Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 6 02/25/2007
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want Psalm 23:1
Let me ask you… Would you like to learn the secret to facing your untried to-morrows with calm confidence and hope?
Our text this morning is probably the most familiar passage in the literature of the world. More of you can quote it from memory than any other single passage in God's Word. If this Psalm could write its own biography, what a thrilling story it would have to tell! There is not an ocean it hasn’t crossed, no country it hasn’t visited, no road it hasn’t traveled.
These are the words of a man who has lived much and thought much, who has greatly sinned and has been greatly forgiven. The writer knows that has been lovingly sought out and redeemed! Isaiah 62:12 redeemed, Sought out
No matter what - in all his wanderings he was able to proclaim, The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
What an amazing discovery! Look at! He dares to claim God as his very own. He doesn’t say that the Lord is a Shepherd.
Having dared to claim God as his own, the writer’s next words are the most logical ever uttered.
It is the very epitome of common sense. If the Lord is my Shepherd, "I shall not want." This to him this was as natural as night following day!
We’ve all heard the expression, “money talks”, and perhaps that is true to some degree; but, in the presence of the deep wants of the heart, money is as useful as a screen door on a submarine.
What are some of the wants that our Good Shepherd supplies?
If the Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want for rest and refreshment. He is our satisfaction for the hungers and thirsts of our souls. "He makes me to lie down in green pastures." The sheep lie down because their hunger has been satisfied. They feel secure.
He that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.
Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
With the Lord as our Shepherd, we shall not want for leadership and guidance. He leads me beside still waters. This means he goes before us into our unknown tomorrow.
After the old geographers had mapped the known world, they wrote on the seas that lay beyond the confines of the known such words as these: "Here be dragons. Here be demons that devour men." But the author of the 23rd Psalm had a sure confidence. He believed that it was not dragons and demons that were waiting for us, but that God was there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall your hand lead me and your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:9
Whatever lies beyond today, we may be sure of this, that God is there. He goes before.
Not only does the Good Shepherd go before us, he gives us righteous guidance. He leads me in the paths of righteousness. We are in desperate need of such guidance!
How often we stand at the forks of the road not knowing which way to turn! When He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you. John 16:13
He restores my soul. This word restore has two possible meanings. It means to bring back to health and strength one who is sick. Then to restore means to seek that which is lost and to bring it back to the fold. For sure the writer here is speaking out of his own experience.
This year that is ahead need not be simply just another year. It can be a new year, new because we ourselves have become new. I know that to some this sounds like a lot of double talk, but some of you have given up hope of ever being anything different from what you are right now.
I am not saying that you are satisfied with the lean, drab lives that you are living, rather that you unfortunately see little chance of ever changing for the better.
A new year usually brings about the making of resolution after resolution, but never changing.
Resolves and re-resolves then we die the same. But here is one who stands in a world grown old and gray and shouts, Old things are passed away; behold they are become new. II Corinthians 5:17
With the Lord as our Shepherd we will not want for companionship and comfort in sorrow.
The Good Shepherd leads us in green pastures and beside the still waters. But sometimes the road changes suddenly from green pastures to wild rugged mountains. However, our Shepherd does not, nor will He ever forsake us in those dark and desperate hours. In fact in those dark shadows He draws closer to us. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me….
He not only walks with us in the darkness, He brings us through it. The Good Shepherd will not leave us in the dark valley. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. O’ man, O’ man, if we would just get this. The rod is a marking rod, signifying that we are branded as being the Lord’s. This speaks of coming under the rod and into covenant with God.
Finally, with the Lord as our Shepherd, we shall not want for a home at the end of the journey.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Now give yourself a shake and come to know that Jesus does not love us and lead us all through our pilgrimage here on earth only to forsake us in the end! There is a heaven to gain!
Jesus holds our hand when the greedy and muddy ditch that we call the grave reaches out its icy fingers! I for one refuse to believe that He who saved us is not able to keep us! I am confident, more than confident that when the shadows gather, Jesus being the Good Shepherd that He is, is going to lead us home; that where He is, we may be also. Somebody say Amen!