Summary: A relevant series focusing on Psalm 23

Who’s Your Shepherd?

July 8, 2012

Psalm 23

Is there anything you want? Of course there is — Maybe you want a

new car new house new friends lose weight

taller want a better job financial success new clothes

NO debt more toys /gadgets peace in your life health

someone to care about you love and romance Confidence

rest for your weary soul and body

to believe God really loves you and died for you . . .

We can make a list that will never end of the things we want in our lives. Nobody is exempt from wanting. We all have needs, too, it just may be that we don’t like to admit them.

Today and for the next few weeks we’re going to take a look at the most famous of psalms, Psalm 23. We’re going to see what it says to our hearts that want and desire the Good Shepherd. There will be times where I’m going to take passages as a whole and other times, like today, where I am going to take verses word by word, just so we can really understand why this psalm touches our hearts so much.

The psalm is about a shepherd who cares for His sheep. That means we are supposed to be the sheep. So, why a shepherd and why sheep?

Did you know that in the Bible, God refers to His people, you and me, as sheep almost 200 times? Let me tell you it's not a compliment to be called a sheep. Why not eagles - majestic, swift and beautiful? Why not lions - strong, terrifying, fearless? No, God calls us His sheep.

To be compared to one is nearly an insult. A sheep is one of the dumbest animals. Have you ever seen a trained sheep in the circus? You'll see elephants, horses, bears, seals, even hippos, but not sheep. They're not smart enough to train. Sheep are also filthy. The fluffy white sheep you see on television didn't get that way on their own. Sheep will not and cannot clean themselves. The shepherd or his hired hands must do it for them. Not only are they dumb and dirty, sheep are utterly defenseless. They have no claws, fangs, or wings. They can't run fast or scare an enemy with a loud roar or spray a yucky scent at a predator. All they can do is bleat - baah, baah, baah.

Sheep are completely reliant on their shepherds. That right there should give us a clue about how we are supposed to relate to the Shepherd. If God calls us His sheep I wonder what He's trying to say?

So, let’s get into verse 1, what does “The Lord is my Shepherd” really mean?

Let’s start with the name of God. Why is God called LORD? What did David mean by that and how does that help us in our lives?

In Hebrew, when we call God by the name Elohim, it implies an impersonal, but mighty God. If we call God Adonai, or Master, it implies slaves to master relationship. But we are sheep to be cared for. If we call God — King, Rock, Fortress, Almighty, or Holy One, those can also be impersonal phrases. But this psalm is all about relationship.

The word LORD speaks of a personal relationship. David is referring to the personal God, a God who knows you and a God who you know. When Moses asked God what His name was, God told Moses His name was Yahweh. It looks like this in Hebrew.

Now, we’re going to have a very quick lesson in Hebrew, so you can understand the importance of what God said to Moses. In Exodus 3:14, this is how God answered Moses, I AM WHO I AM. Look at what God said.

And you will notice it is the only name of God which is entirely capitalized in the Bible. Look in any Bible and when you see God’s name referred to as LORD, it is always, always capitalized. Psalm 110:1 is a great example, as David says, The LORD says to my Lord.

So, we learn that the name LORD means God is a personal God, He seeks to have a personal relationship with us. This is important for us because we want and need God to be personal, we don’t want an impersonal and distant God. When Jesus refers to the disciples as friends, it demonstrates the personal relationship we can experience.

In Revelation 3, when Jesus said, 20 “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.” This invitation is not from an impersonal God, but from a God who seeks a relationship with you and I.

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