- Sermon Notes
With You Always
Psalm 23, Pt. 1
Illus. Look out!
This morning we are going to study Psalm 23, it is one of the, if not the, most well-known Scriptures in the Bible. There is a good reason why it is so
popular, essentially it is real life. The various pictures and ideas in Psalm 23 bring vivid color to places, situations and circumstances you and
I face daily. While this Psalm brings about a real picture of what we face, it doesn’t stop there, it illustrates a picture for us of who God is and
what God does. Pointing to the place those in His care need to be in the midst of the circumstances in their lives, and the reality that God is with
Read: Psalm 23:1-6
This is a Psalm of David, and the very first words are referring to the Lord as His Shepherd. A shepherd is the name or title given to a person who herds, tends, and guards sheep. In calling the Lord his Shepherd, David is likening himself to a sheep in the charge of the Lord. This is something that is found throughout Scripture, God’s people, not likened to a lion, a tiger, or a bear; rather, likened to sheep, which are known more for their inability rather than their ability.
Isaiah declared that we all, like sheep, have gone astray (Is. 53:6). Sheep go astray, they wander.
Like sheep, we go astray; and like sheep, we need a Shepherd. For those in Christ, we have one, it is the Lord Himself, the One who is with you always. Jesus declared in Matthew 28:20, He is with you always. This means always, in every peak, and every valley, at the beginning and until the finale, through the storm and in the shadows, there is one thing that is sure, something you can know, He is with you always.
I.Take Him Personally
Psalm 23:1, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
- As David thought and wrote about his relationship with God, He made the analogy of a shepherd and His sheep.
- This analogy of shepherd and sheep was quite common in David’s day.
- In fact, there are writings from ancient near eastern kings who claim to have been given the wisdom to shepherd their people. In fact, in one Old Babylonian text, a particular king wrote that he shepherds his people, provides them with fine pastures, watering places, and makes them lie down in safe pastures.
- These practices of a shepherd were specific to sheep keeping, so common in that day, the relationship between shepherd and sheep showed deep care, concern and covering.
- David, having been a shepherd himself, knew that relationship well.
1 Samuel 17:34-35, Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.
- David knew what being a shepherd was all about, and did so exceptionally.
- From His experience he understood what it meant to be a shepherd, the heart of a shepherd, the guidance of a shepherd, the protection of a shepherd, the provision of a shepherd.
- And in the midst of his intimate understanding of shepherd and sheep, in Psalm 23, David declares that it is the Lord alone who is His shepherd. Not an earthly ruler, king, or leader.
- Additionally, he does not say the Lord is merely a Shepherd, or that the Lord is THE Shepherd, but rather, the Lord is His personal Shepherd.
- And for you and me today, this is important to be continually reminded of.
- To make the declaration, not simply that the Lord is a Shepherd, but He is my Shepherd.
John 10:11;14, I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, I know my own, and my own know me.
- Jesus is saying, I am the good shepherd, and this morning and in your life, He wants to be your shepherd personally, He had laid down His very life for you.
- This isn’t just a task for Jesus, this is who He is. He can shepherd your life, He knows His sheep and is known by His own.
- If you are believer in Jesus this morning then this is the relationship Jesus says He has with you, the Shepherd over your life. Guiding, guarding, protecting leading.
- The shepherd is the guide for His sheep, it is imperative they are known, but also that they know His voice.
- Who is shepherding your life personally? For David, it was the Lord…How about for you?
- Find peace in His provision
Psalm 23:1b-3, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
- The verses that follow, give us a picture what it means to have the Lord as our shepherd.
- It’s not a Psalm about the sheep, rather about the shepherd. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want… Why do I not want? What does He do? He makes, He leads, He restores, He guides, for His name’s sake.
- I shall not want, or be in want, I shall not lack, or, I want for nothing.
- All my needs are supplied by my shepherd. Not lacking, not deficient, content in the Lord’s hands.
- While Jesus has called Himself the Good Shepherd, while we know that His sheep are to hear His voice, that He came that we would have life to the full (John 10:10), so often we are looking to make our own way.
Illus. A shepherd looks at Psalm 23.
Psalm 121:3, He who watches over you will not slumber.
- How often do we find ourselves in want? Looking over the fence and no matter the situation it isn’t enough.
- In fact, our economy is built on us wanting and buying more. The next thing…I have this size, but need that size, thinking the next thing or size might be the real prize…and begin chasing after things rather than finding contentment in the One that will truly satisfy.
- “I shall not want,” meaning, I will decide not to be in a state of wanting. Because the Lord is my shepherd and I know He has given me what I need.
Psalm 84:11, No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
- If you are lacking something presently, and in a state of want, consider that it might be a good thing, but it might not be good for you, right now.
Romans 8:28, And we know God causes all things to work together for good to those who Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.
- This will shift my focus away from my wanting toward His working, all the while trusting that He will work it together for good.
- David continues, as shepherd, the Lord…
- He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters (Vs. 2).
- The green pastures and quiet waters are where the essential needs for food, water, and rest are met.
- Phillip Keller wrote that it is almost impossible to get sheep to lie down when they don’t want to, unless four requirements are met.
- Free from all fear, free from friction with other sheep, free from pests (flies, parasites, etc.), and free from hunger.
Illus. Going down.
- For the sheep, their rest comes because the shepherd knows their needs specifically and has dealt with fear, friction, flies, and famine.
- For you and I, we can rest in knowing that our God has conquered every fear, foe, and will provide. We can rest in the places God leads, knowing He Himself invites us to find true rest in Him.
Psalm 62:5, My soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.
Psalm 4:8, In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Isaiah 26:3, You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.
Philippians 4:6-7, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- The shepherd knows when the sheep needs green pastures, and knows when sheep’s need still waters. And your shepherd knows what you need as well.
- Pursue the path He points you to
Psalm 23:3, He restores my soul, He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake.
- The shepherd restores, or “brings back” your soul.
- Soul being the part of you that is not physical, the part of every human that lasts eternally, it is the soul that finds rest when one comes to Jesus (Mt. 11:29).
- The picture is of a sheep that is lost, or has strayed, but David knew, as we must know as well that there is only One who can restore the soul, it is the shepherd, it is Jesus.
- Surely David himself, called a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), failed and sinned miserably. He needed restoration, and found that in the Lord alone.
Psalm 51:10, Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
- David understood that the Lord was his shepherd, the One who guided, tended to and guarded him, and he knew that the Lord alone was the restorer of His soul and the one guiding him in the path of righteousness.
- So too, for those in Christ, His proper place is as guide, helper/comforter and guard. It is the Lord alone who is the restorer of your soul, and when He restores, He will lead you in the paths of righteousness.
- In the life of the restored, He will get the glory for His namesake, which means the one He restores He will guide in the paths of righteousness and their journey, the path He leads them on will bring honor to His name.
- And He doesn’t just send you down the path alone, He remains with you…He guides you in the path of righteousness.
- Certainly, believers in Jesus are justified by faith, meaning, that, in order to be right with God, we need to receive the gift of righteousness He has given.
- We are declared righteous by believing in Him. And once you are declared righteous, Jesus wants to lead you in the paths of righteousness.
- Which means walking the path, putting your legs on that path, building your life there, walking the way in which He would have you go.
- The shepherd guides you down that path, as you come to faith in Him, as He comes into your life and becomes your personal shepherd, He guides you in the way you should go.
Psalm 32:8, I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
- The paths of righteousness are the paths God has opened up, or wants to open up for you, that is the right path for you and that right path for you is the path you are on when you are ‘right with Him.’
Psalm 25:4-5, Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
- The nature of the shepherd, is to guide. He is with you always; the Lord wants to guide your life.
Illus. Stay close.
Matthew 28:20, Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul,; He guides me in the paths of righteousness, For His name’s sake.