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Summary: A look at the 23rd Psalm; this covers the first four phrases.

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THE 23RD PSALM

Introduction

This morning we are going to look at one of the most well know, most beloved of the psalms, Psalm 23.

For generations, God’s people have found it comforting, con-soling, encouraging, and full of hope and promise.

Many of you can probably quote it, or at least parts of it. You may have an object in your home that has it printed on it.

Commonly read at funerals, often read during times of stress or duress, the 23rd Psalm is a pastoral psalm; one that paints the picture of the Great Shepherd, God, who cares for us, His sheep.

LET’S READ IT TOGETHER

I. THE GOOD SHEPHERD PROVIDES OUR NEEDS

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want"

A. We are often told that sheep are dumb animals.

1. Read article from CNN

2. Can I suggest something? Can I suggest that sheep aren’t dumb; they are de-pendent?

a. they know they need the shepherd

b. they know the shep-herd holds their life in his hands

c. they know the shep-herd is looking out for them; caring for their interests

3. Can I suggest that what’s dumb is thinking that we are INdependent!

a. we need God, the Good Shepherd to take care of us!

b. Provide for us

c. Protect us

B. What about our needs?

1. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

a. Read chart explaining each

b. A life committed to the Good Shepherd finds these needs, these "wants", satisfied!

2. Survival

a. Jesus says, "I know your physical needs… you commit to the kingdom, and I’ll take care of you"

3. Safety & Security

a. Jesus says, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age"

4. Social Needs -- Belonging

a. Jesus says, "Love one another as I have loved you"

5. Self Esteem -- Recogni-tion

a. Jesus says, "I will not forget how hard you have worked for me and how you have shown your love to me by caring for other Christians, as you still do."

6. Self Actualization

a. Jesus says, "Follow me… I have a job for you"

7. He meets other needs like

a. love

b. security

c. peace

d. purpose

e. forgiveness

f. eternal destiny

C. Let me suggest one other thing… This is a positive af-firmation statement as well.

1. "I shall not be in want"

2. We are programmed to be dissatisfied

3. Our economy is built on consumption

4. The media says to us with all its power and influ-ence, "WE have what you need"

5. This Psalm positively af-firms our faith: We find our satisfaction in God.

6. "Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the LORD will never lack any good thing." -- Psalm 34.10 (NLT)

II. THE GOOD SHEPHERD POSTURES US FOR REST

"He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul"

A. Anyone here tired?

1. We are a nation of chroni-cally tired people

2. We don’t get enough sleep

3. We do too much

4. We teach our children to do the same

5. We keep going, going, going

B. And sometimes God just says to us, "Sit down. Relax. Rest."

1. We get too busy

a. too busy to pray

b. too busy to play

c. too busy for family

d. too busy for friends

e. too busy for faith

2. We can’t keep adding onto our already full plates

a. What’s important… really?

b. Who gets our lefto-vers? Our family? Our health? Our God?

3. And God will sometimes set us aside; make us sit still; so we can rest and recreate

a. And listen.

b. And recharge.

c. And reenergize

4. But just like a child, we don’t like that

a. We fidget and squirm

b. We cry and complain

c. We fight the very thing we need

C. Real rest and peace are found in God alone.

1. "This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the cross-roads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’" -- Jeremiah 6.16

2. "Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”" -- Matthew 11.28-30

3. Jesus knows how much we can take better than we do, and sometimes steps in and says, "OK. That’s enough. Sit down and rest for awhile."

III. THE GOOD SHEPHERD POSITIONS US FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

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