Summary: Dealing with fear and problems.
Sheep and Shepherds
Let me start by pointing out the obvious this morning. We live in a time when many and perhaps most people are engulfed with fear and anxiety. Some fear the future, they are concerned about what is going to happen. The future is full of possibilities and some are very good and others very bad. Others fear the past. They are upset at what has happened. What they have done and what others have done that has affected them. Then others fear the present. They don’t know how they are going to cope with the problems that they fact today. The ugliness the loss the daily circumstances which grip their soul and control their lives.
Let’s face it right now in our country thousands of people wake up with untold burdens and anxiety which they struggle to deal with one day at a time.
Are you one of theses people. Bearing your burdens, heavy burdens secretly?
Is it finances that put you on edge? Is it the political events that makes your heart beat fast?
Thousands of people each day wake up with untold burdens to bear and anxiety with which they must deal. Are you one of these? Bearing secretly a heavy burden?
The question that has been bothering me as I watch the news and talk to people is, “How does God want me to respond to anxiety/fear in my life?”
That is where our scripture comes in this morning. It is said to be written by this shepherd that made good and eventually worked his way up to be the King of Israel.
While it seems like David had many advantages that we don’t have it seems that he is just like us. He is tempted to worry about situations in his life. The Bible documents his sins and how he feels about them It describes how his father in law Saul tries to kill him. An yet with all his problems he describes how he overcomes sorrow and fear by trusting and rejoicing in God.
The 23rd Psalm is perhaps one of the best loved and most well known passages in the Bible. The words are comforting as we find the visual images to be something we can see in the theater of our minds. Many Christians read this passage in times of stress or sorrow. We hear it at funerals and people will refer to it when they are facing times of loss or hardship.
-- The 23rd Psalm begins with, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."
That is a simple statement of faith in the Lord and description of the relationship between the David and the Lord.
David is using a simple common description that any one of his day understood and saw all the time. We don’t really have the same understanding in our culture about the relationship of shepherd and sheep. Oddly David offers his insight from the view of the sheep.
Then he added, “I shall not want.”
That is a big thing to “not want.”
I want all the time. I want a meal, comfort, security, happiness, rain, sunshine….I want different stuff all the time.
When someone says, "I shall not want," I sit up & take notice.
Listen to these words by Jason Lehman:
It was spring. But it was summer I wanted - The warm days, & the great outdoors.
It was summer. But it was fall I wanted - The colorful leaves, & the cool, dry air.
It was fall. But it was winter I wanted - The beautiful snow, & the joy of the holiday season.
It was winter. But it was spring I wanted - The warmth, & the blossoming of nature.
I was a child. But it was adulthood I wanted - The freedom, & the respect.
I was 20. But it was 30 I wanted - To be mature, & sophisticated.
I was middle-aged. But it was 20 I wanted - The youth, & the free spirit.
I was retired. But it was middle-age I wanted - The presence of mind, without limitations.
Then my life was over, & I never got what I wanted.
This is an age of discontent and fear. Many people never seem satisfied & almost everybody wants more.
A little child wants more toys & more television time.
A teenager wants more freedom & more popularity.
Most of us adults want security, cheaper gas & more time.
Certainly as we age, we want more health, more friends, & more loyalty from our children and friends.
In this psalm David refers to himself as a sheep. Frequently in the Bible, human beings are compared to sheep.
Now that sounds nice, but surely you realize that is not necessarily a compliment, because sheep are said to be among the dumbest & dirtiest animals in the world.