Psalm 23:1-6 “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
David likened his life to a sheep.
We are in good care in God’s house. It was said there was a Shakespearian actor who eloquently quoted the 23d Psalm. The crowd clapped uproariously. Another man quoted it, not so eloquently. The crowd didn’t clap, they wept. The difference is one man knew the psalm, the other knew the Author of the Psalm.
Why are men likened unto sheep in the Bible? Why is God like a shepherd?
There are certain qualities of a sheep, no fangs, no venom, no defenses. They can’t run very fast. They aren’t nimble. There is very little to protect a sheep from disaster and danger. Sheep have a NEED for a Shepherd.
David understood what it meant to be a shepherd and the life of a sheep. He took great comfort in likening himself to a sheep and the Lord as his Good Shepherd.
God alone gives purpose to a life from womb to tomb.
God is a Good Shepherd. Jesus went around doing good. People talked to Him and felt love. Jesus never turned away anyone who was sick. He always healed them. He never denied anyone. Hypocrites he didn’t deny; they didn’t come to Him, they attacked Him. He always answered a need.
Psalm 78:70-71 “He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.”
Look at Psalm 23 from the viewpoint of a sheep, not as a shepherd.
The Lord is my shepherd, therefore, I’m not going to lack anything. In God’s flock, the sheep lack nothing. It’s good to be a sheep in God’s flock. God has us covered. He is our provider. Finances are taken care of. Health is taken care of. It’s good to be a sheep in God’s flock!
A man who fears the Lord shall not want any good thing. ‘Want’ does not mean desire. It means ‘lack’. He that fears the Lord shall not lack any good thing. You will lack evil stuff, stuff that’s bad for you, stuff that you really don’t need.
The Shepherd of this church is Jesus Christ. Our pastor is His under-shepherd.
Ez 34:23 “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.”
Is 40:10-11 “Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”
God isn’t holding something back from you. God is not stingy. He wants to bless you. If you are walking with Him and following Him, led of the Spirit, you are the son of God.
Rom 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
He is responsible for YOU. You are His child. I am a sheep in God’s kingdom and I shall not want as long as I am led of the Spirit and not of the flesh. You are not in the situation you are in because God is trying to teach you a lesson. God will provide. God WILL meet your needs.
When you are not led of the Spirit, you end up in a bad place. ‘I know a short cut,’ says the sheep that fell off a cliff. If you want to know what it’s like to not lack any good thing, you need to be led of the Spirit!
There are benefits and privileges there for those who live for God.
Deut 2:7 “For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.”
Sheep don’t lay down very often. A sheep can’t get up easily. If it’s caught laying down in a field, it can die quickly. Animals have a sense of danger. The only way a sheep will be lying down is when they are comforted, fearless, and protected. They know it.
Psalm 23:2 “…he leadeth me beside the still waters.”
Only strong animals go to still waters because they can hold onto it. Our Shepherd is strong enough to hold onto it and He lets us go beside the still waters. He can protect us and allow us to lie down in green pastures.
Goodness and Mercy will follow you. He’s got you covered. He has you surrounded and will protect and provide for YOU!
God can see the animals that want to devour you and takes care of it while you sleep!
You are not aware of all the stuff that God does for you to take care of you. He has got you covered in every area of your life. He is God on the mountain top and He’s down in the valleys. He’s on the green pastures and on the moon. David said you can find Him in the waters. He’s all around us. He’s on the job. If you are led of the Spirit today, it is good to be a sheep.
Don’t do it ‘my way’. Do it His way. We’ve got to follow Him. If you wander away from Him and quit following Him, you lose His protection.
The rod of the Lord is to beat the wolves away. My God has a rod and that comforts us. He also has a staff with a hook on the end. It’s used to get that sheep that’s starting to wander and get him back. That is a comfort too.
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full audio of this sermon (and other great sermons!) click here.
If you are in the Chicagoland area, come to The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm.