Story of famous actor at a social gathering- received many requests to recite famous literary works. An old preacher was also there. Asked to recite 23rd psalm, said yes if the preacher too, would recite it. He gave great oration. Preacher’s voice was broken from many years of preaching, diction not polished, yet not a dry eye. Actor said, “I know the Psalm, but he knows the Shepherd.”
We’ve heard the 23rd Psalm but do we know the Shepherd of the Psalm?. Let us set our hearts tonight on the Shepherd presented in Psalm 23 as we look at the psalm, the sheep and the Shepherd.
I. The Psalm.
The 23rd is the most familiar and quoted of the psalms. Unfortunately because of this it is often neglected in a time of study. Let’s get reacquainted with this psalm.
Location of psalm. At first glance we might miss that it is between 22nd – Cross of Christ; and the 24th – Kingdom of God. “Between Mt. Calvary and Mt. Zion are the green pastures and still waters of Psalm 23.”
God desires to lead and guide our lives like a shepherd would his sheep.
In this psalm we find a shepherd and his sheep, the provision and protection given by the shepherd, we find God and his love, Christ and his care, the today and tomorrow of our lives, and a psalm that ministers to our deepest needs.
II. The Sheep.
A. Mascot for sports team. Sheep not known for strength, agility.
B. Yet God has chosen the “sheep” to be the mascot of his people. Not lions, or bears. Why? Isaiah says it (Isaiah 53:6).
C. Sheep tend to wander. They assume an independence, one that leads to their own destruction. They need a shepherd. So do we. Without a shepherd –
1. Scattered life.
Ezekiel 34:5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
2. Be Eaten life.
Ezekiel 34:8 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;
3. Troubled life.
Zechariah 10:2 For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.
4. Wearied life.
Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
D. Prone to wander away from the security of the Shepherd, to go our own way and do our own thing.
E. The author of this Psalm, David, was himself a shepherd, but did not see himself in that light but rather as a sheep. So must we, especially if we are to be God sent leaders in our world.
III. The Shepherd.
A. God’s word is clear who is the Shepherd of us sheep.
John 10:12-13 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. /13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
B. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who died for us.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
C. Jesus is the Great Shepherd who is risen for us.
Hebrews 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,
D. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd who is coming for us.
1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
E. David emphatically says the Lord is “my” shepherd.
1. Who or what shepherds you?
2. Anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ as your shepherd will leave you scattered, faint-hearted, and in trouble as you are about to be eaten!
F. Because David says the Lord is his shepherd, he can say “I shall not want.”
1. A life that is lived in constant want clearly shows the Lord is not the Shepherd.
2. When the “wants” of this life draw you and you go after them, you have gone astray like sheep straying away from the shepherd’s care.
Consider the following:
1. Who is my shepherd?
2. Can I admit my need of the Shepherd?
3. Are there wants that drive me from the Shepherd?
Tonight, reacquaint yourself with the Shepherd Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.