The LORD is My Shepherd Psalm 23

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1 Message for THE LORD'S DAY EVENING, March 18, 2018 Christian Hope Church of Christ, Plymouth, North Carolina by Reggie A. Braziel, Minister Message 7 in Greatest Chapters of The Bible Sermon Series The LORD is My Shepherd Psalm 23 This series of messages on the Greatest Chapters of The Bible would not be or complete if I were to leave out a message on this great chapter we are studying tonight. I'm talking about the 23 rd Psalm. The 23 rd Psalm is one of the most familiar...most loved... and most recited passages in all the Bible. In this beautiful Psalm you can find comfort and reassurance for virtually every circumstance we may encounter in our pilgrimage here on earth. * When you are in a time of need and you are worried about where the money or the resources are going to come from...read THE 23RD PSALM. * When you are so tired and weary you don't think you can go on, and you desperately need rest for your mind, body, and spirit... READ THE 23RD PSALM. * When you have sinned against GOD and failed so miserably that you don't see how GOD could possibly love you and forgive you...read THE 23RD PSALM. * When friends have turned their back on you...when enemies are out to get you...when people you trusted have failed you...read THIS 23RD PSALM. * When the doctor gives you bad news about your test results... when one of your loved ones is dying or has died...read THIS 23RD PSALM. * When you are wrestling with doubts about what lies beyond the grave...read THIS 23RD PSALM.

2 In this beautiful Psalm our wants and needs are satisfied...our soul and spirit is refreshed...our anxiety and worries are calmed...our dread and fear of death is set at ease...and our hope of eternal life is reaffirmed. ******************* As you can see at the top of your chapter heading this 23 rd Psalm was written by David; most likely during that time when he was running for his life from King Saul, and was living in the forest of Hareth. (I Samuel 22) When you look closely at the personal tone of this Psalm it is obvious the Holy Spirit inspired David to write these words to comfort himself in his time of great distress. And because these words are inspired by the Holy Spirit they continue to be a source of great comfort to us today to help us through our own times of distress and trouble. And no doubt, this is one reason why this Psalm is so precious and dear to us. Well, let's read this beautiful Psalm and then I want to point out SIX TRUTHS we find in these verses. PSALM 23:1-6 (NKJV) 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name s sake. 4 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. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

3 Now let's look at those six truths... Truth #1: The LORD My Shepherd KNOWS ME (v.1a) v.1a The Lord is my shepherd When you break this statement down word by word you can clearly see that our the LORD is not some distant...detached... impersonal GOD that is far, far away; but rather He is a close, intimate, personal God. 2. Notice David refers to Him as, The LORD. Now we know that Jehovah God is Triune... He is God the Father,, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. So when David begins this Psalm with these words, The Lord to whom specifically is referring? He is referring to God the Son. Illustration: I saw a sermon on the 23 rd Psalm in a book written by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon. And he entitled his sermon: The LORD Jesus Christ Is My Shepherd. That is who David is referring to when he says, The LORD. He is referring to GOD the Son...he is referring to The LORD JESUS CHRIST! In John 10 Jesus refers to Himself as The Good Shepherd. And throughout that chapter Jesus describes the close, intimate relationship He has with His sheep, which is you and me. 3. David says, The Lord IS... He doesn't say, The LORD was or The LORD will be......he says, The LORD IS. David is stating this as a bold declaration of truth. He doesn't HOPE the Lord is his shepherd. He doesn't THINK the Lord is his shepherd. He doesn't WISH the Lord was his shepherd. He says, The LORD IS.

4 4. Then notice those two words: my Shepherd. The LORD is MY SHEPHERD. Here David is acknowledging his FAITH and TRUST in Christ...and his LOVE and AFFECTION for Christ... and his DEPENDENCE upon Christ. 5. This wasn't just David's truth, it is our truth also. Say with me: The Lord is my Shepherd. The Lord Jesus Christ is my Shepherd! 6. The Lord my shepherd KNOWS ME! President Trump doesn't know me. Governor Roy Cooper doesn't know me. No famous athletes or celebrities know me. But the Lord My Shepherd knows me. And the Lord, your Shepherd knows you too! Psalm 139:1-4 (New Living Translation) 1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. That same Psalm tells us the LORD even knew us before we were born. (vs. 15,16) Matthew 10:30 tells us the LORD even has the very hairs of our head numbered. 7. So this is the first great truth we find in this 23 rd Psalm, The LORD, my Shepherd KNOWS ME. Now here is our second truth...

5 TRUTH #2: The LORD my Shepherd PROVIDES FOR ME (vs. 1-2) 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 1. There is a very special bond of dependence between sheep and their shepherd. Sheep obviously cannot tell tell the shepherd what they need. -The sheep can't say, Hey, we're getting hungry over here, we sure could use some green grass. -The sheep can't say, We're thirsty, where does a sheep go to get some good drinking water around here? The sheep have to trust in the Shepherd to provide their every need. The sheep have to trust that the Shepherd knows what they need...and when they need it...and that he will provide their every need at just the right time. 2. Don't you think that if a shepherd will provide everything his sheep need, that THE LORD OUR SHEPHERD WILL PROVIDE EVERYTHING WE NEED? 3. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 that the Lord makes sure that the birds of the air have something to eat; and He clothes the lilies of the field in beauty. So if the Lord takes care of little birds and little flowers, why would we ever worry or doubt that the LORD will always provide our every need, when we need it? 4. The LORD is my Shepherd, I SHALL NOT WANT. believe that? Do you truly Do you trust that the LORD will never leave you in want of money...in want of food...in want of clothing...or in want of anything necessary for you to live your life each and every day? The LORD my Shepherd will PROVIDE FOR ME.

6 Now here's our third truth... TRUTH #3: The LORD my Shepherd will RESTORE ME (v.3) 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name s sake. 1. There are many characteristics that set a sheep apart from other animals. For one thing, they are one of the dumbest animals in the animal kingdom. Sheep tend to wander off, and get stuck in bushes or thickets, and eat poisonous plants that make them sick or kills them. Sheep are also incapable of defending themselves. Sheep have poor depth perception which causes them to be afraid of moving water...shadows...and tree branches blowing in the wind. And unlike a dog, if a sheep ends up on its back, it cannot roll over and right himself without someone helping him. 2. As you know, the Bible compares you and me to sheep. Like sheep, we often do some pretty dumb things, like wander away from the shepherd. And sometimes we get ourselves stuck in the briers of sin, or we partake of sinful pleasures the Bible warns us to stay away from. Like sheep, we too have very poor depth perception and often we fall into the dangerous waters of compromise and we are easily spooked by the moving shadows of things going on around us in the world. And like sheep, we sometimes fall and wind up flat on our backs and we can't seem to right ourselves. 3. And these are things ALL of us do, not some of us, ALL OF US! For we all sin and come short of the glory of God. Like sheep, we all wander, we stray, we stumble, we fall, we do some pretty stupid things. And when those things happen, the LORD doesn't cast us aside, He restores us! Meaning, He restores us...he forgives us...he helps us off our backs and helps us get back on the paths of righteousness.

7 The LORD, my Shepherd KNOWS ME. The LORD, my Shepherd PROVIDES FOR ME. The LORD, my Shepherd RESTORES ME Now here's our fourth truth... TRUTH #4: The LORD my Shepherd GUIDES ME (v.4) 4 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. 1. When David talks about the valley of the shadow of death he is using common lingo spoken by shepherds. One of the jobs of a shepherd is to guide his sheep to new grasslands once they have stripped one area clean of grass. To get his sheep from one pasture land to the next, the shepherd would often have to lead his sheep through narrow gorges and crevices in the mountains. These narrow passage ways posed many dangers. There was always the possibility the sheep could be attacked by packs of wolves or a mountain lion. There was the danger that rock slides would crush the sheep to death. There was the danger the sheep could stumble and fall to their deaths down a deep ravine. There was the danger one of the sheep could be bitten by a poisonous snake. And because these journeys through these narrow gorges posed grave danger to the sheep, the shepherds referred to these narrow passage ways as the valley of the shadow of death. The shepherd never abandoned his sheep in the valley of the shadow of death. The shepherd never said to his sheep, Listen up sheep! This is as far as I go! You're going to have to travel through the valley of the shadow of death by yourselves. No the shepherds never did that! The good shepherd would go before his sheep and travel through the valley first so he could then safely guide his sheep through the valley. And the sheep were comforted by his presence.

8 2. David faced danger and death many times in his life. When he was a young boy taking care of his father's sheep he fought off lions and bears. (I Samuel 17:34) Of course we are very familiar with the account of David going up against Goliath the Philistine giant armed only with a slingshot and five stones. (I Samuel 17) And remember I told you earlier that David likely wrote this 23 rd Psalm when he was running for his life from King Saul who had already tried to kill him with a spear two times. David must have been thinking of all those dangerous and potentially deadly circumstances when he wrote this 4 th verse.. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; FOR YOU MY SHEPHERD,, are with me; Your rod and staff they comfort me. The rod was the Shepherd's weapon of protection. The staff was the Shepherd's instrument of guidance. 3. The LORD our Shepherd has already gone before us through the valley of the shadow of death. And right now He is on the other side of the valley in the presence of His heavenly Father. And when the time comes for us to walk through the valley of the shadow of death ourselves, or when one of our Christian loved ones must walk through that valley, we have nothing to fear, because the LORD our Shepherd will protect us and guide us every step of the way. The LORD my Shepherd KNOWS ME The LORD my Shepherd PROVIDES FOR ME. The LORD my Shepherd RESTORES ME. The LORD my Shepherd GUIDES ME. This brings us to the fifth truth, which is...

9 TRUTH #5: The LORD my Shepherd SUSTAINS ME (v.5) 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 1. David was the warrior king. In fact, in I Chronicles 28 that GOD forbid David from building the temple because he was a warrior. 2. As David writes this fifth verse perhaps he is reflecting upon his time on the battlefield. He's thinking about all those times that he and his men had to eat their meals in a hurry, with great anxiety, fearing an attack from the enemy while they were eating. 3. But here in verse 5 we hear great courage in David's words. David has so much confidence that the LORD his SHEPHERD will sustain him, its as though he can sit down at a table on the battlefield and eat his meal in the presence of his enemies with absolutely no fear. 4. As Christians, we have enemies. Satan is our enemy! He roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The world is also our enemy! The world is watching us Christians. They want to see us fail! They are watching our every move so they can mock us and accuse us. 5. But the LORD our Shepherd will sustain us against our enemies! 6. When David says, You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over he is talking about God's endless supply of blessings. God blesses us, and blesses us, and keeps on blessing us until we think He can't possibly bless us any more, and yet He does! 7. Its as though when take a drink from the cup of God's blessings God refills the cup to overflowing before we even have a chance to set the cup down!

10 The LORD my Shepherd KNOWS ME. The LORD my Shepherd PROVIDES FOR ME. The LORD my Shepherd RESTORES ME. The LORD my Shepherd GUIDES ME. The LORD my Shepherd SUSTAINS ME. And this brings us to our sixth and final truth and that is... TRUTH #6: The LORD my Shepherd SAVES ME (v. 6) 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord, Forever! 1. David knew there was no where he could go but what God's goodness and mercy wouldn't follow him. Whether he was hiding in the forest of Hareth (Huh-reeth)...or the cave of Macpelah David knew no matter where he went God's mercy and goodness would follow him all the days of his life, and that when his life was over he would go to live with the LORD his SHEPHERD forever! 2. The same thing is true of you and me. You and I can never outrun or hide from the goodness and mercy of GOD. His goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life. *On good days and bad days, His goodness and mercy will be there. *On happy days and sad days, His goodness and mercy will be there. *On days of loneliness, days of sorrow, days of defeat, days of discouragement, days of pain and suffering, days of failure, days of loss, days of disappointment, and days of depression, the LORD'S goodness and mercy will follow us! And because the LORD our SHEPHERD laid down His life for us, we can leave this world with that glorious hope that we will go to dwell in the house of the LORD forever!

11 CONCLUSION Perhaps you came here tonight carrying a heavy burden of discouragement. Maybe things have not been going well lately at home, or at work, or in your relationship with a family member. Perhaps you are just beat down and worn out with life and don't know how you are going to face tomorrow. Tonight this beautiful 23 rd Psalm has reminded us that JESUS CHRIST IS MORE THAN SUFFICIENT TO MEET ALL OUR NEEDS IF WE WILL JUST TRUST IN HIM AND PUT OUR FAITH IN HIM. The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want!

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