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Scripture: Psalm 23:1-6 To God, our loving Shepherd, present in this morning’s worship service; to the leaders of this congregation who tends the flock of God in this place; brethren and friends, a wonderful morning to all of you. I feel very happy that God, at my young age, gave me the opportunity and the privilege to deliver His message to you. At the same time, I feel very nervous even though this is not my first time to deliver a message to the church. Probably, it is because I fear the stipulation in the Law of God that cautions a preacher from preaching carelessly to the congregation to the effect that he tends to forget the purpose of his job and what he is doing, and thus drawing away the faithful Christians from the truth which is found in the Bible. Avoiding such case to occur and doing my very best not to fall to the temptation thereof, I would like to cite the rule reminding preachers to avoid it. It is found in James 3:1 where it says: “Let not many of you be teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive stricter judgment.” And for that reason, I intend to be very careful in the words that I will be using as I proceed to deliver the Lord’s message unto you. God’s message for us this morning is about the comfort that He is giving us, the protection of the Lord given to us, and the hope which He promised to us. Our text is found on Psalm 23:1-6. It is also about the Lord, David the psalmist called his Shepherd. As a young Christian, I think and feel that David the psalmist composed the most beautiful, perfect and elegant psalm I ever heard. As a young child, I remember my Dad as he always sang this song at home, in church, and even while he drives the car as he brings me to school or when we go out for a trip. As I grew up, the song made me realize how super supportive God is to us as we daily face the challenges and discomforts of life. He is always there to comfort us when everything seems to be going wrong in such a way that He always makes sure that we are on the right path of life that leads to Him and His righteousness. When David composed this psalm, he was already the King of Israel. Yet, he remembered his youth when he was but a young lad tending the sheep in the green pasture of the prairie. He had all the time to commune with God and found solace and comfort in his solitude even while he faced the dangers of the wilderness. Tending the sheep seeing thereto that the flock was relaxed as they lied on the grass, where some were eating, sleeping, playing and while sitting beside him. Thus, as he remembered all of these, he began to sing the “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want”, accompanied by his harp. If we will read and study the song, we will notice how passionate and emotional David was in communing with God. He felt God’s comfort and protection.
He was confident and assured that in his every day activities, God was always there to guide him. In times when he and the flock were in the midst of danger, God was always there to rescue them from vicious wolves and vultures. Thus, it gave them the hope and the guarantee that they will go home safe and sound for God was with them. How wonderful it is to be with God is it not? Imagining all of these gives us encouragement and gladness in our hearts as we go on with our lives as Christians. As can be seen from the psalm, David shared with us three assurances. I. The Comfort of God “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters” –verses 1 and 2 – The above-quoted verses deal with how God gives comfort to David affording him relaxation of mind and focus to his chores. When we say COMFORT, it means: 1. To show sympathy to a person; 2. To encourage someone who suffers from trials, burdens, coldness of spiritual life, etc.; 3. To give hope; 4. To ease the grief of sorrow. Examples: 1. The mother’s words of love and help comforted the crying girl. 2. My father makes enough money for us to live in comfort. 3. Our brothers and sisters are the first people to give us comforting words. As Christians, it is our duty and responsibility to encourage our brethren who feel dispirited and hopeless in their faith. We must help them recover their joy, happiness, and faith in God. We must edify them by way of singing and praying for them. This is our job and obligation to God. Elder James said, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him, Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working. ” – James 5:14-16II. Protection
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.” –Verse 4 – In connection with our discussion about comfort awhile ago, verse 4 talks about protection. Protection means:
1. The act of protecting, or condition of being kept from harm; defense; 2. A person, place, or thing which we value and as much as possible we prevent it from damages. 3. Protection of God is: 1. Encouraging – Isa. 41:10; Isa. 50:7 2. Seasonable – Psalm 46:1 4. Protection of God is afforded to: 1. The oppressed – Ps. 9:9 2. The Poor – Ps. 14:6; Ps. 72:12-14 3. The Church – Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28 5. Alternatively, God’s protection cannot be found on: 1. Idols – Isa. 46:7 2. Man – Psa. 146:3 Examples: 1. We have policemen for our protection from syndicates. 2. We have the Armed Forces of the Philippines to protect us from conquerors and foreign invaders. 3. At home, our father is the defender of our home and family. He is the door, the roof and the building of the family. 4. Biblical examples of God’s protection: 1. Peter when he was imprisoned – Acts 12:4-7 2. Paul when he was preaching the word of God in the synagogues in Corinth – Acts 18:9-10; Acts 26:17 3. Daniel when he was in the Lion’s den, an angel of God came down to shut the mouth of the Lions – Daniel 6:22 The Shepherd’s rod and staff were common tools for tending the flock. At the same time, they were weapons of defense from grave threats posted by vicious wolves out to eat the sheep. As Christians, we can see how God protected His prophets and apostles in their ministry. They put their trust in the Lord that they would always be kept safe from harm and danger. They prayed and they never lost their hope and faith to Him. God is always here for our loved ones. Take the case of Daniel. We can see how God saved Daniel’s friends when they were sent to be burned (Daniel 3:19-30). In verse 25, we can see how Jesus Christ protected them. God is always here to protect us from temptations and dangers coming from forces that are beyond our control. God knows that on our own, we cannot successfully defend ourselves from the challenges that we meet as we proceed in our lives as Christians. He also sets us towards his church where we can meet the comfort and protection that we need from our brethren therein. III. Hope
“Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me and all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” – Verse 6 – Verse 6 talks about hope. Hope means:
1. A feeling that what one desires will happen; 2. A cause of hope; a person or thing that gives hope to others. 3. It is the assurance of things we hold on as Christians. It is our faith that will lead us to eternal life as verse 6 states: “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Our Hope is in God (1 Peter 1:21), in Christ (1 Tim. 1:1), and in God’s promise and that is Eternal Life (Titus 1:2; Tit. 3:5; John 3:16). We can obtain hope through: God’s Grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16), God’s words, teachings, and commandments (Ps. 119:81), Patience and comfort of the scriptures (Rom. 15:4), the gospel (Col. 1:5 and verse 23), and through faith (Gal. 5:5). As Christians we were taught from the very start about Christ through God’s words (Rom. 10:17). We knew Him as a loving God. And as we realize what God had done to save us, we responded to His calling by believing (Romans 10:10; Mark 16:16) and submitting ourselves under His authority. We confessed (Romans 10:10; Acts 8:37) Him before men as a form declaration of our obedience to Him and we were baptized into His death, burial and resurrection for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-6; Galatians 3:27) in His name by means of water immersion, and thus, we became children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and furthermore, we became partakers of the promise that He gave unto Abraham since time immemorial. The Lord guaranteed that if we will remain faithful to Him until death, we will receive the Crown of Life or Eternal Life with Him (Revelations 2:10). How wonderful will it be to see Him face-to-face in the completeness of His glory, is it not? We will be able to talk to Him. We will inherit mansions of gold, lands and riches, and other gifts He will give us. Finally: The Lord is indeed our shepherd. He is always there to provide comfort, protection, and hope of eternal life. He never left us alone. He is just a prayer away from you. As words of encouragement, we must hold on to God. Let us be faithful to Him as He Himself is faithful to us. Let us remember, that in our daily lives, we have a Shepherd who is always there for us. I leave these questions for you to ponder: Do you feel comforted by God? Do you feel protected by God? Are you encouraged to continue your faith and not lose hope? If yes is the answer to all of these, then God is shepherding you. If not, think again, what is it that you are not doing why you do not feel God as your loving Shepherd. With that, I end my piece and thank you for listening. May God bless you all.
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