Stephen Caswell © 2004
A Shepherd Understands His Sheep
/Philip Keller/, once a shepherd shares some very interesting insights about the make up of sheep in his book, *A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23*.
It is impossible for sheep to be made to lie down unless four requirements are met.
/Firstly,/ due to their timidity they must be free from all fear.
/Next,/ they must not have any friction with the other sheep, they must be at peace with each other.
/Third,/ they must be free from flies or parasites if they are to relax.
/Lastly,/ they will not lie down unless free from hunger.
Shepherd's care for all these needs.
As our Good Shepherd, the Lord meets all these needs for us.
He makes it so that we can lie down in green pastures.
The 23 rd Psalm is a comfort the sick and sorrowing.
It offers great hope for the suffering.
The Lord is the Good Shepherd who watches over His sheep.
Yet I believe that this Psalm says much more about the Shepherd's care in life than in death.
Truly we need the Good Shepherds guidance and care through out all of our life, not just at the end of it.
I want to look at seven wonderful provisions that the Lord gives to His sheep.
7 Hebrew words describe God's care for His sheep.
Jehovah - Rohi - The Lord My Shepherd
*Psalm 23:1:*/ The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want./
The Lord cares for His children like a shepherd cares for his sheep.
In the Middle East Shepherd's take much greater care than they do in Australia.
Sheep are more like pets than beasts to be slain.
Sheep were valuable and kept them for their wool.
The chief responsibility of a shepherd was to provide for the sheep's welfare.
A Shepherd is concerned about the health of his sheep.
He loves them and individually takes care of them.
He knows each one personally.
Every child of God can testify that the Lord meets our needs.
We know Him and He knows us personally.
We can say that we want for nothing.
/Do you know the Good Shepherd?
Does He provide for your needs?/
He wants to be your shepherd too! /Will you let Him? /
Jehovah - Shalom - The Lord My Peace
*Psalm 23:2:* /He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters./
Part of the Shepherd's care is to provide peace for the sheep.
Sheep don't like to be hurried along.
They like to graze quietly in the fields.
In this busy life it's so easy to become unsettled.
So the Good Shepherd provides a peaceful place where we can share fellowship with Him.
In verse 1 we read how the Lord meets all of our needs.
In verse 2 we find that He provides clear cool water and lush green pastures.
Sheep won't drink from fast flowing rivers.
God's sheep enjoy perfect peace because they're not concerned about the basic necessities of life.
*Matthew 6:31-33: */Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?
For after all these things the Gentiles seek.
For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you./ */Do you know His peace?
Has He brought meaning and tranquility to your life?/*
3. Jehovah - Ropheka - The Lord My Health
*Psalm 23:3:* /He restores my soul; /
*/Why do we need the Shepherd to restore our soul?/*
Because it is the nature of sheep to wander away from the safety of the fold.
Like sheep we have wandered into the wilderness of sin.
*1 Peter 2:25:*/ For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls./
Only the shepherd can restore our souls from the ravages of sin.
Only He can make us right with God again.
The restoration He gives is forgiveness of sin and peace with God.
We cannot restore our own souls.
Only the Good Shepherd can do this.
This is why Jesus the Good Shepherd came to earth.*/
*/How can lost sheep be restored to the fold?/*/
Through repentance and faith.
*To repent*/ means */that we stop going our way and return to the Shepherd./*
*Isaiah 53:6 says:*/ All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
/We must ask Jesus to restore our souls.
We must believe that He died for our sins and that He rose again to give us new life.
*John 10:11: */I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep./
*/Do you know the Good Shepherd?/*
*/Has He restored your soul?
If not! /*/Will you repent & believe in Him?
Will you let Him save your soul??/
4. Jehovah - Tsidkenu - The Lord My Righteousness
*Psalm 23:4:*/ He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake./
The shepherd was responsible to lead his flock along safe pathways.
He protected them from the rough paths that lead to death.
He kept the sheep from trouble.
The Good Shepherd gives us a right standing with God.
As we saw He does this by restoring our relationship with God.
But then He enables us to keep on the right track.
He leads us and gives us the strength within to overcome sin.
This is something we can't do for ourselves.
When we obey the Good Shepherd He comes into our lives and helps us walk God's way.
He leads us in the paths of righteousness.
On our own we would simply wander off into the wilderness again.
But when the Shepherd restores us to God He also keeps us in the His ways.
/Is the Good Shepherd leading you in the paths of righteousness?
Is He helping you to live a holy life?/
Jehovah - Shammah - The Lord My Companion
*Psalm 23:4:* /Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me./
The shepherd didn't drive his sheep but went before them.
The Shepherd led the sheep safely through the dangerous valleys that sometimes had to be passed.
He called them and they followed him.
He was their constant companion and guide.
The Good Shepherd even more so.
*John 10:27-28:*/ My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand./