Summary: The Lord is my shepherd and my king. Is He yours?
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD AND MY KING
Text: Psalm 23
A mom was concerned about her kindergarten son walking to school and he didn't want his mother to walk with him. She wanted to know that he was safe, yet give him the feeling that he had independence.
So she had an idea how to handle it. She asked a neighbor if she would please follow him to school in the mornings, staying at a distance so he wouldn't notice her. The neighbor said since she was up early with her toddler anyway, it would be a good way for them to exercise, so she agreed.
The next school day, the neighbor and her little girl set out following behind Timmy as he walked to school with another neighbor girl he knew. She did this the whole week.
As the two in front walked and chatted, Timmy's little friend noticed the same lady was following them as she seemed to do every day all week. Finally Timmy's friend said to him 'Have you noticed that lady following us to school all week? Do you know her?'
Timmy nonchalantly replied, 'Yeah, I know who she is.' So the little girl said, 'Well, who is she?' 'That's just Shirley Goodnest,' Timmy replied, 'and her daughter Marcy.'
Shirley Goodnest? Who is she and why is she following us?' 'Well,' Timmy explained, 'every night my Mom makes me say the 23rd Psalm with my prayers, 'cuz she worries about me so much. And in the Psalm, it says, 'Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life', so I guess I'll just have to get used to it!'
Psalm 23 is one of the most beloved Scriptures in all of God’s Word. Millions of people, some of them not even Christians, have memorized it, and use it when they need comfort and support. I have heard it read at funerals to help console those that are grieving. Preachers use it in the hospital to give peace to those that are suffering. The KJV of this scripture is so familiar to most people, that it almost seems like a crime to read it in any other version.
The problem with the Scripture being so familiar to us though, is that we often glaze over what it is actually saying to us. If we are not careful, we can become so familiar with what it says and completely miss what it means.
The title of this Psalm is merely, “A Psalm of David.” We know nothing about when it was composed, or what the circumstances were that inspired David to write it. We do know this however – David reveals some very intimate details about how God cares for us in this Psalm. David compares his Lord and Savior first with a shepherd, and then as a king.
Why would David compare his Lord with a shepherd? We know from scripture that David had been a shepherd himself in his youth, so he knew firsthand what it meant to be a shepherd. The first thing that David says about his Shepherd is “The Lord is MY shepherd; I shall not want.” (v. 1) David makes it personal. David was the king of Israel, and as their leader, he fulfilled the shepherd role for his people. But David was saying, “I may be your shepherd, but the Lord is MY shepherd.”
I know firsthand what David is saying here. As your pastor, I am to be a shepherd to this congregation. One of the problems that a pastor faces is that he has no pastor himself. Some pastors solve this problem by seeking out a friend or a mentor that is a pastor themselves. Sometimes, pastors need advice and support just like you all do from time to time. There are problems that pastors need to deal with that require a lot of wisdom and patience, and it is sometimes makes it easier if you have someone that you can go to for counseling. For me, I have some close friends that I sometimes talk to when I need help with something, but ultimately, the Lord is MY pastor. Just like David, He is my shepherd too. There have been times that I have gone to Him with things that I couldn’t tell anyone else, not even my wife or closest friends. I have asked Him for wisdom in dealing with things, and He has been there every time that I have gone to Him. The Lord is MY shepherd, and while I have been sent here to be a shepherd to this congregation, my job is to point you to the Shepherd of shepherds. I hope that He is your shepherd too.
David compares the Lord to a shepherd because of the way He cares for and provides for His people. He states that “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” (v. 2) First of all, He calms us. I am told that sheep are easily scared and when they are panicked they will not lie down to rest. There have been times in my life that I was able to rest in the Lord even in the midst of a trial. I remember the death of my grandfather. I was probably closer to my grandfather than any other person in my family. The first day after Christmas break my senior year of college, Dawn and my two best friends appeared in my apartment in Athens to share some bad news with me. My grandfather had had a heart attack and had died. Looking back on it, I must have been in shock. I remember leaving the apartment and it wasn’t until we got to Jackson that it finally sank in about what had happened. I broke down and panicked. But somehow, the Lord came on the scene, and I was able to gather myself the rest of the way home. I got to my grandfather’s house, and the entire family was there. Because my shepherd had calmed me and given me peace, I was able to help my family deal with the loss. Sure, it was a very difficult time, and I really miss my grandfather, but through the Lord’s care and provision, I was able to rest.