Summary: Haven, Highway and Happiness. The three H’s of Psalm 23
Field Dalling 23-02-03
We are going to have a baptism later in the service where Kelly is about to make a start on her Christian pilgrimage.
And so I would like, this morning to have a look at one of the Psalms that has been a fantastic source of strength to many Christians.
Some years ago a famous actor was giving an after dinner speech. He asked his audience if there was any famous poem that they would like him to recite. There was a silence.
The actor agreed, on one condition: that the
clergyman should also recite the Psalm. The clergyman reluctantly agreed.
The actor recited the 23rd Psalm and received a tumultuous applause.
At the end, the actor stood up and said:
"Do you know the difference between my version of the 23rd Psalm and his?
I know the psalm but this man know the Shepherd".
There is so much in the 23rd Psalm, that I couldn’t do justice to it even if I spoke for an hour on it. It’s all right, Joy I am not planning to talk for an hour!!
So I would just like to draw your attention to three aspects this morning, which I hope will spur you to meditate further on the Psalm later on today.
1. Haven of God. Ps 23:1-3a
2. Highway to God Ps. 23:3b-4
3. Happiness with God Ps. 23:5-6
My first H is Haven of God - Ps 23:1-3a
1.1 "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want"
"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep."
At Easter we were reminded how Jesus died for us - his sheep - to reconcile us with God. He gave his life of his sheep.
The Psalm reminds us that when we come to Jesus as our Shepherd, we can trust him totally.
1.2 He makes us to lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside the still waters He restores my soul
As a society, we have lost touch with the agrarian society of David’s day (almost 4000 years ago!).
Story: There was a survey done a few years ago. Urban children were asked where milk came from. The most popular answer was from milk bottles - they had no idea that milk came from cows!!
Sheep feed best in green pastures.
The better the grass, the better the fleece of the sheep - and the better the quality of lamb meat.
Sheep are also notoriously finicky animals. They will not drink from running water. The Shepherd has to bring them to still waters to drink.
Jesus our Good Shepherd provides for all our needs - the quiet waters for us to draw strength from.
When I was working for a firm of patent agents in the Strand, I used to enjoy going down over lunchtime to the Catholic Church in Kingsway to get away from the pressures of the job.
For me that church was the still waters where I could get my soul refreshed during the bustle of the working day.