Summary: We should be thankful today because we have a Good Shepherd who provides for us in every way.
Text: Psalm 23
1. Illustration: A little boy offered up a Thanksgiving Day prayer for the family and prayed: "Dear God, this is Jimmy. Thank you for Thanksgiving and Christmas and all of the holidays. Thank you for the turkey and dressing and Mom and Dad and even for my little sister, even though some times she can be a pain. Thank you for books and TV and game boy. Thank you for loving us. Oh, yeah. And take care of yourself, God. Because without you, we’re sunk. Amen."
2. Most of us when we think of Thanksgiving visions of turkey come to mind, and shortly we’ll be having some. However, before we do, I want us to look at Thanksgiving through the eyes of a sheep
3. When it comes down to it, that is what we are, the sheep of the Good Shepherd. Our shepherd gives us:
a. Abundant Life
b. Secure Life
c. Blessed Life
1. Read Ps. 23:1-6
Proposition: We should be thankful today because we have a Good Shepherd who provides for us in every way.
Transition: We should be...
I. Thankful For Abundant Life (1-3)
A. The Lord Is My Shepherd
1. The psalms, like all Scripture, are inspired and given by God (2 Tim 3:16). And yet, each psalm originated with a human author as a prayer or praise to the Lord.
a. The psalms are diverse, composed as the responses of God’s people to him.
b. The psalms include laments, psalms of praise, wisdom, thanksgiving, reflections on God’s mighty acts, celebrations of God’s revelation, and worship (NLT Study Bible).
c. Yet no Psalm is as loved nor as recognizable as the 23rd Psalm.
2. This beloved Psalm begins with "The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need."
a. The first word of the psalm, "The LORD" (Yahweh), evokes rich images of the provision and protection of the covenant-God.
b. He promised to take care of his people and revealed himself to be full of love, compassion, patience, fidelity, and forgiveness (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM:Psalms).
c. He demonstrated this ability to care for his people in the wilderness.
d. Deuteronomy 2:7 (NLT)
For the Lord your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”’
e. He also demonstrated it later in the promised land.
f. Deuteronomy 8:9-10 (NLT)
9 It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills.
10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.
3. This first verse also refers to the Lord as our shepherd.
a. The sheep owner frequently tends the flocks himself , but more often he delegates the work to his children or relatives.
b. In such cases the sheep have good care because the keepers have a personal interest in the well-being of the animals.
c. The chief care of the shepherd is to see that the sheep find plenty to eat and drink.
d. That Yahweh is "shepherd" is consistent with the thinking of those in the ancient Near Eastern kings who saw themselves as shepherds of their people.
e. They saw their role as being responsible to provide protection and justice for their subjects.
f. Since this Psalm is written by King David and he states that Yahweh is his shepherd, he is in essence indicating that the Lord is also the King of Israel (Wilson, NIV Application Commentary: Psalms vol. 1, 431-432).
4. It is because of this personal interest that the Lord has for us that we can say, "I have all that I need."
a. The focus of the word want is not an indication that God will give us whatever we want, but rather that he will give us what we need. We know that Yahweh will give us whatever we need (Wilson, 432).
b. Psalms 37:25 (NLT)
Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.
c. This does not mean that if we ask God for a Corvette we are going to get one. God promises to take care of our needs.
5. David also says of Yahweh, "He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams."
a. Anyone who has ever been to the Middle East, seen film or pictures of the area, can see what powerful statements are packed into verses 2 and 3.
b. At best it is a land that is a dry, rocky set of hills covered with sparse and tough grass, and water sources are few, and even then, seasonal (Wilson, 432).