Summary: If the Lord is my Shepherd, He touches my life in five wonderful ways.
Summer Psalms #3 - The Shepherd Psalm
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - June 10, 2009
*There are very few words in the Bible more well-known than these. Millions going through grief have found great comfort here.
*You have probably heard me say that this Psalm meant so much to me when my mother passed away 15 years ago. It was the summer of 1994, and God was merciful to us in a lot of ways. My Mom was only sick for a short while. After having some trouble swallowing, she went to the cancer doctor in mid-June. Mom was diagnosed with cancer on July 1st, and went to Emory in Atlanta for surgery on July 18th. What was supposed to be a 4 or 5 hour surgery turned into a 13 hour marathon, and my mom basically never woke up again.
*After 2 weeks in the ICU at Emory, she passed away in her sleep on Aug. 1st. One of the great blessings of that summer was the way we were treated by the people over at Emmanuel Baptist Church. They were so gracious to let me spend as much time as possible with my mom. I would drive over on Monday, and come back on Friday to be able to preach on Sunday. One couple even gave me plane tickets to save me from driving that long way. Altogether, I was in Georgia 5 weeks that summer.
*On the Friday before my mother died, I was about to drive back here. And somehow I knew that I would never see my mother again in this world. I went in to pray with her one last time, and basically I prayed the words of this Psalm: “Lord, we know that You are our Shepherd. . .”
*Up to that point there had been no response whatsoever from my mom since her surgery. But when I finished that prayer, God gave her the grace to smile at me and squeeze my hand. I have always been convinced that was a miracle from God. And 3 days later, my mother passed away peacefully in her sleep.
*What a Scripture, what a song, what a Savior, what a Shepherd! “The Lord is my Shepherd.” I am quite sure that most of us here tonight can say that.
1. And if the Lord is my Shepherd, He provides for me.
*In vs. 1-3, the Good Shepherd provides for my every need.
(1) First, He provides an eternal relationship with God. David said, “The Lord is MY Shepherd.” I belong to Him, and He belongs to me, -- that’s a relationship. David didn’t just know about the Lord. He knew the Lord in a personal way. And that’s what Jesus Christ wants for all of us today. By turning to Jesus and trusting in Him, by receiving Him as our personal Lord and Savior, we get a relationship that will last forever. We get the best relationship we can ever have, a relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2) But the Good Shepherd also provides rest. In vs. 2, David said, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures.” We need more rest. James Merritt points out that Americans are working longer and sleeping less than at any other time in our history. A CNN poll said that 59% of all Americans would like to slow down and relax more, and a Harris Poll said we have 8.5 hours less leisure time than we did just ten years ago. According to other surveys, only 28% of American adults get eight hours of sleep a night. The average is about 6 ½ hours, and 1/3 get 6 hours or less. Drowsiness has become a major problem in this country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that drowsiness causes 38,000 deaths a year, and is directly related to over 100,000 motor vehicle crashes. (1)
*We need physical and emotional rest. Most of all, we need spiritual rest, and the Lord will give you rest. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)
(3) The Good Shepherd also provides refreshment. In vs. 2, the Good Shepherd “leads me beside the still waters.” Have you ever been thirsty? Maybe a little, but real thirst is dangerous. It makes us desperate. It is deadly. But the Good Shepherd leads me beside refreshing waters.
(4) In vs. 3, He also provides restoration. David said, “He restores my soul.” The word picture in the original language is very strong. It means, “He brings me back from the point of death. He causes my life to return.” The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ will restore your soul.
(5) But He also provides righteousness to His sheep. In vs. 3, David said: “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” There is no way we can be righteous on our own. None of us is good enough to get to Heaven on our own. But the Good Shepherd loves us anyway, and He gave His life for us. Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins and rose again from the dead to give eternal life to all who trust in Him. So 2 Cor 5:21 tells us that God the Father made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. It’s not our righteousness that takes us to Heaven. It’s His righteousness. It’s not our goodness. It’s His amazing grace.