Summary: God cares for his church as a shepherd cares for his flock. Using Psalm 23 we will look at some of the insights into the loving care of God.
“The Shepherd Psalm”
November 6, 2005
Intro: Today we are going to look at how God cares for his church as a shepherd cares for the flock. We are going to look at a very familiar passage and some simple insights into the loving care of God.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:1-6 (NLT)
David understood what it meant to be a shepherd. He understood that it meant great personal sacrifice of comfort and safety. There are many lonely times as a shepherd. WE know from 1 Samuel 17:34-36 that David had killed a lion and a bear as a shepherd. He also endured cold nights and wild animals to protect his flock.
Today we want to look at some aspects of this psalm to encourage us in the fact that Jesus, our Messiah is also our shepherd.
I. Who is the Shepherd?
David is making a declaration of who his shepherd is. He is voicing amazement to think that the God of the universe is the one overseeing his life.
Phillip Keller notes this:
“If we pause to reflect on the person of Christ—on His power and upon His achievements—suddenly like David we will be glad to state proudly, ‘The Lord—He is my Shepherd.’” Phillip Keller
A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23
A shepherd is totally responsible for the care and the protection of his sheep. It is a daily, non-stop job.
Jesus notes that when we allow him to be our shepherd, he takes on the role wholeheartedly.
"I assure you, I am the gate for the sheep," he said. "All others who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. Wherever they go, they will find green pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:7-11 (NLT)
Jesus notes that he is the provider and protector of the flock.
We should be constantly amazed to think that the creator of all things, the messiah, the true God is so personal and intimate with us.
“To meditate on this I frequently go out at night to walk alone under the stars and remind myself of his majesty and might. Looking up at the star-studded sky I remember that at least 250,000,000 x 250,000,000 such bodies—each larger than our sun, one of the smallest stars have been scattered across the vast spaces of the universe by his hand. I re call that the planet earth, which is my temporary home for a few short years, is so minute a speck that if it were possible to transport our most powerful telescope to our nearest neighbor star, Alpha Centauri, and look back this way, the earth could not be seen, even with the aid of that powerful instrument.
All this is a bit humbling. It drains the “ego” from man and puts things in proper perspective. It makes me see myself as a mere mite of material in an enormous universe. Yet the staggering truth remains that Christ, the creator of such an enormous universe of overwhelming magnitude, deigns to call Himself my Shepherd and invites me to consider myself His sheep—His special object of affections and attention. Who could better care for me?” Phillip Keller
A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23
We should never fail to realize the vastness of who it is that watches over us.
II. The Care of the Shepherd
God is not only our shepherd, but he is our constant source of provision.
“He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” Psalm 23:2-3 (NLT)
The shepherd provides rest and refreshment for his sheep.
“Green Meadows”= good food and comfortable rest
“Quiet Waters”= refreshment
An interesting fact about sheep is they can actually survive for months without drinking. They can get by on the dew on the ground. However, when they become thirsty, they will drink form anything if the shepherd does not watch over them. They will drink from polluted waters and running streams which can prove fatal.