God has to say, "You need to lie down." God has many different ways to help us to lie down. Sometimes it’s an illness, or heartbreak, or accident, or His Spirit powerfully reminds us, a friend reminds us, we grieve a loss. These and more make us stop and reevaluate our priorities.

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