Monday, February 16, 2009

Psalm 23:1-4 The LORD is my Shepherd

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

Even 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.


In this Psalm, David uses an imagery which is very close to his heart. For he himself was a shepherd when he was a young boy.

The shepherd-sheep imagery is found in other parts of the Bible but the special contribution of this Psalm is its emphasis on the pronoun “my”. YHWH is not only the shepherd of the flock, we can claim him to be our very own personal shepherd as well.

The Essentials for a Sheep's Well-being
a) green pastures (that is a place to eat and rest)
b) refreshing and safe water
c) guidance (for the sheep is prone to go astray)
d) protection from harm

All of these essential needs are are provided by the Shepherd as shown in verses 2-4.

Application: From Sheep to Men
1. In this Psalm we learn that if the Lord is your shepherd, there will always be a green pastures for you. During periods of drought and absence of rain, when the green hills turn dry, do not despair. The Lord- your shepherd, has a green pasture for you.

2. When the brooks and the rivers run dry, do not grumble. Your thirst shall be quenched, for though the still waters are out of your sight, the Lord your shepherd shall lead you there.

3. When your heart which is prone to wander is tempted to go astray, incline your ear to the Shepherd’s voice. His word, his counsel is sufficient for you.

4. When you walk through the valley of the shadow of death… when you are in the most dangerous and life-threatening situations, thou shall not fear. For if the shepherd boy David was skillful enough to use his slingshot in striking down predators such as lions and bears, how much more will the Lord- our Mighty God deliver us from all harm.
For His Name's Sake

Our ultimate assurance of his care and attention is found in the last line of verse 3; “For His name’s sake".

What’s at stake is his glory. God will never allow anything that would diminish his glory. He would not allow anything that would damage his reputation. God would not allow anything that would stain his honor. His glory is the ultimate reason why He will make us lie down in green pastures and lead us to still waters. His reputation is the ultimate reason why he guides us. His honor is the ultimate reason why He will protect us. To the Shepherd be the glory!

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