Sermons

Summary: The Lord is my shepherd...

Psalm 23 part 1 WBC 11 August 2003 am

Prior week- cycling in along nun’s walk. Dog running beside me. Swans and signets near the water (on island)

- take this in! Appreciate this! Count your blessings!

- Something v special about being alongside water, eh?

It occurred to me what an incredible man King David was

- = truly a man after God’s own heart

- Ps 23 a thunderous bolt/flash of divine inspiration

- Particularly when you consider how it stands out in its original context

- We’re used to thinking beaches, water, leisure (summer!)

- But in their context: hard labour for food. War. Not even too much security with God. 10 commandments + 613 others (developed)

- = all about DOING the right thing

And into this context David speaks with words that reveal God’s desire for us… YOU. Today

Shepherd

God is revealed as a shepherd.

- = about as intimate as any of the psalms have got, yet

- prior to this: rock, fortress, shield, king

- but none of those metaphors are as intimate as this

And he’s not just ANY old shepherd. He’s MY shepherd. David’s and yours!

= not surprising David chooses imagery/metaphor of Shepherd

- he’s a King, now. 1000BC. But he hasn’t forgotten his roots… isn’t ashamed of them

- where God trained Him for dependence on Him, leadership

- In his nature (“you made me trust in you from my mother’s breast Ps 22:9)… but in his nurture, too

Now- you’ve got to get rid of YOUR image of a shepherd (cussing, beating)… and understand the middle-Eastern one

- doesn’t walk behind.

- Walks in front. Sheep trust him, and follow. Sheep don’t need to concern their little (and they ARE little) brains over

- Direction, provision

- That’s why they ‘are not in want’

Take note of this, folks. When has all your striving, planning, goals etc made a huge amount of difference to: provision, direction

- somehow we look back and can see/say “GOD has guided me to here… and I’d never believe it possible”

- though there might be dark and dry bits (in Ps 23, too!)

- though of us who have been around for any time know God as the ultimate guider, provider

I’m not talking against plans, WISDOM

- but, even (particularly!?) in the church- we find we draw up all these plans, visions, goals

- many of them come to nothing. “PR 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” “Unless the Lord builds the house”

- it’s true, isn’t it? In the workplace? Many of you are tired of it

 God is sovereign. He’s our Lord. Our shepherd. When we put our lives in His hand WE became HIS responsibility

- and where does all our fretting, bleating, running around get us?

- Nowhere. More distant from the shepherd. Stuck in a hedge somewhere

- “I do not concern myself with things too great for me!

- =X an abdication of responsibility.

- = a recognition of who the shepherd is, who’s in control, and who knows the terrain and where to find green pastures.

Green pastures

That’s great imagery, isn’t it? Don’t you love the greenery of this countryside. Sitting by the river having a picnic.

- oh yes!!

He knows where they are. And that’s where He wants you. At peace. Munching grass. Beside the water.

- note: the very fact they are mentioned as ‘green’ implies there will be times when it’s not so green… dark, even

- but HE will ensure you have times of rest, peace, recreation. Oasis in the journey of life

- (not forever by green pastures would we idly rest & stay)

THIS is God’s will. His very best.

- "Peace is what God wants for you no matter what is happening" Francois Fenelon (17th century)

- If you’re in one- ENJOY IT! If you’re not- look forward to it, and remember ‘it CAME to PASS’. Hold on to your faith. Don’t be frightened of your doubts- and trust God will answer them (or answer YOU) in His good time

- “oh you gotta keep the faith”

And remember- the green pastures David’s talking about are not just food and scenery

- they are for the sheep, of course. Their tummies are ALL they are concerned about

- but it’s imagery, remember!!!

- This is something to mature towards, go for… whatever your environment, because real peace and real food come from

- Him.

- ’By one hour’s intimate access to the throne of grace, where the Lord causes His glory to pass before the soul that seeks Him you may acquire more true spiritual knowledge and comfort than by a day’s or a week’s converse with the best of men, or the most studious perusal of many folios’ John Newton

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