19(Psalm 023) Provision of the Shepherd
Psalm 23 (Provision of the Shepherd).doc Bob Wiegel
A boy was bringing home a loaf of bread for the evening meal. Someone asked him “Where did you get that loaf of bread?” From the baker. “Where did the baker get it?” He made it. “From what did he make it?” Flour. “Where did he get the flour?” From the mill who ground the wheat. “Where did the mill get the wheat?” From the farmer. “Where did the farmer get the wheat?” From the seed he planted. “Where did he get the seed?” From God. “Well, then from whom did you get that loaf of bread?” Oh, from God.
Psalm 23:1-3 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. \2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. \3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (KJV)
Have we forgotten who really provides for all our needs? Abraham- “the Lord will provide”. Tonight we are again introduced the Shepherd of the 23rd Psalm, the one who makes provision for our rest, refreshment, restoration and righteousness.
I. The Provision of Rest (23:2a).
A. All of us would enjoy a few days of rest away from the fast and frantic life we all seem to live. We live in a day of extreme weariness. Our bodies are tired, our minds are tired, our nerves are tired. Everything about us is exhausted.
B. Bible speaks of two kinds of peace.
1. Peace with God.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2. Peace in God.
Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
3. We know Christ as Savior, but we fail to know Him as Shepherd.
Matt 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. /29 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. /30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
C. To graze continually upon the truth of God’s Word frees us from hurried and harassed life. We find there the green pastures of peace and rest.
Psalm 37:7a Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:
D. Therefore, we must discipline ourselves to read God’s Word. Without it, we are doomed to a life of restlessness. The Shepherd provides rest.
II. The Provision of Refreshment (23:2b).
A. So much of life is like the point where different streams merge into a fast flowing river. And we often feel that we will drown in that rushing river.
B. Sheep will not drink from a fast flowing river. If the Shepherd cannot find a water hole then he must create one in the river, placing rocks together to create a quiet pool.
C. Sorrow, heartache, frustration, and fear come over us like flood waters, sweeping us off our feet, and leaving us with feelings of helplessness. We feel we’re drowning.
D. It is in these moments that the Shepherd moves to “still” the waters of our lives. To cry out, “Peace, be still.” Often, the waters we dreaded as our ruin become our refreshment. We discover the greatest refreshment is with the Shepherd.
E. We must learn to seek the Shepherd at the first movement of swift waters. When we seek Him, we discover that He will LEAD us to those still waters of refreshment. The Shepherd provides refreshment.
III. The Provision of Restoration (23:3a).
A. Sheep and people tend to wander off. Not always being led to horribly sinful acts; sometimes its unintentional. But there lies the danger.
1. Family life – forgetting Lord wants to be in the family.
2. Worship – letting it become form rather than an experience.
3. Service – seeing it as duty and not expressed love for God.
Hebrews 2:1 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.
B. When we stray, the Shepherd leaves the others to come after us. Once found, he “restores” us.
1. Restoration – ‘to turn back’.
2. He brings us “back home”.
C. Restoration involves rejoicing.
1. Luke 15:4-5 What 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? \5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
D. Restoration involves correction and change.
1. There are times when a sheep continually strays. The shepherd purposely breaks one of the front legs, prepares a splint and binds it up. The sheep becomes dependent on the Shepherd for its every need. The point is the sheep is restored.
E. David found himself at one point having strayed from the shepherd, and penned:
Psalm 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
IV. The Provision of Righteousness (23:3b).
A. Our Shepherd comes not to suggest but to lead us in the right paths of life. He never leads us down the wrong path.
B. He does it for His Name’s sake. For his honor. Therefore, we can fully trust and rely upon the Shepherd.
David was a man of greatness and power. His military brilliance was above the rest. His leadership skills proved him to be a man of justice and mercy. A man after God’s own heart.
Yet in all this, he saw himself as a vulnerable sheep in need of the Shepherd, because he too had forgotten on occasions, “where he had gotten the loaf of bread.”