Lord The Shepherd


Psalm 23:1-3 (New Living Translation).Share Audio.A psalm of David.The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that 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.The Lord is My shepherd; I shall not ask for more for he giveth me what I need. He allows me to rest in green meadows while leading me by still waters giving me strength for all I need while guiding me down proper paths bringing rewarding honor to his name.The Lord is my ashepherd; I shall not bwant. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he aleadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of arighteousness for his bname’s sake.What is the message of Psalm 23 1?Psalm 23 reminds us that in life or in death — in times of plenty or want — God is good and worthy of our trust. The psalm uses the metaphor of a shepherd’s care for his sheep to describe the wisdom, strength and kindness of our God. May 2, 2021.Psalm 23 – The LORD Is My Shepherd and My Host.Like many others, this beloved psalm bears the simple title A Psalm of David. Most account it to be a psalm of David’s maturity, but with vivid remembrance of his youth as a shepherd. Charles Spurgeon wrote, “I like to recall the fact that this psalm was written by David, probably when he was a king. He had been a shepherd, and he was not ashamed of his former occupation.”.“It [Psalm 23] has charmed more griefs to rest than all the philosophy of the world. It has remanded to their dungeon more felon thoughts, more black doubts, more thieving sorrows, than there are sands on the sea-shore. It has comforted the noble host of the poor. It has sung courage to the army of the disappointed. It has poured balm and consolation into the heart of the sick, of captives in dungeons, of widows in their pinching griefs, of orphans in their loneliness. Dying soldiers have died easier as it was read to them; ghastly hospitals have been illuminated; it has visited the prisoner, and broken his chains, and, like Peter’s angel, led him forth in imagination, and sung him back to his home again. It has made the dying Christian slave freer than his master, and consoled those whom, dying, he left behind mourning, not so much that he was gone, as because they were left behind, and could not go, too.” (Henry Ward Beecher, cited in Charles Spurgeon).“Millions of people have memorized this psalm, even those who have learned few other Scripture portions. Ministers have used it to comfort people who are going through severe personal trials, suffering illness, or dying. For some, the words of this psalm have been the last they have ever uttered in life.” (James Montgomery Boice).A. The LORD as Shepherd sustains.1. (1) A declaration and its immediate result.The LORD is my shepherd;I shall not want.a. The LORD is my shepherd: David thought about God, the God of Israel; as he thought about his relationship with God, he made the analogy of a shepherd and his sheep. God was like a shepherd to David, and David was like a sheep to God.i. In one sense, this was not unusual. There are other references to this analogy between the deity and his followers in ancient Middle Eastern cultures. “In all Eastern thought, and very definitely in Biblical literature, a king is a shepherd.” (Morgan).ii. It is also a familiar idea throughout the Bible that the LORD is a shepherd to His people. The idea begins as early as the Book of Genesis, where Jacob called the LORD the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel (Genesis 49:24).· In Psalm 28:9 David invited the LORD to shepherd the people of Israel, and to bear them up forever. Psalm 80:1 also looks to the LORD as the Shepherd of Israel, who would lead Joseph like a flock.· Ecclesiastes 12:11 speaks of the words of the wise, which are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.· Isaiah 40:11 tells us that the LORD will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm. Micah 7:14 invites the LORD to Shepherd Your people with Your staff…As in days of old.· Zechariah 13:7 speaks of the Messiah as the Shepherd who will be struck, and the sheep scattered (quoted in Matthew 26:31).· In John 10:11 and 10:14, Jesus clearly spoke of Himself as the good shepherd, who gives His life for the sheep and who can say, “I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” Hebrews 13:20 speaks of Jesus as that great Shepherd of the sheep, 1 Peter 2:25 calls Jesus the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls, and 1 Peter 5:4 calls Jesus the Chief Shepherd.· The idea of Jesus as the Good Shepherd was precious to early Christians. One of the more common motifs in catacomb paintings was Jesus as a shepherd, with a lamb carried across His shoulders.iii. It’s remarkable that the LORD would call Himself our shepherd. “In Israel, as in other ancient societies, a shepherd’s work was considered the lowest of all works. If a family needed a shepherd, it was always the youngest son, like David, who got this unpleasant assignment…Jehovah has chosen to be our shepherd, David says. The great God of the universe has stooped to take just such care of you and me.” (Boice).iv. “Saith Rabbi Joseph Bar Hamna, there is not a more contemptible office than that of a shepherd…. But God disdaineth not to feed his flock, to guide, to govern, to defend them, to handle and heal them, to tend and take care of them.” (Trapp).v. David knew this metaphor in a unique way, having been a shepherd himself. “David uses the most comprehensive and intimate metaphor yet encountered in the Psalms, preferring usually the more distant ‘king’ or ‘deliverer’, or the impersonal ‘rock’, ‘shield’, etc.; whereas the shepherd lives with his flock and is everything to it: guide, physician and protector.” (Kidner).b. The LORD is my shepherd: David knew this in a personal sense. He could say, “my shepherd.” It wasn’t just that the LORD was a shepherd for others in a theoretical sense; He was a real, personal shepherd for David himself.i. “A sheep is an object of property, not a wild animal; its owner sets great store by it, and frequently it is bought with a great price. It is well to know, as certainly as David did, that we belong to the Lord. There is a noble tone of confidence about this sentence. There is no ‘if’ nor ‘but,’ nor even ‘I hope so;’ but he says, ‘The Lord is my shepherd.’” (Spurgeon).ii. “The sweetest word of the whole is that monosyllable, ‘My.’ He does not say, ‘The Lord is the shepherd of the world at large, and leadeth forth the multitude as his flock,’ but ‘The Lord is my shepherd;’ if he be a Shepherd to no one else, he is a Shepherd to me; he cares for me, watches over me, and preserves me.” (Spurgeon).iii. Overwhelmingly, the idea behind God’s role as shepherd is of loving care and concern. David found comfort and security in the thought that God cared for him like a shepherd cares for his sheep.iv. David felt that he needed a shepherd. The heart of this psalm doesn’t connect with the self-sufficient. But those who acutely sense their need – the poor in spirit Jesus described in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3) – find great comfort in the idea that God can be a shepherd to them in a personal sense.v. Spurgeon said that before a man can truly say, “the LORD is my shepherd,” he must first feel himself to be a sheep by nature, “for he cannot know that God is his Shepherd unless he feels in himself that he has the nature of a sheep.” He must relate to a sheep in its foolishness, its dependency, and in the warped nature of its will.vi. “A sheep, saith Aristotle, is a foolish and sluggish creature…aptest of anything to wander, though it feel no want, and unablest to return…a sheep can make no shift to save itself from tempests or inundation; there it stands and will perish, if not driven away by the shepherd.” (Trapp).c. I shall not want: For David, the fact of God’s shepherd-like care was the end of dissatisfied need. He said, “I shall not want” both as a declaration and as a decision.i. “I shall not want” means, “All my needs are supplied by the LORD, my shepherd.”.ii. “I shall not want” means, “I decide to not desire more than what the LORD, my shepherd gives.2. (2) How the Shepherd sustains.He makes me to lie down in green pastures;He leads me beside the still waters.a. He makes me to lie down: The LORD as a shepherd knew how to make David rest when he needed it, just as a literal shepherd would care for his sheep. The implication is that a sheep doesn’t always know what it needs and what is best for itself, and so needs help from the shepherd.i. “The loveliest image afforded by the natural world, is here represented to the imagination; that of a flock, feeding in verdant meadows, and reposing, in quietness, by the rivers of water, running gently through them.” (Horne).b. To lie down in green pastures: The shepherd also knew the good places to make his sheep rest. He faithfully guides the sheep to green pastures.i. Philip Keller (in A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23) writes that sheep do not lie down easily and will not unless four conditions are met. Because they are timid, they will not lie down if they are afraid. Because they are social animals, they will not lie down if there is friction among the sheep. If flies or parasites trouble them, they will not lie down. Finally, if sheep are anxious about food or hungry, they will not lie down. Rest comes because the shepherd has dealt with fear, friction, flies, and famine.c. He leads me beside the still waters: The shepherd knows when the sheep needs green pastures, and knows when the sheep needs the still waters. The images are rich with the sense of comfort, care, and rest.B. The LORD as Shepherd leads.1. (3) Where the Shepherd leads and why.He restores my soul;He leads me in the paths of righteousnessFor His name’s sake.a. He restores my soul: The tender care of the shepherd described in the previous verse had its intended effect. David’s soul was restored by the figurative green pastures and still waters the shepherd brought him to.i. Restores has the idea of the rescue of a lost one. “It may picture the straying sheep brought back.” (Kidner).ii. “In Hebrew the words ‘restores my soul’ can mean ‘brings me to repentance’ (or conversion).” (Boice).iii. “‘He restoreth my soul.’ He restores it to its original purity, that was now grown foul and black with sin; for also, what good were it to have ‘green’ pastures and a black soul!” (Baker, cited in Spurgeon).b. He leads me: The shepherd was a guide. The sheep didn’t need to know where the green pastures or still waters were; all it needed to know was where the shepherd was. Likewise, the LORD would guide David to what he needed.c. In the paths of righteousness: The leadership of the shepherd did not only comfort and restore David; He also guides His sheep into righteousness. God’s guidance of David had a moral aspect.i. “They are thenceforth led in ‘the path of righteousness’; in the way of holy obedience. Obstructions are removed; they are strengthened, to walk and run in the paths of God’s commandments.” (Horne).d. For His name’s sake: The shepherd guides the sheep with an overarching view to the credit and glory of the shepherd’s own name.i. For His name’s sake: “To display the glory of his grace, and not on account of any merit in me. God’s motives of conduct towards the children of men are derived from the perfections and goodness of his own nature.” (Clarke).2. (4) The gift of the Shepherd’s presence.Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil;For You are with me;Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.a. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death: This is the first dark note in this beautiful psalm. Previously David wrote of green pastures and still waters and paths of righteousness. Yet when following the LORD as shepherd, one may still walk through the valley of the shadow of death.i. David used this powerful phrase to speak of some kind of dark, fearful experience. It is an imprecise phrase, yet its poetry makes perfect sense.· It is a valley, not a mountaintop or broad meadow. A valley suggests being hedged in and surrounded.· It is a valley of the shadow of death – not facing the substance of death itself, but the shadow of death, casting its dark, fearful outline across David’s path.· It is a valley of the shadow of death, facing what seemed to David as the ultimate defeat and evil.ii. Notably, David recognized that under the shepherd’s leading, he may walk through the valley of the shadow of death. It isn’t his destination or dwelling place. Like the Preacher in Ecclesiastes, David might say that all of life is lived under the shadow of death, and it is the conscious presence of the LORD as shepherd that makes it bearable.iii. This line is especially suggestive when we read this psalm with an eye toward Jesus, the Great Shepherd. We understand that a shadow is not tangible but is cast by something that is. One can rightly say that we face only the shadow of death because Jesus took the full reality of death in our place.b. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death: This line from the psalm – and the psalm as a whole – has proven itself precious to many a dying saint through the ages. They have been comforted, strengthened, and warmed by the thought that the LORD would shepherd them through the valley of the shadow of death.i. Near death, the saint still calmly walks – he does not need to quicken his pace in alarm or panic. Near death, the saint does not walk in the valley, but through the valley.ii. “Death in its substance has been removed, and only the shadow of it remains…. Nobody is afraid of a shadow, for a shadow cannot stop a man’s pathway even for a moment. The shadow of a dog cannot bite; the shadow of a sword cannot kill; the shadow of death cannot destroy us.” (Spurgeon).iii. “It has an inexpressibly delightful application to the dying; but it is for the living, too…. The words are not in the future tense, and therefore are not reserved for a distant moment.” (Spurgeon).c. I will fear no evil: Despite every dark association with the idea of the valley of the shadow of death, David could resolutely say this because he was under the care of the LORD his shepherd. Even in a fearful place, the presence of the shepherd banished the fear of evil.i. We might say that the shepherd’s presence did not eliminate the presence of evil, but certainly the fear of evil.d. For You are with me: This emphasizes that it is the presence of the shepherd that eliminated the fear of evil for the sheep. No matter his present environment, David could look to the fact of God’s shepherd-like presence and know, “You are with me” and “I will fear no evil.”.i. Significantly, it is at the dangerous moment pictured in the psalm that the “He” of Psalm 23:1-3 changes to “You.” The LORD as Shepherd is now in the second person.e. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me: The rod and the staff were instruments used by a shepherd. The idea is of a sturdy walking stick, used to gently (as much as possible) guide the sheep and protect them from potential predators.i. There is some debate among commentators as to whether David had the idea of two separate instruments (the rod and the staff) or one instrument used two ways. The Hebrew word for rod (shaybet) here seems to simply mean “a stick” with a variety of applications. The Hebrew word for staff (mishaynaw) seems to speak of “a support” in the sense of a walking stick.ii. Kidner notes: “The rod (a cudgel worn at the belt) and staff (to walk with, and to round up the flock) were the shepherd’s weapon and implement: the former for defence (cf. 1 Samuel 17:35), and the latter for control – since discipline is security.”.iii. Maclaren writes: “The rod and the staff seem to be two names for one instrument, which was used both to beat off predatory animals and to direct the sheep.”.iv. These instruments (or instrument) of guidance were a comfort to David. It helped him – even in the valley of the shadow of death – to know that God guided him, even through correction. It is a great comfort to know that God will correct us when we need it.C. The LORD as Host.1. (5) Blessing in the presence of danger.You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;You anoint my head with oil;My cup runs over.a. You prepare a table before me: Without departing from the previous picture of the valley of the shadow of death, David envisioned the provision and goodness given by the LORD as a host, inviting David to a rich table prepared for him.i. “Here the second allegory begins. A magnificent banquet is provided by a most liberal and benevolent host; who has not only the bounty to feed me, but power to protect me; and, though surrounded by enemies, I sit down to this table with confidence, knowing that I shall feast in perfect security.” (Clarke).ii. David gives a beautiful picture: table suggests bounty; prepare suggests foresight and care; before me suggests the personal connection.b. In the presence of my enemies: This is a striking phrase. The goodness and care suggested by the prepared table is set right in the midst of the presence of my enemies. The host’s care and concern doesn’t eliminate the presence of my enemies but enables the experience of God’s goodness and bounty even in their midst.i. “This is the condition of God’s servant – always conflict, but always a spread table.” (Maclaren).ii. “When a soldier is in the presence of his enemies, if he eats at all he snatches a hasty meal, and away he hastens to the fight. But observe: ‘Thou preparest a table,’ just as a servant does when she unfolds the damask cloth and displays the ornaments of the feast on an ordinary peaceful occasion. Nothing is hurried, there is no confusion, no disturbance, the enemy is at the door and yet God prepares a table, and the Christian sits down and eats as if everything were in perfect peace.” (Spurgeon).c. You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over: Despite the dangers about and the presence of enemies, David enjoyed the richness of his host’s goodness. He was refreshed by a head anointed with oil; his cup was over-filled.i. “Beloved, I will ask you now a question. How would it be with you if God had filled your cup in proportion to your faith? How much would you have had in your cup?” (Spurgeon).ii. “Those that have this happiness must carry their cup upright, and see that it overflows into their poor brethren’s emptier vessels.” (Trapp).2. (6) Blessing for the future.Surely goodness and mercy shall follow meAll the days of my life;And I will dwell in the house of the LORDForever.a. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: The host’s care brought the goodness and mercy of God to David, and he lived in the faithful expectation of it continuing all the days of his life.i. “Mercy is the covenant-word rendered ‘steadfast love’ elsewhere…. Together with goodness it suggests the steady kindness and support that one can count on in the family or between firm friends.” (Kidner).ii. “We are well escorted, with a Shepherd in front and these twin angels behind!” (Meyer).iii. “These twin guardian angels will always be with me at my back and my beck. Just as when great princes go abroad they must not go unattended, so it is with the believer.” (Spurgeon).b. And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever: The psalm ends with the calmest assurance that he would enjoy the presence of the LORD forever – both in his days on this earth and beyond.i. “In the Old Testament world, to eat and drink at someone’s table created a bond of mutual loyalty, and could be the culminated token of a covenant…. So to be God’s guest is to be more than an acquaintance, invited for a day. It is to live with Him.” (Kidner).ii. “While I am here I will be a child at home with my God; the whole world shall be his house to me; and when I ascend into the upper chamber I shall not change my company, nor even change the house; I shall only go to dwell in the upper story of the house of the Lord for ever.” (Spurgeon).(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword. com.Categories: Old Testament Psalms.Enduring Word.All Rights Reserved.View Non-AMP Version.© Copyright 2018 – Enduring Word | Site Hosted & Maintained.Psalm 23:1-3.NIV.The LORD Is My Shepherd.23.1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.CONTINUE READING…< Psalm 22.Psalm 23.Psalm 24 >.Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Psalm 23:1-3.Chapter Contents.Confidence in God’s grace and care.”The Lord is my shepherd.” In these words, the believer is taught to express his satisfaction in the care of the great Pastor of the universe, the Redeemer and Preserver of men. With joy he reflects that he has a shepherd, and that shepherd is Jehovah. A flock of sheep, gentle and harmless, feeding in verdant pastures, under the care of a skilful, watchful, and tender shepherd, forms an emblem of believers brought back to the Shepherd of their souls. The greatest abundance is but a dry pasture to a wicked man, who relishes in it only what pleases the senses; but to a godly man, who by faith tastes the goodness of God in all his enjoyments, though he has but little of the world, it is a green pasture. The Lord gives quiet and contentment in the mind, whatever the lot is. Are we blessed with the green pastures of the ordinances, let us not think it enough to pass through them, but let us abide in them. The consolations of the Holy Spirit are the still waters by which the saints are led; the streams which flow from the Fountain of living waters. Those only are led by the still waters of comfort, who walk in the paths of righteousness. The way of duty is the truly pleasant way. The work of righteousness in peace. In these paths we cannot walk, unless. God lead us into them, and lead us on in them. Discontent and distrust proceed from unbelief; an unsteady walk is the consequence: let us then simply trust our Shepherd’s care, and hearken to his voice. The valley of the shadow of death may denote the most severe and terrible affliction, or dark dispensation of providence, that the psalmist ever could come under. Between the part of the flock on earth and that which is gone to heaven, death lies like a dark valley that must be passed in going from one to the other. But even in this there are words which lessen the terror. It is but the shadow of death: the shadow of a serpent will not sting, nor the shadow of a sword kill. It is a valley, deep indeed, and dark, and miry; but valleys are often fruitful, and so is death itself fruitful of comforts to God’s people. It is a walk through it: they shall not be lost in this valley, but get safe to the mountain on the other side. Death is a king of terrors, but not to the sheep of Christ. When they come to die, God will rebuke the enemy; he will guide them with his rod, and sustain them with his staff. There is enough in the gospel to comfort the saints when dying, and underneath them are the everlasting arms. The Lord’s people feast at his table, upon the provisions of his love. Satan and wicked men are not able to destroy their comforts, while they are anointed with the Holy Spirit, and drink of the cup of salvation which is ever full. Past experience teaches believers to trust that the goodness and mercy of God will follow them all the days of their lives, and it is their desire and determination, to seek their happiness in the service of God here, and they hope to enjoy his love for ever in heaven. While here, the Lord can make any situation pleasant, by the anointing of his Spirit and the joys of his salvation. But those that would be satisfied with the blessings of his house, must keep close to the duties of it.Today’s Verse: Psalm 23:1-3.Don’t miss the meaning.Most people have at least heard of the 23rd Psalm. Many Christians can quote it. It is the Psalm where David says, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” It is a Psalm that comforts and calms our souls. Often it is read at funerals. President Bush read it to America after 9/11.However, because of it’s popularity, we can miss it’s meaning. It is somewhat like singing the old hymns in church. We sing them, but we don’t really often stop to take in the depth of their meaning. When I used to lead music in my dad’s church, I could look out at the congregation and the mouths were moving but the words of the songs were often not connecting with their hearts. Can we say we’ve worshiped if we just remotely sing? Or would it more appropriately be called “lip service”?The Psalm from the author’s eyes.King David is the author of this Psalm. In our world, today the majority of us don’t get the full meaning of this beautiful psalm because we fail to understand the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd of the Bible. But David knew it well. He was a shepherd before he was a king. In fact, when God sent the prophet, Samuel, to anoint David as king, David was out tending the sheep. So if we really want to understand the beautiful message of this psalm, we need to see it as David did. He knew what it means to shepherd sheep and when he became king of Israel, he learned what it meant to shepherd God’s sheep – the nation of Israel.All we like sheep.The Bible refers to us as sheep nearly two hundred times. However, it is not usually a compliment because sheep are smelly, stubborn, and prone to wander. They also are not the brightest animal on the block. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way.” (Isaiah 53:6). Like sheep, we are smelly with the filth and stench of sin in our lives. We turn our own way because we stubbornly think we know better than God. So we wander away from God and try to do life our way but then when we make a mess out of life we bleat like a lost sheep looking for the Shepherd to rescue us out of our mess.The Nutshell Take-away.If we were to sum up this Psalm in just one sentence it would be this: You can’t fully know and understand the Shepherd unless you are one of His sheep. Only once you enter into and have a relationship with the Shepherd can you understand that He provides, protects, and preserves His sheep. In the first three verses of Psalm 23, we find four things the Shepherd provides for His sheep.If we summed up Psalm 23 into just one sentence, it would be this: You can’t fully know and understand the Shepherd unless you are one of His sheep.The Shepherd Provides a Relationship.In verse 1, it says, “The Lord is my Shepherd. That’s a relationship. “The Lord” is the Hebrew word, “Yahweh” and it was first revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14 which is where Moses has his encounter with God at the burning bush. Moses asked, “Who should I say sent me.” God replied, “Tell them “I AM [Yahweh] has sent you.” So David is saying here, that “I AM” is “my” shepherd.Verb tense makes a difference.Notice that the verb is present tense, not past or future. It is right now in this moment that God is our shepherd – and you can say that in every moment of life. Shepherding wasn’t the job career that everyone signed up for. It was the lowest, unpleasant job. Sheep require a 24/7 shepherd. They couldn’t be left alone. So they’re had to be a shepherd on duty every moment, in every season, and in every kind of weather. Jesus is just that kind of Shepherd. He never goes off duty. In fact, He never clocks out and trades off with another Shepherd. So not only is He my Shepherd, He’s my only Shepherd. In Exodus 20:3, we find the very first of the Ten Commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before Me” and in verse 5 God says we are to have no other gods before Him because He is a jealous God. He will not share His place with anyone or anything else. If He is our Lord, there can only be one Lord on the throne.Pronoun choice creates a personal relationship.Let’s also not read too quickly past the pronoun choice David uses. He says that the Lord is my Shepherd. “My” is a possessive personal pronoun. Our Shepherd offers a personal relationship with Him. In the entirety of Psalm 23, David uses “my,” “me,” and “I” 17 times. Because He is with me 24/7 and because I am His creation, He knows me by name. He knows what tends to make me wander and where I can get off track. He knows when I’m hurt, wounded, or in trouble. My Shepherd knows when I’m spiritually hungry and thirsty. He knows when I’m anxious or fearful. And He knows when I need rest and peace. He is my Shepherd and He knows me personally. It’s a relationship.The Lord, Yahweh, I AM, is my Shepherd. “Is” is a present tense verb, so He is my Shepherd right now in this moment. And “my” is a possessive personal pronoun. He is my Shepherd and He knows me personally. It’s a relationship.The Shepherd provides Replenishment.Whenever we wander away from the Shepherd we are wandering away from the Bread of Life and the Living Water. We become spiritually hungry. Also, the further away we wander, the more tired we become and we need rest. But sometimes we can be right with the Shepherd and busy doing whatever the Shepherd asks of us and get tired too. Sometimes we are so busy pouring into other people that we need to take a moment like Mary did and sit at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to pour into us.Whenever we wander away from the Shepherd we are wandering away from the Bread of Life and the Living water.The second part of verse 1 says, “I shall not want.” That is the words of person who has been fully replenished by the Shepherd. If sheep are left to themselves, they can’t even find grass to eat or water to drink. They need a shepherd to lead them. They also need a shepherd to watch over them, because they really are not smart enough to sense when danger is near. Our Shepherd is also called the Bread of Life and the Living Water. In other Psalms, David calls Him a fortress and strong tower. And in another Psalm David talks about hiding in the shelter of His wings. So our Shepherd replenishes our spiritual hunger and thirst and He provides protection when we can’t see the danger traps that Satan would set out to ensnare us with. So if we’re feeling spiritually hungry and thirsty, we might be wandering too far from the shepherd. Or if we’re feeling anxious and afraid, we may have wandered too far from the Shepherd.If we’re feeling spiritually hungry and thirsty, we might be wandering too far from the shepherd. Or if we’re feeling anxious and afraid, we may have wandered too far from the Shepherd.The Shepherd provides Rest.Verse 2 of Psalm 23 says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” Us stubborn sheep often refuse to rest when we need to. We think we have to keep pushing – keep getting ahead – keep serving God – keep on, and on, and on like the Energizer Bunny. But even the Bunny’s batteries run out eventually. In the New Testament, Jesus empowered the disciples and sent them out to do ministry in His name. They returned excited, but also weary. In fact, they had been doing so much ministry that they hadn’t even had time to eat. Jesus said, “Come away with me to a deserted place and rest for a while.” (Mark 6:31) Our Shepherd knows when we need rest.He makes me lie down.Again, let’s point out the choice of verbs that David used in verse 2 of Psalm 23. The Shepherd didn’t invite the sheep to rest. The verse says, “He makes.” We are so stubborn that sometimes we have to be forced to slow down and rest. There are many us that for a while now have needed a slower pace in life. In this time of “social distancing” and “together at home,” we are getting a forced time of a slower pace of life. If you’ve been needing some rest, maybe the Shepherd is making you to lie down in green pastures for a while.in green pastures.If we are going to rest, then there are two things we need: a sense of safety and a comfortable place to lie down. Psalm 4:8 says, “In peace I will lie down to sleep, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” When a world-wide pandemic is around, it’s easy to become fearful, anxious, worried. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of sound mind. Fear comes from Satan and it keeps us bound up so that we are not effective for the Kingdom of God. But 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.” Our Shepherd is sovereign. He’s in control. We can trust Him with every single part of our lives. When we trust the Shepherd, we have no need of fear or anxiety. Whenever there is fear or anxiety in our lives, that’s an area where you have wandered away from the Shepherd.The other thing we need is a comfortable place to lie down. The Shepherd didn’t makes the sheep lie down on a hard, rocky place. He took them to a soft meadow of green grass. It is kind of like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. When she decided she needed a nap, she laid down on Papa Bear’s bed and it was too hard. Momma Bear’s bed was too soft. But Baby Bear’s bed was just right and so she fell fast asleep and slept so soundly she didn’t hear the bear family return home. The Shepherd will make us rest, but He knows we need the soft, green meadow that is just right – not too hard and not too soft.He leads me.Once again, I want to point out the choice of verbs that David uses. I find it interesting that David said the Shepherd makes us to lie down in green pastures, but He leads us beside still waters. So I meditated on these two verbs and asked why are we made to lie down in green pastures, but led to still waters. Sheep need water as much, if not more so, as rest. So with a little googling, I learned that sheep are afraid of moving water and they will not drink from it. So the Shepherd leads them to a still, quiet pool so they will drink. The Shepherd also has to make sure that the water they drink is safe to drink – that it isn’t polluted and full of parasites. How often do we wander away from the Shepherd and drink from waters polluted with the parasites of sin? We need the Shepherd to lead us so that the water we are drinking from is the pure water that comes from the Living Water.beside still waters.I don’t know about you, but when I sleep, I need “white noise.” Some people like to go to sleep with the sounds of nature, such as a rain storm or gurgling brook, or the ebb and flow of the waves of the ocean. I’ve tried all of those and I just end up getting up and down with trips to the bathroom. I’m also of an age where I have “personal summers” or “power surges” whatever you want to call it and so I sleep with a fan on. I also have an app on my phone called Abide where I can choose Bedtime Meditation stories based on Scripture. Without these two things, I have a hard time getting to sleep. My mind is constantly planning the next post, or planning the next ministry opportunity, or creating the next idea, or the next chapter in the next book. So these “background noises” help me focus my mind on Christ, my Shepherd, and He leads me beside the calm, still waters so that I can drift off to sleep.The Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures when we need rest but he leads us beside the still waters. We need to be led to the pure water of the Living Water so we are not drinking from water polluted by sin.The Shepherd provides Restoration.Sheep are careless, curious, and cantankerous. The are often in need of being restored. So we find in verse three that the Shepherd “restores my soul.” If we restore an antique piece of furniture, we bring it back to what it was originally like when it was first created. We revive it to it’s former state and renew it so it looks like new. When David wrote about restoring His soul, he was talking about repentance. Who else would understand the need of repentance more than a King who had been guilty of both adultery and murder? It is through repentance of our careless, curious, and cantankerous sins that we find restoration with the Shepherd and we are renewed and revived spiritually.Who else would understand the need of repentance more than a King who was guilty of both adultery and murder? It is through repentance of our careless, curious, and cantankerous sins that we find restoration with the Shepherd.Also, because sheep are prone to wander, they can easily become lost or find themselves in danger. They can fall or become a victim to a predator. Sometimes a sheep will roll over on its back, feet flailing in the air, and they are not able to roll back over again. This is called being “cast down.” When this happens gas builds up inside of them, cutting off their circulation in their legs, and they die within just a matter of hours. When the Shepherd finds a sheep that is cast down, he rolls it back over and lifts it up to its feet. He then straddles the sheep and begins rubbing it’s legs to restore circulation, while talking to it gently to try to calm it from its panicked state.The Shepherd Is Tenderly Calling.When we wander from our Shepherd and are rolling around in our sin, cast down, the Shepherd tenderly calls out our name. He picks us up and sets us back on our feet and restores us to the fold once more. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve strayed. A heart of repentance is all that’s needed to bring about restoration. And then, back in the fold, you’ll once again enjoy the personal relationship with the Shepherd, be replenished, find rest for your weary soul and the restoration of His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Is He tenderly calling for you today?The Shepherd tenderly calls us whenever we wander. A heart of repentance will bring about restoration so we can enjoy the personal relationship with the Shepherd, be replenished, and find rest. Is He tenderly calling for you today?What does Psalm 23:3 mean?David credits the Lord, his shepherd, with restoring or refreshing his soul. In Bible times, if a sheep became injured, its shepherd would treat its wounds until its good health returned. How often the Lord restores us to good spiritual health after the evil world system has hurt us, or, even more often, when we have hurt ourselves by failing to follow Him closely! When Peter relied on self-confidence to keep him faithful to the Lord, he failed miserably, but the Good Shepherd graciously restored him to spiritual health (John 21:15–19).Sheep were accustomed to following their shepherd in well-worn paths, but occasionally a sheep would stray from a safe path and become lost. Then the shepherd would leave the rest of the sheep in the custody of helpers and go searching for the lost sheep. Jesus, the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14), leads us in paths of righteousness, but we may wander from the chosen path. Then Jesus searches until He finds us and restores us. In Luke 15:3–7 Jesus told a parable about a shepherd who had one hundred sheep, but when one went astray, he searched for it until he found it. Then he laid it on his shoulders, brought it home, and summoned his friends and neighbors to celebrate its recovery with him.Context Summary.Psalm 23:1–3 extolls the blessings bestowed on David by the Lord, his personal shepherd. The scene is peaceful and personal. In John 10:11 Jesus identified Himself as the Good Shepherd. He does for His sheep what David describes in Psalm 23:1–3. He leads his sheep (John 10:3–4); guides them to pasture (John 10:9); restores their souls (Joh 10:10); and protects them (John 10:11–15).Chapter Summary.David celebrates the protection and guidance of God. Sheep guarded by a skilled shepherd are led to food and water, and protected from harm. In the same way, David praises God for giving him peace. The knowledge of God’s protection and provision are a great comfort. This psalm incorporates themes of supply, defense, assurance, and care from God

Author: J. Palmer

Living under the wings of God and the angels around me keeping me going and safe. Sharing the love of Christ.

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