One of the most popular passages in all of scripture is the 23rd Psalm. It is known by those who have a relationship with God, and those who do not, as words of great comfort, words describing a life of contentment.
When David says “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”, it causes us to sit up and take notice. We take notice, because we all struggle at times with discontentment.
The bible explains it this way: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way…” (Isaiah 53:6)(NIV) Matthew 9:36 says that “when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)(NIV) We need a shepherd.
Here, David declares his choice: “The LORD is MY Shepherd.” And through the remainder of this Psalm, he makes three distinct statements about his relationship with The Good Shepherd that we should seek to calibrate with.
He says My Shepherd knows my needs better than I do and so I entrust my needs to my Shepherd. What does it take for you to let go? to relax? to lie down? to be confident that your needs will be met?
Our hunger, our discontentment, goes beyond food… We are hungry for acceptance, for our place in this world, for love, for someone to care for our needs. But here's the little secret that most people will not accept until late in life. My needs, the things I hunger for, will never be completely satisfied by anything or anyone other than God. Isaiah wrote: “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you…”(Isaiah 26:9a)(NIV)
David says “The Lord is my shepherd.” “I trust everything I need to Him." He knows exactly what I need, how I need it and he has proven he knows me better than I know me…and so I follow Him..
And that’s where David takes us next. He says My Shepherd guides my every step. Notice 3 things - First, David listened for God's voice. Are you listening to His Word? Second - God knew David, just as he knows you. God knows you best. He knows your every birthmark, the number of hairs on your head, he knows your heart. And so when He speaks, know that He is speaking to you. Third - David followed God. When we hear his voice, we trust that he knows us and our needs and we follow Him. Jesus said: “My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)(NIV)
In verse 6, David gives us perhaps the greatest word picture yet in our relationship with the Lord as our Shepherd. He says “Surely goodness and love will follow me, all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
He says: My Shepherd pursues me and he carries me home. And there is no place I would rather be than in his house forever, all the days of my life now and for eternity.”
This weekend I hope you will come out and discover how to make the 23rd Psalm personal like David did. I look forward to seeing you Saturday at 5:30pm and Sunday at 10:30am. Bring a friend with you! Dave