Psalms 23 (II)

I started this a couple of weeks ago but wasn’t sure that I would continue on through it. For the next few weeks I pray God uses this powerful scripture to encourage and equip you as you encounter Him.

It comes from a study that Pastor Johnny Hunt did and speaks directly to our day.

It was Charles Spurgeon who said “the Lord as our Shepherd provides ‘green pastures,’ which is the truth of the Scriptures, always fresh, always rich, and never exhausted.” 

When, by faith, we are enabled to find rest in the promises, we are like sheep that lie down in the midst of a pasture. We find peace, rest and refreshment, serenity, and Satisfaction.

What is it we all pursue?

Why do men and women alike jump at relationships? This one is it for sure. The oldie and Goldie, God brought them into my life.

Why does mankind get caught in the trap of “The kingdom of Thingdom?”

Why are we always looking for the next gadget, thingamabob, and doohickey?

We are looking for satisfaction.

We search everywhere even the scriptures but few trust them enough to really find satisfaction.

The next part of this psalm says: “He makes me to lie down”. As followers shouldn’t we want to lay down, rest, and trust in these green pastures provided?  Some know the blessedness of it, but they cannot say that this blessedness is theirs. They know the “green pastures” (His Word), but they are not made “to lie down” in them.

It is the Lord Who graciously enables us to perceive the preciousness of His truth, and to feed upon it. How grateful ought we to be for the power to appropriate the promises! 

The Psalmist David, a shepherd himself, is emphasizing that the one Shepherd (Lord Jesus) is adequate for every need the sheep may have as they are in the pasture. Primarily, they need food (grass), water, rest, and a shepherd knows where to lead them. 

The Psalmist reminds us that when God’s people follow their Shepherd, they have all that they need and will not lack the necessities of life.

The Lord desires to give His sheep rest, refreshment, relief, and restoration. However, in order to rest, the shepherd has to deal with what keeps the sheep from restfulness.  What is keeping you from rest?

    • Only the Shepherd Himself can provide release from these anxieties. 
      • It all depends on the diligence of the Shepherd to free us from disturbing influences.
    • It is actually He who makes it possible for them to “lie down,” to rest, to relax, to be content and quiet and flourishing.
      • A flock that is restless, discontented, always agitated and distracted never does well.
      • Remember, sheep are timid, easily panicked and startled. It doesn’t take much to cause one to be frightened and fleeing, with others following in its blind fear.
      • The slightest suspicion of danger and there is trouble.
    • Do you see how this analogy relates to today’s church? Today’s home?
      • Discontented, panicked people flee.
      • Live in fear.
      • Agitated and have to defend their position.
    • In the Christian’s life, there is no substitute for the keen awareness that my Shepherd is nearby
      • With sheep, nothing so quiets and reassures them as to see the shepherd in the field. His presence puts them at ease as nothing else could do
    • We live in uncertain times. Any hour can bring disaster, danger, and distress from the unknown. The unknown or unexpected can produce the greatest panic.
      • Who would have ever thought we would have already lived with what we have seen and still are reaping the repercussions.  
      • There is nothing like Christ’s presence to dispel fear, panic, or terror of the unknown.
    • There are fear producers that endanger our tranquility.
      • Again, there in the midst of our misfortunes there suddenly comes the awareness that He, the Good Shepherd, is there. What a calming effect! It makes all the difference.
      • His presence in the picture throws a different light on the whole scene. The outlook changes and there is hope. Rest returns and I can relax.
    • Jesus said: Mt 11:29, “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.” 
      • The prophet Danial would say “Remember, He is the 4th man in the fiery furnace.”
      • Paul told Timmy: 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
      • “Sound mind– a mind of ease, at peace, not perturbed, harassed, or obsessed with fear.
    • It is the special office work of God’s gracious Spirit to convey this sense of Christ to our fearful hearts.
      •  He comes quietly to reassure us that Christ Himself is aware of our dilemma and deeply involved in it with us.
    • Tension, rivalry, and cruel competition within the flock itself.
      • Animals have an order of dominance or status within the group.
      •  With chickens, it’s the “pecking order. ”With cattle, it is call “horning order.” With sheep, it is called “butting order.”
      • They are trying to establish their dominance.
    • With sheep, an arrogant, domineering old sheep will boss a bunch of sheep.
      •  She maintains her position of prestige by butting and driving other sheep away from the best grazing grounds. 
      • You see it in church. Don’t step on so-so…
    • Succeeding her in precise order, the other sheep all establish and maintain their positions by using the same tactics of butting and thrusting at others.
      • It is a learned behavior. You see families who practice what they have learned.
      • You have to deal with it.
    • The word of God speaks to this.
      • Note the word pictures: Ezekiel 34:15-16, “I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”
      • Ezekiel 34:20-22, ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God to them: ‘Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.’”
    • Because of this rivalry, tension, friction, and competition for status and self-assertion, there are issues in the flock. 
      • The sheep cannot lie down and rest in contentment. Always they must stand up and defend their rights and contest the challenge of the intruder. 
    •  This continuous conflict and jealousy within the flock can be a most detrimental thing.
      •  The sheep become edgy, tense, discontented, and restless. They lose weight and become irritable.
    • However, good news, whenever the shepherd came into view and His presence attracted their attention.
      • The sheep quickly forgot their foolish rivalries and stopped their fighting. 
      • The shepherd’s presence made all the difference in their behavior.
    • When we focus on the shepherd our actions are different
      • Shepherds noticed that less aggressive sheep were often far more contented, quiet, and restful. 
      • It is the humble heart walking quietly and contentedly in the close and intimate companionship of Christ that is at rest, that can relax, simply glad to lie down and let the world go by.
      • When my eyes are on my Shepherd, they are not on those around me. This is the place of peace.
  • What is your life telling you your heart is set on?

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