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The Good Shepherd

Scripture Passage: 
Psalm 23:1-6
Attached audio files: 

INTRODUCTION: One of the most powerful biblical pictures of Jesus Christ is as our Shepherd. The Father is identified as a Shepherd in the Old Testament (Psalm 80:1; Isaiah 40:11). The Messiah is prophesied to be the Shepherd to come (Genesis 49:24; Ezekiel 34:23-24; Zechariah 11:16: Zechariah 13:7). In the New Testament, Jesus is identified as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14), that Great Shepherd of the sheep (Hebrews 13:20), the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls (1 Peter 2:25), and the Chief Shepherd who shall appear (1 Peter 5:4). Here in Psalm 23, we see Him as the Good Shepherd who cares for the sheep.

  1. HE FEEDS THE SHEEP (Psalm 23:1-2)
    1. His Provision Is Personal (Psalm 23:1) – “my shepherd.”
      1. He is “The LORD” – compare Exodus 12:3-5.
        1. A lamb (Exodus 12:3)
        2. The lamb (Exodus 12:4)
        3. Your lamb (Exodus 12:5)
      2. He personally cares for His sheep – John 10:14.
        1. He knows His sheep.
        2. He is known of His sheep.
        3. Note: The Jewish people, when out of fellowship with the Lord, were described as sheep having no shepherd (1 Kings 22:17; Matthew 9:36).
    2. His Provision Is Sufficient (Psalm 23:1) – “shall not want.”
      1. Double meaning of want
        1. To lack in basic needs (Deuteronomy 15:7-8); this is how the word is commonly used in scripture.
        2. To desire that which is not provided; absence of this kind of want is also supplied by our Shepherd, but is commonly referred to as contentment in scripture (Philippians 4:11-13).
      2. Our Shepherd supplies our needs (Psalm 34:10; Psalm 37:3-4; Psalm 84:11).
      3. Our Shepherd satisfies our longings (Colossians 2:9-10; 1 Timothy 6:6-9).
      4. Note: David’s lack of want is based solely upon the fact that the Lord is his Shepherd. Had the Lord not been his Shepherd, he would have wanted as any other individual would.
    3. His Provision Is Satisfying (Psalm 23:2) – “maketh me to lie down.”
      1. We find rest (“lie down”) in our Shepherd (Matthew 11:28-30).
      2. We receive provision (“green pastures”) from our Shepherd (Isaiah 49:9-10).
      3. Note: Just as the Lord “restoreth” the soul, He is also a Shepherd who “restoreth” physically with “green pastures” and “still waters.”
    4. His Provision Is Peaceful (Psalm 23:2) – “beside the still waters.”
      1. Anything other than “still waters” could prove dangerous for sheep. Sheep could feel safe pasturing next to these waters.
      2. The Lord provides peace for His people.
        1. His is our peace (Ephesians 2:14) as the God of peace (Romans 15:33).
        2. We have peace with God (Romans 5:1).
        3. We have the peace of God (Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15).
  2. HE LEADS THE SHEEP (Psalm 23:3)
    1. To Restoration – “restoreth my soul”
      1. A renewal of strength (Isaiah 40:31)
      2. A renewal of the inward man (2 Corinthians 4:16)
    2. To Righteousness – “the paths of righteousness”
      1. By the leading of our Shepherd (John 10:3)
        1. Into the land of uprightness (Psalm 143:10)
        2. With the wisdom of God (Proverbs 8:20)
      2. For His name’s sake (Psalm 31:3); Note: The Lord often works for His own name’s sake.
        1. He will not forsake His people for His name’s sake (1 Samuel 12:22).
        2. He pardons iniquity for His name’s sake (Psalm 25:11; Psalm 79:9).
        3. He leads His people for His name’s sake (Psalm 31:3).
        4. He delivers for His name’s sake (Psalm 106:8).
  3. HE PROTECTS THE SHEEP (Psalm 23:4)
    1. Through the Deepest Trials
      1. Through the valley of death (Job 10:21-22; Job 24:17; Luke 2:29); Note: It is thought that the Jews understood this practically as the road to Jericho (consider the parable of Luke 10:30-37). It is a narrow road at points, and one that would have been dangerous for a shepherd and his sheep.
      2. Without the fear of evil (Psalm 3:4-6; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 46:1-2; Psalm 118:6; Isaiah 41:10; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9); Note: Fear (except the fear of God) and faith conflict. One cannot possess both at the same time.
    2. By His Continual Presence (Joshua 1:9; Hebrews 13:5) – “for thou art with me”
      1. Regardless of what might befall the believer, there is safety in His presence.
      2. Perhaps this was the same consideration of Moses (Exodus 33:15).
    3. By His Balanced Care
      1. The comfort of God’s care
      2. The means of God’s comfort
        1. The rod of correction (Hebrews 12:6-11)
        2. The staff of deliverance (Exodus 12:11; 1 Samuel 17:40)
        3. The word comfort means strength that can be carried with you. Understanding this demonstrates that both God’s deliverance and His chastening is meant to provide strength for the believer.
  4. HE BLESSES THE SHEEP (Psalm 23:5-6)
    1. In the Presence of Enemies (Psalm 23:5)
      1. He prepares a table (Psalm 31:19; John 10:9).
      2. He blesses in times of affliction (Psalm 3:1-6).
    2. By the Anointing of God (Psalm 23:5)
      1. The anointing of the head with oil (Psalm 45:7; Psalm 92:10; Isaiah 61:1, 3)
      2. The running over of the cup (Psalm 133:1-2)
    3. In the Days of Our Lives (Psalm 23:6)
      1. Goodness shall follow (Exodus 33:19; Psalm 27:13; Psalm 65:11).
      2. Mercy shall follow (Psalm 25:7).
      3. All the days of your life (Philippians 1:21)
    4. In the House of the Lord (Psalm 23:6)
      1. To dwell in the house of the Lord (John 14:1-3)
      2. To dwell with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

CONCLUSION: It was the utmost sense of praise for David to claim the LORD as his Shepherd. To do so was not only an exaltation of the LORD, but it was also a statement of humility for David. Just as his sheep depended upon him for their every need, he needed the Lord and was not ashamed to say so.

Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 25:22

For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.