Four Hindrances to Worshipping in Spirit and in Truth.

When Jesus spoke to the women at Jacobs well in the fourth chapter of the Gospel according to John, He spoke on worship.  Jesus stated that God the Father searches for those that will worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23).  The conversation basically boils down to the point that true worship does not depend on the physical location of the person but their spiritual position before God.

So what hinders our worship from being in Spirit and in Truth?  Here are a few issues impacting our personal and gathered worship.

An unrepentant and deceitful heart (Acts 5:4-5 & 8:9-25)

In these two passages, we see the damage caused by unrepentant and dishonest hearts.  Highlighting the necessity of a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, made into a reality by the transforming presence of the Holy Spirit.  God is not pleased by anything that is not done by faith (Heb. 11:6).  The activation of faith begins with repentance of sin and belief in God.  If there is unconfessed sin in our life, we are deceiving ourselves and hindering our worship.  We need to come clean with God and allow Him to do the full work of Grace in our life.

Lack of prayer (Mt. 21:13)

When Jesus made his way into the temple at Jerusalem, He was disturbed at the marketing chaos and lack of respect for prayer.  He turned over tables and drove the moneychangers out.  Now, we might say this is a location but let us cross-reference with the Scriptural teaching that our bodies are the temple of God as well (1 Cor. 6:19).  We are to be a people of prayer.  Prayer marks our lives because it is more than a ritual of obedience.  It is intentional dialoguing with God.  If we do not have a habit of speaking with God through prayer, how can we also talk, sing, and serve Him in worship?  Prayer is a part of worshipping and can’t be separated from it.

Limited Biblical knowledge (Hos. 4:6 & Col. 1:9)

Despite those with an attitude of intellectual snobbery, Scripture has much to say about the need for Biblical knowledge.  Knowledge of God’s Word and His Ways in the world have a significant impact on our worship.  Worship is more than emotional outburst and your feelings.  A limited Biblical knowledge leads to shallow worship.  C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity noted a conversation that demonstrates this.  The individual he witnessed to said they did not need the Bible because they thought it restricted what they had already experienced with God through personal observations and feelings.  However, Lewis noted that there is a difference between standing on the beach and going out on a ship into the ocean.  You can only experience so much in the shallows.  But, to go out deeper and experience the totality, you need a map, or you will get lost.  The Bible is our map, and it helps us navigate deeper into our relationship with the Lord.  The more we know of God, the more we can honestly know God.

Toxic attitudes (Phil. 4:8-9 & Eph. 4:32)

Attitudes of ungratefulness, dishonesty, irreverence, pride, jealousy, cynicism, and more also hinder our worship.  We are challenged to think about things that are pleasant and good in the sight of God.  We are challenged to have a spirit of forgiveness and preference of others instead of self.  If we harbor this ill-feelings and negative thoughts, without ever giving them to God, we will find our souls drifting farther and farther from God.

So great a salvation.

We have been given a great salvation.  However, it can be neglected.  Which means what to the believer?  Let’s search this out.

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” (Hebrews 2:1-4)

First, why is this salvation so great?  We will find the answer in the previous chapter.

Salvation begins not with us but the incomparable majesty of the Son.  The glory of the Son far beyond the Old Testament prophets and high above the angels.  Jesus is the only begotten of God, meaning one of a kind.  He is uncreated and eternal present before the creation of the world.  And, He is the one who sits at the right hand of Heavenly Father.  

It is Jesus that has purged us from our sins.  We see this referenced in chapter one and a deeper dive in the second chapter begins to open this more fully.  They center on the truth that Christ became flesh, dwelt among, died for our sins, and rose victorious.  Christ became as one of us to die and cleanse us thoroughly from our sins.

What does it mean to neglect?

It is a moral and spiritual command that we pay attention to what God has said.  Our response is a matter of ultimate blessing or loss.   As the Hebrew writer will explain, we need to be more careful than those at Mt. Sinai who heard the words of God through the angels and the holy man Moses, for we have the Son of God!  They listened to the word but did not mix it with faith.  That is not our path.

How prone we are to “neglect?”  It is so easy to treat the things of God as if they were unimportant, to become occupied without comforts and the affairs of this life.  We wouldn’t want to offend others who have their own believers. We don’t intend to deny the faith – we are just taking it a bit easy and being a bit reasonable.  The writer warns us that such an attitude leads to eternal loss. We shall not escape.

Give a more earnest thing to the things we have heard.

We must wholly commit to learning the Word of God.  We do this through personal and congregational study.  However, it is more than gaining knowledge.  The believer needs to proceed further into the application of the Word.  The sincerity of faith will move us past intellectually discussions and empty feelings.  We must seek to live after God as he taught us to in the Scripture.

Holidays

When it comes to holidays, both sacred and secular, I’ve heard the statement, “I don’t need a certain day to tell me to observe something.” For example, with a day like Thanksgiving, some well meaning person may quip, “We need to be thankful everyday. Not just one day out of the year.” While this sentiment is true, these observances do serve a purpose. First, let’s take a look at Scripture to get our bearings. Then, we will look at the practical implications. Maybe, holidays can be under stood as more than time off. Then again, maybe I am thinking to much.

Religious Feasts of Israel

In addition to the weekly Sabbath, Old Testament Israel observed seven feasts: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles or Tents). The question of “so what” may be asked.

First, God said so in Leviticus 23:1-2, “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.” However, if you continue to read you will see repeated a call to teach on these days their unique meanings. This was done to pass on the generational values and for the people of God, the theological underpinnings of God’s work through sacred actions.

Education & Refocus

So, while we may know the importance of of a particular value or theological typology, the same can not be said of everyone. Holidays stand as days to educate children and outsiders to a culture. It also serves as an opportunity to refocus our lives with what is important. No one is above the distractions of life and getting pulled away from what is essentially the right things in life.

Or, again, I am just thinking to much. 🙂

Basic Church Ministries

In every church, there are some primary ministries.  The size of the congregation or the purpose of a new pastor to come in doesn’t matter when it comes to these essential activities.  In a way, the following four types of ministry describe much of what groups of believers do in the world.

Ministry of the Word in Discipleship

As a foundation, the Word of God is the starting point for everything else.  So much Scripture attests this point (for example Mt. 4:4; 28:18-20; John 21:15; Acts 6:4; Eph 4:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17).  The great commission found in Matthew 28:18-20 focuses on our teaching the Jesus’ word to all nations.  The Scriptures are to be used in evangelistic and discipleship efforts.  Everything the church does is to be biblically-informed.  Our worship is to be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).  Second Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that the Scriptures are sufficient in fully equipping people to do the work of God.

Christan Caregiving

Christian caregiving is not something that only the pastor does.  The whole congregation should be involved in the care of souls.  The pastor should take the lead here to model before the congregation and equip them to provide care for one another.  Acts 6, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 each demonstrate that all believers have a place of service in God’s assembly of believers.

Worship

It was already stated that worship is to be done in spirit and truth (John 4:24).  This is more than musical experiences in congregational services.  Worship is both personal and congregational.  In both settings, the character, position of the heart, and development of the believer in Jesus is essential to true worship.  Worship is coming before God in thanksgiving and praise (Psalm 100).

Sharing the Gospel

Evangelizing is another essential component of church ministry.  The church is supposed to teach the Gospel, pray for sinners, help individuals develop a personal ministry of evangelism and incorporate them into the larger outreach ministries of the church.  Sharing the Gospel as found in Matthew 28:18-20 notes that all the people in the world are the scope of our mission.  We are to go global and go local with the Word of God.

If you are a new pastor, church leader, or a new believer, these four essential church ministries make up the foundation everything else we in the Church.  Make sure they are Biblically-based and give honor to God and not man.

The Lord is my Shepherd – Psalm 23:6

As we come to the final verse of the twenty-third Psalm, we find a beautiful conclusion.  The psalmist declares the continuing goodness and mercy of God toward His people.  However, we may wonder what brings about these blessings.  What are the purposes and benefits?

“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.” – Psalm 145:9

God’s goodness comes from His nature, not our worthiness.  Another psalm reads, “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:9).  The Gospel writer recorded these words from Jesus, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45).  Like the previous, God’s loving mercy comes from His character, not our virtue.  Micah 7:18 is a reminder to us, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”  The greatest demonstration of God’s goodness and mercy was the self-giving sacrifice of Jesus for us.  Through His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, we are the recipients of an “unspeakable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15).

God further demonstrates goodness and mercy by drawing us to His home.  The word house could mean the family or household or flock of the Good Shepherd.   However, it carries with it the continuing theme of this psalm, to be in God’s presence.  John wrote about the encouragement we should receive about going to be with God:

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3

Soon, and very soon, our faith will become a reality.  We shall dwell in unbroken fellowship with the Lord forever.  I am looking forward to that endless day.  It is a promise that every person has been given and will receive if they receive it by faith.

The Lord is my Shepherd – Psalm 23:5

In the middle of our chaos, God can provide a space to receive His grace.  The shepherd knows his sheep are weary and hungry in the dark areas of life.  He also knows that in the treacherous terrain that there are dangerous enemies waiting to attack.  Still, in the midst of an uncertain place, the shepherd of our soul delivers what feels like a banquet to us.

The shepherd would at times feed the sheep on a raised table (like a natural trough in the ground).  Two reasons for this raised table.  First, it kept dirt from the sheep from falling into their food and secondly, this made it easier to keep the sheep from wandering off.  In turn, making it harder for enemies to steal sheep.  God knows what He is going to do for his people.  He knows how to protect us from own self and from those who would seek to do us harm.

Also, anoints our head with oil.  Why?  One, for bug prevention.  Bot flies and such would dig into the nostrils and ears of sheep and drive them made.   The Devil also likes to get in our head, but the Holy Spirit can keep him away.  It was also for healing.  Sheep want to butt heads and would need their wounds attended too.   Sometimes, the Holy Spirit must address the conflict between the sheep and bring healing to broken spirits.

Finally, we are told that our cup is running over.  Seemingly this phrase speaks of the overflowing blessings the shepherd pours over the sheep.   It is lovely to know our God is willingly giving us good, but underserved gifts.  We have not merited the Lord’s favor.  However, He loves us and knows each of us by name.  Oh, how great is the Shepherd’s love for us!

Finally, if you will venture out with me a little, Revelation 19 speaks of a table being spread in the presence of all our enemies throughout all space and time.  The marriage supper of the lamb.  There is one last time in the future, yet to come, that we will have to dine in the presence of the enemy.  But, praise be to God, who gives us the victory!  We shall still have the Shepherd on our side.

 

 

The Lord is my Shepherd – Psalm 23:4

The fourth verse of Psalm 23 is very popular and has been quoted by people from different walks of life.  Not just by Christians either.   It is a very relatable verse.  However, this flippant usage of this verse underlies a more damaging notion.  It is an approach called moral therapeutic deism.  What does that mean?  Let’s break it down:

  • Moral – This is not Biblically founded morality but rather a humanistic morality.  IT is the idea that people are good and all are on their way to heaven, except for those deemed to be thoroughly evil.  Just be a good “ol’ boy or girl,” and everything will be alright in the end.
  • Therapeutic – Christianity is therapeutic and good for guidance in this sense.  It can help teach morality and how to cope with stressful life issues in a self-help book approach.  All you need is a daily verse of inspiration, and anything more would be like fanaticism.
  • Deism – As this perspective goes on, it approaches a type of deism where God is distant and unneeded, except when needed.  Classic Deism taught that God created and sustained the universe but since then has remained distant and left the world to naturalistic movements.  However, moral therapeutic deism, there are times of crisis when this god will react and help.  However, whenever there is no crisis, he’s not around.

Does this help explain many of those in who claim Christ but are none of His?  I believe it does and with moral therapeutic deism as a backdrop, we can understand why Psalm 23:4 is therapeutic.

“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.” – Psalm 23:4

Albert Barnes wrote, “The idea is that of death casting his gloomy shadow over that valley – the valley of the dead.  Hence, the word applies to any path of gloom or sadness; any scene of trouble or sorrow; any dark and dangerous way.  Thus understood, it is applicable not merely to death itself – though it embraces that – but to any or all the dark, the dangerous, and the gloomy paths which we tread in life: to ways of sadness, solitude, and sorrow.”

The Scripture is no stranger to grief and is one of many reasons for its undeniable relevance.  Passage after passage paints the picture of reality we live in:

“Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;  A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.” – Job 10:21-22,

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:2

However, Psalm 23:4 is not a lament but praise.  Notice it says, “Though…I will fear no evil.”  Just as much as Scripture paints our grim reality, it is also using a backdrop of God’s majesty.  Let’s sample some of these passages that remind us not to fear because God is with us:

But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” – Psalm 3:6,

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.” – Psalm 27:1-4.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” – Isaiah 41:10,

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Cor. 15:55-57

Why can we have this confidence?  Because “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  The staff is a symbol the shepherd guiding his flock, and the rod is a symbol for protection.  However, there is a greater implication that goes against the idea of God be afar off.  These symbols are of tools that had to be used nearby.  Again, remember the verse says, “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”  God is near His people.  We exclaim that, “he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  What a great comfort this is to us.

When we are in trouble, He is already by our side.  Yes, and when we pray, He is already there.  However, the implication is that He never leaves.  Even in the good times, God is right there by our side.  He is offering us guidance, correction, and protection, at every moment of our existence.  The Lord is not distant, but truly “God with us.”

The Lord is my Shepherd – Psalm 23:3

So far, we have seen that in the Lord, we do not lack in the first verse.  In the second verse, we find provision and rest.  As we continue, we see restoration for our souls.

“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:3

This verse is about restoration and not just a refreshing as with the previous verse.  It’s the difference between an invigorating soda in one instance and the doctors working to restore a patient from dehydration.  The severity of our circumstances requires a more profound work when we come to this verse.  

Jesus Christ is the only one who can bring complete restoration to our lives.  Isaiah 53:6 reads, All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  It is through Christ’s sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension that we have this faithful promise. 

What is this restoration of the soul?  In the context of shepherds and sheep, it is speaking about a lost sheep being restored to the sheepfold.  The parable of Jesus from Luke 15 comes to mind:

4What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

This restoration speaks of our justification.  It is a change of positions.  Such as from sinner to saint, from lost to found, from orphaned to adopted, from death to life.  It also speaks powerfully to our moments of weariness and straying.  There are times when life brings us so low, and we succumb to our temptations.  It is at these times we find God restoring our strength and faith.

We also see that “He leads me in paths of righteous, for his names sake.”  As we live as believers, our aim is become more and more like Jesus.  It’s not about us.  It’s all about his excellent name.  Psalm 25:4-5 records a beautiful prayer in this same mind, “Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Still, God’s grace to us is his namesake.  It’s not selfish, it’s scandalous.  His name is on the line.  How far would you go out of your way for a person like you?  God gives us mercy when we are undeniably guilty.  God had displayed His love through His Son even when we were sinners.  God’s actions are considered foolish by the world, but they are lifegiving.  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”  The Lord has went out of His way (which is actually His way) to restore us to Himself.

Psalm 23:1

Psalm 23:2

The Lord is my Shepherd – Psalm 23:2

 

My wife and I like to tease each other about our different perspectives on a restful vacation.  I think her motto is rush instead rest.  Abbie loves holidays involving Disney and Pigeon Forge.  Lot’s of going and doing.  For myself, look more towards camping and fishing.  I guess we each have a different perspective of rest and that’s okay.  As long as we sincerely get to recharge and refocus.

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.

In the first verse of the twenty-third Psalm, we learn that Jesus is our shepherd and he is all we truly need.  Now, we read in verse 2 a summary of God providing rest and sustenance.  Phillip Keller in the book, A Shepherd’s Look at Psalm 23, wrote that sheep will not lie down when there is fear of outside influences, friction within the flock, annoyance from flies or parasites and when they are hungry.  Those are all excellent preaching points about how unity is an endeavor (Eph. 4:3).  

The truth is that we really are like anxious sheep and for a good reason.  One out of four people deals with anxiety in some form or fashion.  Around 41% of employees report anxiety from work-related stress.  Over 50% of students from school-related stress and no wonder with recent events.  Amazingly, 43% of the USA uses prescription mood altering drugs.  For recreational drug use, 42% of users relate it to stress while over 70% of alcohol use is attributed to stress.

Our society won’t let you rest and nourish yourself.  We push, “I have not done enough,” instead of “I’m doing too much.”  We do not want to rest and we do not know how to rest.  We do not healthily handle stress.  We do not seek the provisions given by God to find peace and contentment. 

The Shepherd provides places of nourishment.

First, we are to be nourished by God’s Word.  The Word of God is like pure milk (1 Pet. 2:2), meat or solid food (Heb. 5:12-14), honey (Ps. 119:103), and more references like these.  However, two key verse that sticks out:

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” – Mt. 4:4

“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained” – 1 Timothy 4:6

Food is essential for life.  Amen!  However, God’s Word has even greater value.  We will only find our nourishment in God’s Word.  If we are to become “whole” followers of Christ, we need a whole revelation of God, and that is the Bible.  C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:

“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.”

Still, the question remains how does the Word of God lead us to rest?  I would like to borrow another illustration, this time from Charlie Brown.  My favorite comic strip of Charlie Brown is where Linus and Lucy are looking out a window at the rain.  Lucy quips that she is afraid of a global flood.  Linus, however, comes back to explaining God’s promises found in the early chapters of Genesis.  Lucy thanks Linus for taking a great load off her mind.  The final line is Linus saying, “Sound theology has a way of doing that!”  A healthy intake of God’s Word leads us to rest because it helps us see the world in God’s light and helps to develop our faith in Him.

The Shepherd provides places of rest.

Having a place of rest is a theme found all the way through the Bible.  In creation, we see God resting on the seventh day.  The Garden of Eden is described as a place of tranquility.  Israel’s promised is a place of earthly rest.  However, the Hebrew writer describes it as only temporary as an eternal rest still waits for God’s people (Heb. 4).  Jesus calls out to us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Mt. 11:38-29).  

The Lord has provided us the most significant sense of rest in Jesus Christ.  We can have rest from our sinfulness, guilt, and fruitless works.  If Jesus is not your highest desire, then search your priorities. Try and simplify your life.  Declutter so you can focus on Christ.  Only by seeking Him first and above all else will we find rest for our soul and rest from the things that cause stress.  When we seek other things first, we only hurt ourselves.  Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33).  

Follow this link to the previous series post on Psalm 23:1

Statistics come from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America website and Psychology Today.

The Lord is my shepherd – Psalm 23:1

The following series of blog post will explore each verse of the beloved twenty-third Psalm.  These posts are based on a set of sermons I preached through in the summer of 2017.  I pray for your soul to find encouragement, comfort, and challenge through this psalm.

Why Psalm 23?  Out of the 150 Psalms, which are short lyrical pieces for singing, Psalm 23 is well-beloved Psalm and is one of the most well known.  This psalm is attributed to David.  He wrote about the care and comfort God gives to his people.  Psalm 23 has provided a source of inspiration to people throughout time and continues today.

Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

The Lord is my Shepherd – Yahweh Rohi

Shepherd language is all through Scripture.  It seems as if the shepherd metaphor is one of the Lord’s favorite descriptions of Himself.  Look at the sample of the Old and New Testament passages.

Isa. 40:11, “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.”

Jer. 31:10, “Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.”

Ez. 34:12, “As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

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.”

John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”

Heb. 13:20, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”

1 Pet. 5:4, “And when the chief shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

The truth David shares essential to notice is “the Lord is my shepherd.”  The Lord is not distant and unmoved by our condition.  David noted a personal relationship with the Lord and the remainder of the psalm details the benefits of this close proximity to the Shepherd of our souls.  We are his sheep.  We are ignorant and straightforward because of the limitations of our nature.  Our nature is one that requires outside care and substance to sustain us.  The Lord is my Shepherd, and He provides the care I need.  All of us who are a part of the Lord’s flock can rejoice and be at rest because of our Shepherd.

I shall not want.

David does not mean we will receive all our desires.  It does not mean we won’t face difficulties.  The exclamation “I shall not want” means, I will not lack care from my Shepherd.  I shall not want for salvation, acceptance, or hope.  There is no other that can provide these blessings.  We will not find our salvation insufficient on the day of judgment.  God’s grace alone is sufficient for all my need in this present life (2 Cor. 12:9).  Only through our relationship with Jesus will we find peace in this world and hope for the world to come.  May we rest in this statement, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

Follow this link to the next series post on Psalm 23:2