Guide My Shepherd Is the Lord: The Timeless Message of the 23rd Psalm

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Sheep are prone to follow the crowd along the well worn path which causes it to quickly turn into a worthless rut with no nourishment. But a good shepherd will lead his sheep down a different path. This is the advantage that Covenant kids get by being shielded from the garbage of the world. This is the benefit we get by Christian fellowship. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Just like Paul wrote in Romans 8: If God is for us, who can be against us? Is that your attitude? Is your attitude one of confidence in God and His shepherding care?

If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left. Lot took the small view and trusted what he could see. Abram trusted God and trusted His care and provision. Are you like Lot? Are you complaining and grumbling?

Are your eyes on the area around Sodom and Gomorrah? Are you more focused on what is immediate and worldly in gratification? These lines are perhaps most quoted near the time of death or trouble. The imagery is that of a shepherd taking his sheep from the lowlands to the high summer pastures. The journey is necessary as the sheep pass through the valleys between their normal pastures.

It is in these valleys that wild animals lurk and flash floods can quickly create dangers.

A good shepherd also uses the rod to get the attention of disobedient and unruly sheep. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? We should draw great comfort that we have a Loving Shepherd that rules over His flock and protects with His All-powerful might! Yes, we will fear our Shepherd, but we will reverently fear Him as a loving and caring Shepherd. Commentators stumble over this next verse — it almost seems that David has switched imagery from that of a sheep to a banquet.

Believe in God; believe also in me. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? How can we know the way? No one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus, the great Shepherd has gone to prepare a place for us. He has literally gone to 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Do you rest confident in that fact? That Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us? This world is NOT all there is?

Because the Lord is My Shepherd I will not fail! Every true Christian can be confident that they will arrive safely in heaven, the place of final, full blessing!

More in this issue / April 13, 2009

And that my friends is the real lesson of Psalm We have the Great Shepherd who has provided salvation for His sheep. He will make sure the sheep get to the great banquet of heaven — that is sure! Jesus applied the imagery of this Psalm to Himself! He intends for His sheep to apply to themselves. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. The Good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep and because of His work they are secure! Jesus is NOT a hired servant, but the owner of the flock who purchased us with His own precious blood. It is through faith in Him who shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins that we are identified with His flock — faith in Him as our Savior brings us all the benefits of His saving and shepherding work.

Psalm 23:1 "The Lord is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want"

Our shepherd has not shirked the task of preparing green pastures and providing refreshing waters for us The key to living as a contented Sheep is to know the will of the Shepherd:. Just as the Psalm says: Just like sheep we do things OUR way. Then we expect the shepherd to bless it.

But that is NOT the way to become a contented sheep.

Psalm 23 the Lord is My Shepherd

The truly contented sheep follows the shepherd and trusts HIS provision. The Lord is My Shepherd. Subscribe to copy text Sermon Tone Analysis. Ps 23 Psalm 23 is perhaps one of the most memorized or best know texts of the Bible. And who is this Shepherd? This imagery of God as shepherd is not just a whim of David This imagery is repeated in the NT: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol 52 pg The owner of sheep take great stock in them and often sheep are bought with a great price.

Notice the things that the Great Shepherd provides for us: To this scene of rest David add the statement: The reference to being led in "paths of righteousness" refers primarily to the efficiency and grace of the shepherd. A good shepherd will know the best path—perhaps not the shortest or the easiest, but the securest. Here's how the New Living Translation puts it: As another psalm says of God, "He saved them for his name's sake, that he [God] might make his mighty power to be known" The valley to which the psalm refers actually exists and is called the Shadow of Death.


The Biblical audience would have been aware of it as a dark and dangerous trek. Predators, thieves, and murderers hid in its shadowy areas. But the psalm claims not only safety while walking through the valley, but fearless comfort while doing so, because God is right there. The good shepherd leads because that's what a shepherd does. And God leads because that's what He does. This psalm brings assurance that God supplies what will lead us to sustenance, in an atmosphere where we can confidently rest.

It appears that David took this approach, providing strong leadership as he felt God nurturing him. Feeling comfort from the image of a "rod and staff" can seem like a stretch. Yet each tool comforts and protects in unique ways. The rod, short and blunt to fend off attackers, also serves to count the sheep and examine their fleece for parasites. The staff is long and slender, often with a crook at the end; it serves as a guide to keep a sheep from falling or to actually retrieve one that has fallen. The staff's disciplining offers comfort—the control of love, God's love. To recognize that, figuratively speaking, the staff belongs to the Shepherd, to God, lifts off a sense of personal responsibility—or a dependence on a human organization—to save us from falling off the narrow road.

It's something tangible to lean on. Think of the psalm in two parts: Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: These verses remind us that in God's presence, we're befriended and comforted, safe from our enemies, however and wherever they appear. And how interesting to have a table prepared "in the presence" of one's enemies. According to the New Interpreter's Bible, in ancient times a man could find safety by simply touching an ally's tent—his enemy could watch but not come near.

Then, right there in complete safety, a feast would be provided. The host would reverence his guest by anointing him with a mixture of olive oil and myrrh; in addition to its soothing effect after a difficult, hot journey, a beautiful fragrance would fill the place. And the anointing cup would remain full and running over. The original Hebrew word that's translated in the final verse as follow has the primitive root "to run after.

Here the enemies are present but have been rendered harmless, while God is in active pursuit" Vol. A number of translations, including the Tanakh and the New Living Translation, use the word pursue instead of follow. Rather than being pursued by an enemy, the promise is that good will pursue the Psalmist and each of us —providing whatever is needed. As the psalm concludes, we remain in God's house. Eternally we remain in that consciousness, as the guest of God. We hope you enjoy the content that has been shared with you.

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