Summary: Second in a series on Shepherding.

Sermon for 5/27/2001

Psalm 23

The Shepherd Psalm


A well-known actor had come to town and to the delight of everyone was giving public recitations of outstanding literary pieces. Among the recitations he gave was the 23rd Psalm. His presentation was flawless. Everyone was impressed. However, at the gathering an old saint of God was recognized who had been known to recite the 23rd Psalm at times. Upon the friendly prodding of the people, and the consent of the actor, he was finally coached into giving his version too. As all eyes were fixed upon him, with deep feeling and emotion he began, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside still waters…” On and one he continued emphasizing each personal pronoun as his own until he finished the great psalm. As he sat down everyone was visibly moved, including the actor. Without hesitation the actor exclaimed, “I know the psalm, but this man knows the shepherd!” Do you?


A. Last week we talked about shepherds and sheep.

B. David was a shepherd. However, he knew that he had a shepherd, the Lord.

C. What is the secret to a happy life?

D. (Phil 4:12 NIV) I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Phil 4:13 NIV) I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Thesis: The secret to a happy life is found in this psalm. Let’s find this secret.

For instances:

I. The Secret of a happy life (23:1-3)

A. Its roots in a magnificent spiritual relationship. Vs. 1

1. Not lacking in needs.

2. Utter contentment in the shepherd’s care.

3. Contentment with God should be one of the characteristics that make a Christian stand out!

4. The wicked always want, but the righteous never.

B. Its results in a magnificent spiritual reality. (1-3)

1. First, God leads His sheep into rest. (Vs. 2)

a. Our hearts are not at rest, until they rest in Thee.

b. There is no contentment in the things of the world.

1. Study, knowledge.

2. Pleasure

3. Amassing possessions, money

4. Power

5. Popularity, friends

6. Awards, doing good, career.

7. Man is never satisfied. (Eccl 6:7 NIV) All man’s efforts are for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied.

c. Can’t get no satisfaction. (Eccl 2:23 NIV) All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.

d. However, with God, we are satisfied. God gives us rest.

1. (Psa 62:1 NIV) A psalm of David. My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.

2. (Psa 62:5 NIV) Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.

3. (Psa 91:1 NIV) He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

4. (Mat 11:28 NIV) "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Mat 11:29 NIV) Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

5. Make him your shepherd and he will give you rest for your souls. Plan of salvation.

e. The Good Shepherd:

1. Shares His life with Us

2. Gives His life for Us

3. Puts His life in us.

2. God guides us into work (3)

a. Life is not a place for the sheep to lie down in, but a road for them to walk on.

b. Rest is to make us fit for work, and work is to sweeten the Lord’s rest.

c. It is not good for our Christianity to be simply a rest; it is better to seek first to do the duties of Christ and then to seek His rest and strength.

d. Joy in God is the source of our strength for the work. To work for God is the continuation of our joy. Cannot stay in rest. Eventually, the rest will be taken away.

e. Work of righteousness must follow the restoration of the soul.

1. (Eph 2:8 NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- (Eph 2:9 NIV) not by works, so that no one can boast. (Eph 2:10 NIV) For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

2. We work not for the assurance of salvation, but because of our salvation.

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