Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, leads and cares for His sheep.
In this unit of Bible study, we will survey some of the key psalms of David (73 of the 150 psalms are attributed to David). Because the psalms are one of the most read and treasured portions of Scripture, they are routinely published along with copies of the New Testament. The psalms are used by individuals and corporately, devotionally and for instruction, read as literature and sung as songs. The psalms are an amazingly rich cross section of God‘s revelation of himself to his people, and of their responses to Him. There is no better place to start an exploration of “Selected Psalms of David” than with the theme of God, the Good Shepherd, leading His people.
Question: Why do you think God so often in Holy Scripture represents Himself as a Shepherd to His people? God is like a Shepherd to His sheep, the most ultimate caregiver to the most helpless creatures. Many times he describes His children as sheep because that’s exactly the way He desires us to live. When we learn to look to God as our shepherd, depending and relying on Him for everything, life will be much easier.
THE LORD IS OUR SHEPHERD
A. Care of a Shepherd
Psa 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
…….What I am about to say is going to make you laugh. But when I read this scripture I can easily compare it to the relationship that I have with my dogs. I obviously could never love any dog the way God loves His people, but they love me unconditionally because I am there sole provider. They lay around all day long when I’m not home (I’ve literally watched them on security cameras). But when I get home they wait at the gate with complete anticipation, knowing that I’m about to let them out. Why? Because I am their EVERYTHING! Why? Because without me they would starve. Without me they would have no fulfillment of companionship. Without me they would have no one to do what they enjoy the most, fetch and swim! Without me they would have no purpose because I am their greatest joy! I wonder what would happen if we waited on the Lord with that type of desire, just to spend a part of the day with Him face to face, Spirit to Spirit.
Psa 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
…….That green pasture is a resemblance of life and peace. For sheep, a green pasture with a still source of water (still and calm) is the most vital means for food! Think about the Nile river. It flows straight through the deserts of Egypt and still produces growth and vegetation. That’s the provision of God for His children. Under the care of the shepherd we will never go hungry!
Psa 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
…….Restoration of the soul is sometimes a daily must. Living in this flesh we will always fight battles. But His constant reminding that we must live in righteousness brings the realization of the true possibility of living a life of righteousness. His path of leading is a grip of love that keeps us oh so close!
Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
…….If you’ve never experienced the fear of death, I dare to say that you cannot understand His peace in the midst of it, but oh what a peace He brings! When the physicians tell you it’s not possible, and He steps in beyond the thought of coincidence and makes a way, you’ve been through the valley of the shadow of death! When depression creeps in because of the walls of fear seem closer than ever, and then you feel His gentle but strong hand place a shield around you that cannot be penetrated, that’s the rod and staff! His weapons are mighty for pulling down strong holds!
B. God is My Host
Psa 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
…….David experienced this peace in the presence of enemy (1 Samuel 27) when he fled from King Saul to join up with the Philistines, the forever enemy of God’s people. He proved himself to be loyal and God provided protection by people who never should have been at peace with him.
Davids cup was full in such a way that there was always enough for those around those around him! When David went in to the land of the Philistines, he took 600 men with him! Apparently he stayed so blessed that others around him were blessed as well!
Psa 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
…….Though King David failed horribly at times, God still showed his mercy and kept him close to His presence all of his days.
THE LORD CARES FOR US
A. Days of the Blameless
Psa 37:18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
Psa 37:19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
…….We have witnessed it many times, when people have followed the Lord and been sustained and even prospered. And there have been the ones who have walked away and lost it all. Even though this scripture is referring to a time of famine, it would be easy to agree that a life without God is famine. It scares me to the core to even imagine a life without God’s leading and provision!
B. Days of the Wicked are Numbered
Psa 37:20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
Psa 37:21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
Psa 37:22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
…….In contrast to the righteous, the days the ungodly have in this world are limited, and they have no life with God After death-“the wicked shall perish” (v. 20). Instead of stability and persistence, everything for the wicked is marked by instability and are temporary. Like the flowers of the field, they are here one day and gone the next. They will either be consumed by their riotous living, or the laws of the land will bind them to captivity. Many times in the Old Testament are stories of either Gods enemy or God’s unfaithful people who were removed from His blessed and Holy lands because of evil ways.
THE LORD ESTABLISHES THE RIGHTEOUS
A. Blessings of the Godly
Psa 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
…….Just as it states in Psalm 23:3 “he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”, He will not lead us the wrong way. God never has and never will make himself look like anything but righteousness.
Psa 37:24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
…….Another scripture of mercy here. When our trust is in the Lord, even when we humiliate ourselves and it seems that others have turned their back, He will always continue to hold our hand. Some of us need to really grasp that. Too much of the church are worried more about what others think rather than what God thinks, that’s a big reason why people leave and never come back. God will not give up on you!
Psa 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
Psa 37:26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
…….This was a testimony in not only David’s life, but others around him that have dwelt with the Lord. Even the times he had failed and God’s rebuke was painful, He never left him without. David’s life testimony was Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. David knee where God was because he continually sought for him.
B. Responsibilities of the Righteous
Psa 37:27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
Psa 37:28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
Psa 37:29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
Psa 37:30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
Psa 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
…….Walking with the Lord brings great responsibility, and that is walking in His righteousness. V. 28 says the seed (offspring) of the wicked shall be cut off. Not only does it set the course for our eternity, but our children’s as well. But, the Righteous, those who follow the leading of the Lord, shall not only inherit the land but live there forever.