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Summary: Part 2 continues where Part 1 left off.

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Psalm 23: Benefits Of Our Relationship With God Part 2

Scripture: Psalm 23

Introduction

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil…….”

In my message last week, I told you about the first eight benefits that we have because of our relationship with God. Those benefits include the fact that we are in a relationship with God where He is our shepherd. Because God is our shepherd, we have a supply source that is unbreakable; we receive rest and refreshment when we need it; and we have a road map for guidance in that God constantly guides us through His Holy Spirit for His Own purpose and benefit yet still ultimately for our good. Finally during times when we are being tempted and/or tested, we have protection and security. This morning we will return to Psalm 23 and complete our list of benefits. Benefits 9 and 10 tell us of God’s faithfulness and discipline.

Benefits #9 & 10: “Thy rod and Thy staff the comfort me.”

Faithfulness and Discipline

One of the tools that were a requirement for all shepherds was a rod or staff. This staff was used to provide discipline when the flock needed it, but it was more so used to protect the flock against predators. The most common shepherd staff was curved at the top. This allowed the shepherd to use the staff to pick up one of his/her sheep if they fell down. The curved part of the staff could easily loop around the neck of the sheep and lift it up. The sheep in return were very comfortable with the staff being just another tool used for its overall protection. When we consider this in our lives, we know that God is faithful in all of his interactions with us and for us. One example of this we find in a conversation that God had with Joshua. In Joshua 1:5 the following is recorded: “No man will be able to stand before you all of the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” In this conversation with Joshua, God was encouraging Joshua that He would be with him and take care of him. Joshua knew first hand how God had taken care of Moses so he had a reference point when God confirmed his position with Him. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20 “….lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” It is comfortable to know that Christ will not leave us in our sin and misery. In everything that we face, we can be confident that He is by our side.

Benefits #11: “Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my

enemies.” Our Hope

I have come to realize that not everyone who smiles at you likes you. Not everyone who walks up to you and shakes your hand really desires something good for you. When you find people that you thought were your friends degrading you to others yet smiling in your face, it can hurt and bother you. No matter how strong we are, we cannot escape the feelings of hurt and betrayal from those we once considered a friend. I have learned that I have enemies that I do not even know. Someone “heard” something about me from someone else and they decided that they did not like me based on what they heard although they never met me. I am not unlike any of you. We all have enemies that we recognize (those we can easily recognize in the daylight) and those that are hidden (under the protection of the darkness of night waiting to attack.) Although both of these types of enemies the sheep faced daily, David said “Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Sheep sleep and eat in green pastures while their enemies circle the parameters waiting for an opportunity to attack. While the sheep are eating, the shepherd watches over them to protect them. The sheep can eat freely and peacefully knowing that if they are attacked they will be protected by the shepherd. We have hope that no matter who is planning an attack against us, our shepherd is there to handle the battle. We cannot know everything that is being planned against us but our hope in God allows us to be forewarned against the plans of our enemies. Although we have enemies all around us, God prepares a table for us in their presence. I had to learn that I do not have to fight every battle that comes my way, sometimes all I need to do is continue what I am doing and let my shepherd handle it. We will always have enemies no matter where we go or how well we live your lives, they will not go away. But, because of our shepherd, we do not have to worry about them; their plans for us will be made know and our Shepherd will protect us through it all.


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