Summary: Focuses on our relationship with God based on Psalm 23.
Psalm 23: Benefits Of Our Relationship With God Part 1
Scriptures: Psalms 23
I read something recently in an email that made me think about Psalm 23. The last time that I preached a message from this text was in October 2000, so it has been a while. In this message I want to share with you seventeen benefits you should be enjoying based on your relationship with God as found in Psalm 23. Psalm 23 was written by a man who understood his relationship with God. David, a man whom God said was after His own heart, was a shepherd. In this song, Psalm 23, he wrote of the relationship he had with God. He compared his relationship with God with something he was very familiar with, the relationship between a shepherd and his flock. In this song, David considered himself as the sheep and God the Shepherd. To really appreciate what David was sharing, you need to understand a few facts about shepherds and sheep.
I. Sheep and Shepherd Facts
Sheep are not the brightest or smartest animals on the earth. As a matter of fact, they are so needy that they require the constant oversight of the shepherd. Sheep are very timid and have been known to flee from blowing paper. A thunder storm will actually send them into a panic. If the sheep is crossing a stream and get scared, it will literally drown without even fighting for its life. If the sheep are in a barn and the barn catches fire, they will burn to death without trying to escape because they will be frozen with fear. Another fact about sheep is that the wool that covers their bodies is so heavy that if they fall down and are lying on their backs, they cannot get up. They are incapable if righting themselves and must lay there until someone picks them up or they die. Sheep only recognize the voice of their shepherd and will not follow any other shepherd. They will not be led by a voice that they do not recognize. Can you see the similarities between sheep and us?
Let examine quickly the role of the Shepherd as Jesus describes in John 10:14-27? In those verses Jesus speaks of the shepherd as being critical to the survival of the sheep. The shepherd knows his sheep; understands their ways and their nature to stray; will defend their sheep against all attackers; rejoices when a lost sheep is found; willing to feed them and ensure their needs are met; is skilled at pasturing his sheep and will carry one in his arms if one becomes feeble. This is the relationship that David was referring to when he wrote Psalm 23. David considered his role as shepherd and all of the responsibilities he had for his sheep and thought about his relationship with God. When He thought about that relationship, he realized that God was his Shepherd and that he too was one of God’s sheep.
II. Benefits Of Being In A Good Relationship With God
Benefit #1: “The Lord is my Shepherd” This is our Relationship with God.
David opens Psalm 23 with the true nature of our relationship with God, we are sheep and God is the Shepherd. Because God is the Shepherd, all of those responsibilities that a shepherd has for his/her sheep God have for us. Understand, as God’s sheep and in comparison to God, we are stupid, whether we like it or not. Also just like sheep, we often walk in fear and are sometimes paralyzed by our fear. We also, in comparison to sheep sometimes fall down without the ability to get up needing God’s help to get back on the right track. The first benefit that we find in Psalm 23 is that we have a relationship with God where it is His role to watch over us and our role to follow where He leads. Remember, another word for relationship is “connection”. We are connected to God!
Benefit #2: “I shall not want.” This is our Supply!
God is the source of all of my need being met. Do you know that there are a lot of people who actually believe that they are their source? They work long hours to move ahead because they truly believe everything that they accomplish is on their shoulders. I believe in hard work, but I do not believe that my job is my source. My pay check says Merck, but God is my source. Had it not been for God I would not be employed by Merck. Merck can one day go away, yet God will remain. My faith is in God, not in Merck. God uses Merck to meet my needs and the needs of my family. Paul said in Philippians 4:19 that “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” David acknowledged this when he said “because” the “Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” The Lord anticipates our needs and is already making provisions for us. Isaiah 65:24 says “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking I will hear.” God said before we even ask He is already answering. That is the God we serve. Even though our ignorance, discomforts, pride and unthankful hearts may make us think we are in a barren land, when we allow God to open our eyes, we will recognize the fountains, streams, mercies and blessings that are all around us. The second benefit is you have a supply source that anticipates and answers your need even before you realize that you have a need, today, tomorrow, forever.