Summary: Every Christian should gladly follow the Lord because of 3 benefits listed in Psalms 23.
The Psalm of a Sheep
Intro. Old Preacher @benefit dinner. Attending the dinner was a renowned actor who was always asked to grace the gathering with his eloquent words before the meal was consumed. This particular time he chose to quote the 23rd Psalm. As he stood with an arrogant demeanor, he began to quote the ever so popular Psalm. When he finished, the people applauded and the actor sat down with a gleeful but yet pride filled disposition. Then, in the corner of the room, an old gray-headed, stately figure rose to his feet as the people hushed the gala. He blared, “ My name is Reverend Tom Rawlins, I am one hundred years old today. I would also like to say something if I may.” Obviously respecting the clergical position and the age of this meager, humble man, the people obliged. Reverend Rawlins gathered his senses for a moment, took a deep breath of air into his lungs and began. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” As he ended with the last verse, tears streaking his map-wrinkled face, he sat down. One could have heard a feather hit the floor and the only sounds heard was that of 300 people weeping to themselves. The actor was so embarrassed and appalled because he did not get such a response. He foolishly rushed over to the old preacher’s table and quickly attacked, “I have been acting and giving speeches for nearly 30 years and I have never had a response like the one I saw here today. I quoted the 23rd Psalm just as you did. What makes you so different than me?” The stately old preacher raised his eyes to the vibrant actor in reply, “Son, you quoted the 23rd Psalm and you know the 23rd Psalm, and you know the Psalm well, but, son, I know the Shepherd of the 23rd Psalm.”
Every Christian should gladly follow the Lord because of 3 benefits found in Psalms 23.
1. HE CONTROLS MY LIFE (VS. 2)
A. He Gives Me Rest - “maketh me to lie down”
B. He Gives Me Refreshment -“leadeth me beside the still waters”
C. He Gives Me Restoration - “He restoreth my soul”
NOTE: The shepherd would force his sheep to lie down to eat and drink that only that which was sufficient for them and their whole body was restored so that they could move through another wilderness.
ILLUSTRATION: The Word of God IS that sufficiency
APPLICATION: IS THE LORD IN CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE? HAVE YOU LET HIS WORD LEAD YOU THIS WEEK?
2. HE COMFORTS MY LIFE (vs. 4-5)
A. HE PROVES HIMSELF TO ME “thou are with me”
Note*** A Shepherd would take his sheep up a very steep cliff to travel over a mountain. The trail would only be about 2 ft. wide. If a sheep would lose his foothold he would slide into the Valley (Valley of Death) to his death. However, the shepherd starts in the rear of the line of sheep and speaks to each one of his sheep, comforting them that he is near and they have nothing to fear. (Jn. 10:27-28)
1.) With His Presence
2.) With His Power
B. HE PROTECTS ME “thy rod and staff…thou hast prepared a table”
1. A Rod of Protection – used as a club and a delivering tool
2. A Rod of Correction – used as a chastening tool
3. A table of Rejection - the shepherd would lay his coat, staff, club, and himself around an injured sheep being antagonized by other sheep so he could eat.
C. HE PROVIDES FOR ME “my cup runneth over”
Note*** The shepherd would bring his sheep to a watering well and water his sheep by pouring cool water into a hewn out stone cup (30 x 18 x 18). He would continue to pour it until the heat from the stone was gone and the sheep not only had an abundant amount of water but fresh, cool water.
Note*** “…thou annointest my head with oil….”
APPLICATON: When was the last time you blessed the Lord for correcting you and comforting you?
3. HE’S CONSTANT IN MY LIFE (vs. 6)
A. He’s Given Me His Reputation
(3c) “for His name’s sake”.
Note*** A Shepherd would sell his sheep at a market or to neighbors. Sometimes travelers would visit and ask who has good sheep to buy. Good sheep were identified by their health, their markings, and lack of blemishes. If a Shepherd was consistently selling good sheep, his reputation preceded him. Therefore, in fact, someone may even buy his sheep without inspecting them first.
B. He’s Given Me His Rewards (6) “goodness and mercy”
C. He’s Given Me His Residence “and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever”