Summary: This message addresses Psalm 23 from a historical perspective.
The Lord Is My Shepherd
The title of my message this morning is “The Lord Is My Shepherd.” Although I delivered a message on Psalm 23 in March of 2007, this is not the same message. I want to make that clear to those of you who were members back then. Although some of the content will be the same, where I am going with this message is different from the last time you heard it. This message comes out of some struggles I’ve had this week and will serve as a foundation for several messages to come in the next few weeks. Just so you know I have had the type of week this week where I had to remind myself several times that the Lord is my shepherd. I laid awake at night thinking of the importance of this knowledge. Some of the things I had to deal with took my mind to a place where I was starting to think “I” had to work something out but the Spirit of God brought me back to the reality that regardless of what I faced, He was my shepherd. As I stated before, the other reason for this message is that it will serve as the foundation for several messages that will follow pertaining to the names of God. David did a great job through Psalm 23 of introducing us to several of the attributes of God from which several of His Hebrew names derived. David was a shepherd and understood fully what the job entailed and thinking on this he concluded that God was his Shepherd. He understood fully what it meant to take care of sheep and the care and attention that were necessary to do the job right. He speaks to the love that a shepherd has for his sheep and how that love is demonstrated in how he cares for them. As I reflected on this Psalm this week during my midnight hours I was comforted with the gentle reminder that I have a shepherd watching over me and understands everything that is happening around me. Let me set the stage for you so that you can see in your mind’s eye the role of the shepherd as it relates to the sheep which will make Psalm 23 clearer and next week we will begin with the first name of God.
I. Sheep and Shepherd
Psalm 23 comes from David’s experience as a shepherd and one who spent the early part of his life in the field with sheep. When David wrote this, he understood what he was talking about from a shepherd’s viewpoint. Remember what I have shared with you previously that sheep are generally stupid. I am not saying this as an insult to sheep, but it is a statement of fact. Because sheep are “stupid” they are willing to follow their shepherd, but only their shepherd, and depend solely upon him. Sheep are also timid. For example paper blowing in the wind will cause them to flee and storms will send them into a panic. If they get scared they will drown in a stream of water without fighting or burn to death in a fire without trying to run away. They are the classic example of what it means to be paralyzed by fear. Physically, if a sheep is tipped on their backs they cannot get up and will die in that position because of how their bodies are designed. But they love their shepherd and will only follow his/her voice. They will not under any circumstance follow the voice of another shepherd. This is how David described himself in his relationship with God. He saw himself as a stupid sheep needing a shepherd to guide and lead him. Imagine this accomplished man of war who had successfully won many battles by the hand of God saying that he was a timid sheep who could be paralyzed with fear. I am glad to acknowledge in my relationship with God that I am a sheep! Now let’s examine the shepherd’s role. Turn with me to John the tenth chapter.