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Pslam 23 – The Lord Is Our Shepherd

We all go through difficult times in our lives. In these times, it is important to not
lose hope. The Book of Proverbs says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”
Hope is what carries us through. Hope is like water when we travel through the
desert. Christians without hope are like flowers whose roots cannot reach any more water.
They droop their heads and drop their petals. Without hope, we cannot last for long.
Without hope, we will give up trying. We will no longer pursue the things that
God has called us to. We will lower our expectations. Because our hearts are broken, we
are afraid to hope again. It will cause us to draw back from God because we do not want
to be disappointed or to disappoint others.
This book tells us about the hope that we have in Jesus. It is full of stories of
people who went through difficult times but put their hope in God. From beginning to
end, the message of the Bible is that there is now hope for all people, both here on this
earth and an eternal hope that no one can take away from us.
King David had a lot of highs and lows in his life. He was the youngest of eight
sons and neglected, but he saved all of Israel by killing the giant Goliath. His family and
the families of his men were captured by the Amalekites, and the Bible says that they all
wept until they had no strength left. But the Bible also says that David found strength in
the Lord and then led his men to rescue their families. Later in his life, David’s own son
Absalom plotted to overthrow him and David had to run for his life after the leaders of
Israel betrayed him.
Throughout all the ups and downs of his life, King David maintained his trust in
God’s goodness. He never lost hope. He wrote, “Weeping may last for a night, but joy
comes in the morning.”
Today, I would like to study Psalm 23, which begins, “The Lord is my shepherd, I
shall not want.” This was a psalm of David, who had been a shepherd himself as a boy.
When David thought about his relationship with God, he thought of a good shepherd that
cares for and protects his sheep.
Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, 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.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.
Do you believe that God is with you in all situations of your life? Whatever may
be happening in your life right now, I want to tell you what type of God that we have so
that you never lose hope.
God is our Good Shepherd. He is the shepherd of our souls. Jesus said, “I am the
good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. I know my sheep, and am
known by my own.”
I shall not want
Psalm 23 describes what this means. First, we see that David says, “I shall not
want.” If we have a deep understanding that God will provide us with every good thing,
then we will worry a lot less and focus instead on what God has for us right now. Many
times people work extremely hard and yet are filled with anxiety because they are afraid
of not having good things—not only material things, but esteem and meaning in their
lives. We frequently compare ourselves to others because we are afraid that we will miss
out. In Malaysia and Singapore, this is called kiasu or a fear of losing out.
God is our shepherd who has good things in store for us. He knows our every
need. He knows the desires of our heart. We never have to worry that we will lose out.
We can be calm in the knowledge that God is our shepherd who watches out for us.
The danger of not trusting in your shepherd is that you will miss out on the
unexpected things that God plans for you. We may not have the whole picture. We do not
realize that God has other plans for us, but because our minds are closed, then we cannot
receive that good thing from Him.
It is not wrong to desire the good things. But you should seek God more than
those things. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these
things will be given to you as well.” We should be like Adam and Eve in the Garden
where we can simply enjoy what we have before us.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
When we hold fast and follow the guiding of God, we will discover that He
always has good things in store for us. How much do we need to learn to simply trust
Him instead of going our own way!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
When we come to God and say, “I’m tired of leading my own life. Here, I give you
control. Tell me what to do next,” then He will guide us by His word and by His Spirit.
When we delight ourselves in Him, then He will direct our desires and our attention. We
must learn to know our Shepherd’s voice!
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and
humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden
is light.”
When we decide to follow our Shepherd, it means that we must take up our duty
to obey Him. At first, duty may seem daunting. But when we actually begin walking upon
that path, we find that it is not as hard as we thought. God has plans to use you to do great
things! He wants to strengthen your arms and knees so that you can accomplish things for
Him. Whether it is preaching the Word of God in another country, raising up godly
children, bringing glory to God through our accomplishments, or building up people in
the church—God has a path for us to follow.
Rebelling against God’s way is hard. Things will go easier for us if we decide to
just follow what God is leading us to do.
Before he became an apostle, Paul was an angry man and his soul was dark. He
was a Pharisee and zealous for his religion, but he was not following Jesus. On the road
to Damascus, Jesus spoke to Paul, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Jesus
referred to an ox that kicks back against the stick that the farmer uses to direct the animal.
Jesus stepped in and warned him: “Paul, you are headed the wrong way! It’s not going to
go well for you. Turn around!” Paul made the right choice.
Jesus cares for you, even when you are stubborn. Everyone else may give up on
you, but Jesus will not. He will always seek to save His lost sheep. In the meantime, we
will only bring sorrow to ourselves if we wander away.
Yea, 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.
King David makes a point of saying that even in the deepest and darkest times of
his life, the Lord is still with Him. God will never leave us but will stay by our side until
we pass through the valley. No matter when or where we are, God is always with us.
One day, unless Jesus returns first, we all will die. At that time, we do not need to
fear any evil. Rather, we can look forward to passing from this body to our heavenly
home where we belong.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Here, King David switches metaphors. He is still talking about God’s goodness
towards him, but now he uses the image of a banquet. God is the host of the banquet and
David is honored as a special guest. When you anointed someone’s head with oil, you
honored that person very highly, as the woman did to Jesus before He died.
David uses this image to show how God favors him. When God is pleased with
you, then no one can take that away. When you walk in His ways to please Him and give
Him glory, then you will also receive an honor and distinction that cannot be earned by
any other means. As God told Saul, “For those who honor Me I will honor, and those who
despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.”
David says that his cup runs over. One day, every follower of Jesus will be with
Him in a banqueting hall in heaven. At that time, the best wine that you can imagine will
be poured out for you—better than the most expensive and perfectly aged wine that you
can find here on Earth. Not just a little bit, but your cup will overflow.
We need to remember Jesus’ words: “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
Are you looking forward to your heavenly reward? If we lose hope, then it is because we
are not sure of our heavenly reward. But I tell you that God will wipe every tear away
and that there will be no sadness in heaven because of the joy there. At that time,
everyone will receive the reward due them. We will celebrate to see that those who were
last here on earth are honored first in heaven.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
As King David reflects on the goodness of his Shepherd, his faith rises up. Surely!
Without a doubt. God’s goodness and mercy will be with me all the days of my life. Can
you say that?
People with this type of hope will not be defeated by the devil. Instead, they will
begin to recognize the goodness of God in their lives.
C.S. Lewis wrote that we all make a decision here on earth that determines our
eternal destiny. For those that submitted to God’s way, he said that they would arrive in
heaven and then look back and realize that heaven had already started on earth but grown
more real, just as the morning sun grows brighter toward mid-day. But for those who
reject God’s offer, their hell has already started and will only become more real as they
near death.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Let us say together with David, “Lord, I appreciate your goodness to me here on
earth. Help me to recognize your mercies in my life. I want to keep my eyes on You, my
Good Shepherd. Help me be aware of You as I walk through dark valleys, Lord. I want to
remember your promises and your faithfulness. Surely, Lord, You are with me. I believe
it. Lord, I look to you. You are my hope, which will not disappoint. Amen.”