Devotional Message, Psalm 23

Still, Waters Run Deep!

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He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

3He restores my soul. Psalm 23:2-3

 The Shepherd Provides

The early Native Americans had a unique practice of training young braves. On the night of a boy’s thirteenth birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test. He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then, he had never been away from the security of the family and the tribe. But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of thick woods, and he was terrified! Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce. After what seemed like an eternity, dawn broke, and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest. Looking around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of the path. Then, to his utter astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It was his father. He had been there all night long.  -Our Daily Bread.

Stop and ponder that picture for a moment.  We go through life so often feeling terrified of all things happening around us. Like the blindfolded young braves, we attempt to man up and get through life all alone not knowing or understanding that we are never alone.  The Good Shepherd is there all the time never more than a few feet away, saying it is ok.  It is safe.   As we continue to slow walk our way through Psalm 23, there are just two imagines to meditate on here.

He settles me down in green pastures.

Sheep are skittish creatures and with good reason.  They have no weapons with which to defend themselves.  So, a sheep will not simply plop down for a nap unless the conditions are ideal. No one can make a lamb lie down. And only very young sheep can lie down and get up without assistance.  Sheep will only lie down when: 1) they have had plenty to eat, 2) have quenched their thirst, and 3) they are not threatened by any wild animal or disturbed by biting insects.  Jesus, the Good Shepherd, says you can have that feeling of complete protection and provision.  I will take care of all your needs so that you can rest secure in the bosom of your Savior.

He leads me beside still waters.

Sheep are afraid to drink water if it is moving.  So, to accommodate the sheep the shepherd must plan his entire day around the availability of water in the middle of the day.  Sheep remind me a lot of people.  We need to be pampered and cared for; we tend to be easily disturbed by the things around us beyond our control.  In spite of how difficult we can be to care for and even love, Jesus the Good Shepherd, knowing all of this about us still provides “still water” no matter the cost. And the cost to the Good Shepherd was His life.  He still leads me.  He still loves me.  His still waters truly run deep.

Other posts in this series:
https://revheadpin.org/2017/05/18/do-you-know-any-shepherds/

https://revheadpin.org/2017/05/31/are-the-needs-of-the-one-greater-than-the-needs-of-the-many

https://revheadpin.org/2017/06/07/how-to-navigate-the-valley-of-death

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Devotional Message, Psalm 23

Do You Know Any Shepherds?

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“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

 Most of us are not familiar with shepherds.  I bet we would have a hard time naming three off the top of your head.  Just to test this theory name three now, and Jesus does not count (his profession was a carpenter).

To help us better define what a shepherd is we will use as our primary text Psalm 23 written by a famous shepherd, David. We hear the scriptures describe the Lord as a shepherd, and Jesus as the shepherd of the sheep, but we don’t resonate with that. However, Jesus provides some context for his definition of the role the Good Shepherd plays in the life of his flock of believers.  The Shepherd heals and restores the broken.  You see that demonstrated in John 9 when Jesus heals the man born blind.  Jesus also heals the sick, brings back the lost and provides for the needs of the sheep, i.e. the feeding of the 4,000 and 5,000.

Over the next several weeks we will look at a few aspects of how King David defines the Good Shepherd.  I think it will help you better understand Jesus’ identification of being the Good Shepherd.

The Lord is my shepherd; Psalm 23:1a

 The shepherd is the only real line of defense the sheep have.  Sheep are like babies.  They are entirely dependent on the goodness and care of the shepherd.  Jesus points to this in John 10, 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” The sheep have no way to protect themselves when the wolf comes.  If the one protecting the sheep abandons them, they are toast.  All the sheep can do is run.

 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

 

Most of us are not familiar with shepherds.  I bet we would have a hard time naming three off the top of your head.  Just to test this theory name three now, and Jesus does not count (his profession was a carpenter).

To help us better define what a shepherd is we will use as our primary text Psalm 23 written by a famous shepherd, David. We hear the scriptures describe the Lord as a shepherd, and Jesus as the shepherd of the sheep, but we don’t resonate with that. However, Jesus provides some context for his definition of the role the Good Shepherd plays in the life of his flock of believers.  The Shepherd heals and restores the broken.  You see that demonstrated in John 9 when Jesus heals the man born blind.  Jesus also heals the sick, brings back the lost and provides for the needs of the sheep, i.e. the feeding of the 4,000 and 5,000.

Over the next several weeks we will look at a few aspects of how King David defines the Good Shepherd.  I think it will help you better understand Jesus’ identification of being the Good Shepherd.

The Lord is my shepherd;

 

The shepherd is the only real line of defense the sheep have.  Sheep are like babies.  They are entirely dependent on the goodness and care of the shepherd.  Jesus points to this in John 10, 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” The sheep have no way to protect themselves when the wolf comes.  If the one protecting the sheep abandons them, they are toast.  All the sheep can do is run.  The Good Shepherd provides protection for the sheep in the midst of all dangers, with Jesus in charge there is no need for any other security.

 

I shall not want.

 

Madonna, the singer not the Mother of our Lord, once had a song called, “Living in a Material World.”  And that title is so telling.  We do live in a very materialistic society.  To counter that Jesus makes a bold claim, “I am the Good Shepherd, I care for the sheep.” Translation “You shall not want.” Notice Jesus did not say you shall not desire.  Jesus never promises to satisfy all my desires, and that is a good thing.  I have lots of desires.  I love shoes.  That drives my wife crazy.  I have shoes for every mood I am in. Lately, I have given away most of them some only worn three or four times.

Best Buy is always a bad idea for me, because I love technology.  I saw this brand-new television that curves and is in 3D with surround sound speakers so you can feel like you are in the movie theater. And on top of it when you watch sports on it you can see the sweat drop off the players.  Do I desire that? You bet, does Jesus promise me I will get that, No!  Jesus says you shall not want, in other words, the Good Shepherd promises to provide me with the basics in life, food, drink, tranquility, to rescue me when I am lost, give me freedom from fear and death.  Jesus never promises to grant all my desires, if he did I would need a bigger barn to store all those things.  Jesus gives me what I need so that I am not in want.  He knows me.  He understands my situation. I can put my trust in him for the things I need today.  Jesus reminds us that in Matthew 6, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

 

Come back next Thursday as we continue our walk through Psalm 23.

 

I shall not want. Psalm 23:1b

 Madonna, the singer not the Mother of our Lord, once had a song called, “Living in a Material World.”  And that title is so telling.  We do live in a very materialistic society.  To counter that Jesus makes a bold claim, “I am the Good Shepherd, I care for the sheep.” Translation “You shall not want.” Notice Jesus did not say you shall not desire.  Jesus never promises to satisfy all my desires, and that is a good thing.  I have lots of desires.  I love shoes.  That drives my wife crazy.  I have shoes for every mood I am in. Lately, I have given away most of them some only worn three or four times.

Best Buy is always a bad idea for me because I love technology.  I saw this brand-new television that curves and is in 3D with surround sound speakers so you can feel like you are in the movie theater. And on top of it when you watch sports on you can see the sweat drop off the players.  Do I desire that? You bet, does Jesus promise me I will get that, No!  Jesus says you shall not want, in other words, the Good Shepherd promises to provide me with the basics in life, food, drink, tranquility, to rescue me when I am lost, give me freedom from fear and death.  Jesus never promises to grant all my desires, if he did I would need a bigger barn to store all those things.  Jesus gives me what I need so that I am not in want.  He knows me.  He understands my situation. I can put my trust in him for the things I need today.  Jesus reminds us that in Matthew 6, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

 

Read more as we continue our walk through Psalm 23.
https://revheadpin.org/2017/05/25/still-waters-runs-deep

https://revheadpin.org/2017/05/31/are-the-needs-of-the-one-greater-than-the-needs-of-the-many

https://revheadpin.org/2017/06/07/how-to-navigate-the-valley-of-death