Summary: This is the final message in a series that takes a fresh look at Psalm twenty-three. This message examines the benefits of following the Lord Our Shepherd.
Are you a patient person? Do you find it easy to wait when you are anticipating something? If you are like me anticipation often causes my patience to be in short supply. Maybe it is human nature or a product of living in an instant gratification culture. Whatever the reason, we would prefer to have it now rather than having to wait for it. For each of us the “it” is different but the preference to have “it” now is the same. In this final verse of Psalm twenty-three David looks at the result of continuously following the Shepherd. Some of the results are immediate but others we will have to wait for. David makes the transition from what the Shepherd has done to what the Shepherd will do. This entire psalm has painted a picture of what a privileged position it is to be in the care of a loving and caring Shepherd. I know that this series has challenged many of the traditional views of Psalm 23. However, regardless of how we look at this beautiful work the final verse gives the same message. “It is all worth it.” Regardless of how difficult the journey is the hand of the Lord’s blessing remains on His sheep. We take hope from the promise that we will dwell in His house forever. So let’s prepare to tie everything together as we make our way through this final verse.
I. A picture of sheep under the care of a conscientious shepherd.
A. Remember that David is writing this entire psalm from the standpoint of a sheep.
1. He is reflecting on the entire year’s activities of the flock.
2. The winter and spring months spent in the pen on the ranch and the summer and fall months spent enjoying the tablelands.
3. As the Shepherd cares for their sheep they develop great affection and devotion for their sheep. The bond between the shepherd and his sheep is strong.
4. The care that the sheep received throughout the year has resulted in them completely trusting their shepherd.
5. Sheep that are well taken care of will follow their shepherd wherever he leads them.
B. The sheep are a picture of health and contentment.
1. In the very beginning we established that you could determine how good the shepherd was by looking at the sheep.
2. The sheep thrive because they are under responsible and loving care.
3. The sheep are well fed and are free from disease and parasites.
4. Having such complete care causes the sheep to be content. They have no desire to have their situation change.
5. They have no reason to fear because the shepherd has proven himself time and time again. Sheep under a bad shepherd will seek opportunities to change their situations.
C. The management of the shepherd determines how beneficial the sheep will be for the Land.
1. A flock of sheep that is mismanaged can literally turn lush pasture into a vast wasteland.
2. A flock of well managed sheep will prove to be of great benefit to the land.
a. Their manure is the most beneficial and balanced of any type of domestic livestock.
b. No other livestock will eat such a variety of different plants and weeds.
c. The sheep’s habit of always seeking the highest spots causes the fertility of the lower pastures to be spread to the higher less productive spots.
3. In ancient writing sheep were referred to as “those of the golden hooves” because of the way they could benefit the land.
4. A well managed flock of sheep can clean and restore a piece of ravaged land as no other livestock can.
II. Understanding what David is trying to communicate about God.
A. Reminding ourselves of what David has already said about God.
1. He provides spiritual refreshment and strength. (verses 2-3)
2. He provides us with guidance. (verse 3)
3. He assures us that He is always with us. (verse 4)
4. He provides us with protection. (verse 4)
5. He has gone ahead of us and has mapped out a plan for our lives. (verse 5)
6. He always has His hand of blessing on His sheep. (verse 5)
B. The blessings that God promises in this life.
1. We have the assurance that whatever we face in this life God’s goodness and mercy will always be with us.
a. Goodness is God’s blessing.
b. Mercy is God’s forgiveness and grace.
2. We need to understand the significance of this statement. This is promise of God’s provision and His willingness to take away our sins.
3. God’s nature dictates that He always treats His sheep with goodness. God’s character dictates that He is always merciful.
4. The bottom line is that we will never experience anything different than whom and what God is.