Don’t Quit

This is the recent preaching outline I used for a sermon called “Don’t Quit.”

Job 14:1, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.

Who do you know right now that you would like to tell them not to quit?  Was there a point in your life, maybe even now, that you wish you had someone to say to you, don’t quit?

Job’s background and Introduction

  • He had great possessions, his family, his health, and his marriage.
  • However, beyond his control, he suffered great loss but remained faithful to the Lord.  God blessed his faithful in the end.
  • We experience these cycles in almost every arena of life.  The cycle move from the promises to problems and many of us never see the prize of being faithful because we quit during the problems.  God help us to not give up.  To not quit.
  • Like Job said, we don’t go very long in life without trouble popping up.

The Promises

  • The first day on the job, honeymoon & marriage, children (Job. 14:1), health, home, education, etc.
  • Each of these

The Problems

  • We tend to settle or surrender.
  • We then quit, give up.
    • Gal. 6:9 and reiterated in 2 Thess. 3:13, And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
  • To not quit, we need to ask ourselves the question, “what wrong things do we need to quit so we don’t quit on the right things?”

The Prize

  • God rewards faithfulness in life.
  • The ultimate reward of faith is eternity with the Lord.

 

  • 1 Cor. 9:24-27, Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
  • Heb. 12:1-2, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

 

 

Worship at a wedding and funeral?

Last week was busy.  The first half of the week was revival services, and the last half had a wedding and funeral.  The wedding was on Friday evening and the funeral on Saturday.  In less than a day, I ministered in both of the significant situations that most preachers claim they were never taught about in seminary.  However, regardless of the extra consideration and planning that takes place in these ceremonial services, the minister should realize the excellent opportunity to lead people in worship before God.  Two essential streams of thought drive the concept of funerals and weddings as worship services.  First, God is always worthy of our praise.  And, Secondly, God has called you as a Christian minister.

We are reminded in Scripture to worship God in spirit and truth regardless of place and time (John 4:20-24).  However, the words of the Psalmist ring in our ears: “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:1-3).  The Lord is undeniably good to us.  A life of gratitude would want to invite everyone in worship to God.

While some situations, like a funeral, make it challenging to have worship we are used too.  Here then, we must understand the importance of proclaiming God’s truth as an act of worship.  This is where the second stream is essential.  Worship is not always loud and vibrant, but always in Spirit and truth.  Again, worship of God is something for everyone eventually (whether willful or not).  Scripture says, Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

In any arena of life, including the wedding and the funeral, the duty of the Christian minister is to proclaim God’s truth.  We are to call people to submit to the authority of God through the Scriptures.  By doing so, the minister directs people’s attention to God and opens up a space for worship.  We should seek to always point others to Jesus, and the funeral and wedding is an excellent opportunity.

 

Shaping the Sermon

Paul declared, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel“‭‭(1 Corinthians‬ ‭9: 16, KJV‬‬)! I love to preach the Gospel and to hear sound Gospel preaching. To me, the content of preaching is sharing the Gospel, and the Gospel, in a nutshell, is that Jesus is King (and all that pertains to Him). However, there are many forms that preaching can take.  At least more than an introduction, three points, and a conclusion.  The following is an examination of one essential approach and four ways to shape the preacher’s sermon.

Expository

To begin, we are going to point out something that will make some mad. My approach to sermons is that all good preaching is expository. Now, some will use that term and imply a particular style of preaching. However, I am implying that all good preaching exposes people to Scripture, rightfully divided and studied (2 Tim. 2:15), in different ways.

Typically, those from a Calvinistic background, have taken expository preaching and defined it so narrowly and shame any other sermon style.  For these individuals, expositional preaching is identified solely as verse-by-verse.   What’s funny to me is that they focus a lot of attention on being against topical preaching and are in favor of verse by verse only.  However, when you go to listen to a sermon from one of these preachers, it’s verse by verse, but usually titled as though it addresses a topic.  Even when preaching through a book.  This is probably because the Bible deals with issues and problems.  Or, they go speak at conferences that are focused on a specific topic.  Usually, conferences about the topic of expository preaching.

Do you see the shallowness of calling understanding expositional preaching as only verse by verse?  Expositional preaching as verse-by-verse is a more recent development in Church history.  But, that’s for a different time.  What we do see in the Bible is God using different writing structures, mechanics, and people with different approaches.  Therefore, it seems that since God used different genres and writing styles to get His message across, the preacher should make use of various forms of communication.

The shape of the sermon should expose the hearer to the whole of Scripture on the matter. The Holy Spirit and the passage being presented should shape the form of the sermon. Not the preacher’s preference for a specific style. By preaching, we bring individuals face to face with God’s truth, and that is the whole Bible.   If you are still tracking with me, this broader understanding of expository preaching will become more evident.

Verse-by-verse

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do think there is something special about preaching verse by verse.  Especially for pastoral preaching.  One of the qualifications for pastors was the ability to teach (1 Tim. 3:2), and I think preaching verse by verse is one of the best ways to accomplish this task.  By going through a book of the bible verse by verse, the preacher is able to expose the congregation to Scripture not just verse-by-verse, but to follow a Biblical writers train of thought.  It forces the preacher to address popular passages in context and difficult passages that are usually avoided.

 

Topical

Topical preaching is usually associated with anything other than verse-by-verse preaching.  However, as I already noted, even verse-by-verse preaching is topical since Scripture dealt with topics and was written with specific purposes in the mind of God and the writers.  Still, I digress to the typical way topical sermons are preached.  They begin with a topic and a key passage addressing the topic.  Then, in a sweeping fashion, the topic is examined from other vital passages from the Bible.  In a way, it is systematic or doctrinal preaching.  It exposes the listener to the whole of Scripture on a single topic, rather than one passage as is found in the verse-by-verse style.

Narrative

Narrative preaching focuses on telling a story and everybody loves a story.  The story being told is not an outside illustration, but a narrative passage from the Bible, such as David in the den of Lions or Jesus healing Bartimaeus.  In fact, adding outside examples would be confusing and somewhat distracting.  The purpose of narrative preaching is to expose them to the events that take place in Scripture.  The power is the simplicity of the message, usually by sharing the story and connecting it to only one big idea.  Narrative preaching doesn’t happen when the preacher tells a little bit of the story and then associates it with a spiritual thought, then says a little more and connects it to another idea.  That is allegorical preaching and quickly leads back to the 3-point sermon format.  Instead, it tells the story and then relates the listener to the big idea in the passage.

 

Allegorical

The final method of shaping the sermon is through allegorical preaching.  Allegory is a way of interpreting something’s hidden meaning.  In preaching, it is taking a word, story, or thought and looking for spiritual senses.  I do find this type of preaching as a valid way to expose people to God’s truth.  First, it is one of the most historical approaches.  Secondly, it shows that God’s Word is incredibly deep in meaning and application.  Thirdly, and probably most importantly, it’s how the New Testament preachers typically wrote.  For example, look at the book of Hebrews.  Moses, Israel, the wilderness travels, the tabernacle, and sacrifices are used metaphorical and spiritual meanings through Christ.

However, the danger is that allegorical preaching by itself can become incredibly shallow.  One reason is that it usually focuses on one word from a passage and neglects context.  Another reason is when a narrative reading, such as David and Goliath, is preached, there can be so many connections made that people are overwhelmed or confused at how to make the spiritual connections.  And, finally, to many spiritual links can be added that have no actual grounding in the passage.

For example, I remember hearing an allegorical sermon on Proverbs 30:28, “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.”  The preacher went on to give a biology lecture of the spider and spiritualized everything as how to live the Christian life.  Even the spider’s venom and web.  It was all over the place, and they struggled to make connections.  Why do I think it failed to expose people to the truth.  The danger of allegorical preaching is that it can become so far disconnected from the context of the Scripture presented that the Bible is either just a passing thought or altogether forgotten.

In conclusion, when you are preaching, expose your congregation to God’s Word in any way that respects God’s Word and sound doctrine.

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