Psalms 23 Part 6

Read Psalm 23:1-6

  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
  3. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
  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.
  5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
  6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

David finishes this chapter with, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Notice how David sums up this chapter. After all that he has done to describe the Lord as the Shepherd he says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” In other words, if I truly believe that the Lord is my Shepherd and all the ways that I described Him as a Shepherd, then goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The truth is we have to make a decision. Is the Lord your Shepherd? If you make a decision to follow the Lord and accept Him as your Shepherd, then you choose to follow Him wherever He leads.

Choosing Christ takes Faith. Faith means that even though you may not see God you believe that He exists. We can look around and see the effects of God. We can look all around us and find things that we may not see, but because of their functions we believe they exist.

Faith is what has brought many individuals through difficult times.

  • Noah had faith when he built an ark to save his family from a flood that would come from rain that he had not yet heard of.
  • Abraham had faith believing that God would provide the sacrifice to replace his son that God had told him to take and sacrifice.
  • Moses had faith to believe that God would part the waters when he stretched his staff over the Red Sea.
  • Joshua had faith to believe that the walls of Jericho would fall down when they marched around the wall.
  • Gideon had faith that he could conquer the Midian army with just the 300 men that God left him with.
  • Samson had faith that God would give him one more chance to strike down the Philistines when he stood between the pillars that held the building up.
  • Esther had faith when she stood before the king that God would save her people.
  • Nehemiah had faith when he went to rebuild the wall that God would bring the people together to help him do it.
  • Mary had faith when she accepted the calling of being the mother of God.
  • Joseph had faith when he took Mary as his wife.
  • We can see the faith of the believers. Even when they could not see how their circumstances would turn, they had faith that God would see them through their situation.

God will take care of us. He will get us through everything that we are faced with. We just have to have faith and believe that he will do it.

How often do we truly have faith? Do we truly lay our life in his hands? How hard do we try to hang on to it on our own? We can look at different people and see that when they tried to take their life in their own hands, that is when they got themselves in trouble.

  • Remember Adam, when he decided to listen to the woman and not to God, that is when he was kicked out of the garden.
  • Remember Abraham, when he decided to take Sarah’s maidservant Hagar as his wife and not wait on the promise from God is when he got in trouble and Hagar and Ishmael were banished.
  • Remember David, when he decided to stay home from battle is when he slept with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed.
  • Remember Jonah, when he decided to not go to Ninevah is when God had a fish swallow him up to get his attention.

The truth is God has a great plan for us, but when we decide to do things our way is when we get out of God’s will and our life falls a part. We need to choose faith and believe that God has our best interest in mind. I don’t know about you, but I choose faith. I choose the Lord to be my shepherd. I know that what David wrote is true.

The Lord is MY shepherd, I shall not want. He makes to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake. Thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. His rod and His staff they comfort me. He prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies, He anoints my head with oil, my cup runs over. And since I have accepted the Lord as my Shepherd, then goodness and mercy will follow me the rest of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23 Part 2

Psalm 23:1-6

  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
  3. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
  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.
  5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
  6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Let’s take a closer look at verse 2. It says, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

When we look at verse 2, we have to remember that the Lord is My shepherd. The things that He does will benefit me the rest of my life. The reason why He does these things is for my good.

Have you ever watched something on TV, where you see the person out in the desert walking and they look ahead of themselves and they find something out in the distance and when they get there it is just a mirage? They saw that small pool of water and some trees, maybe some life form, only to find out that it was just their imagination playing tricks on them.

Life’s cravings does this to us. They appear to be pools of refreshment, but instead are dry holes of disappointment and despair. The truth is the Lord sees us exhausted and spent. His first reaction is to make us lie down in green pastures. And even though we are helpless and powerless, we do not want to lie down. We want to solve our own problems. We want our way.

Life is going to throw curve balls at you that you are not ready for. If you have ever watched baseball, you know that the pitchers job is to get the batter out whatever way possible. Many times the pitcher will set the batter up. The pitcher will throw a couple of fast balls to get the batter thinking that there will be another fastball and just as that batter is thinking that, the pitcher throws a curve ball to throw the batter off course.

Life throws us curve balls that make us feel helpless and powerless. And the Lord comes along because He sees us that way and He makes us to lie down, but we don’t want to. We want to solve it our way. The shepherd is telling us, let me take this problem for you.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “28) Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30) For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The Message translates it like this. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Do you ever find yourself tired and worn out from everything that life has thrown at you? Do you ever find yourself wanting to just give up? Do you ever find yourself crying and weeping uncontrollable because of all the stress in your life?

That is why God is making us lie down in green pastures. He isn’t doing this to punish us. He is wanting us to rest. It is in those green pastures He disconnects us from everything except His grace and care. By lying down we choose an active inner trustfulness in the One who takes us off our feet of independence. That is the beginning, middle and end of the Christian life: total reliance upon Him.

It is when we fully rely on Him that we find rest. It is when we fully rely on Him that we can lie down in green pastures. It is when we fully rely on Him that we can find peace and joy and love that we are craving on a daily basis.

God is the one that rescues us from the wilderness of self-destructive behavior and brings us into the green pastures where life is restored. God is our rescuer, God is our deliverer, He is our fortress, He is our shelter, He is our rock. When our storms are raging He is the peace in the boat. When we can’t take the bad news, He is the calm in that storm.

The rest of that verse says, “He leads me beside the still waters.” It is those quiet streams of His presence that quench our thirst as we drink from His word, we pray, we worship, and we do His will every day.

Have you ever been so thirsty that you could not talk or your mouth was so dry that it hurt to swallow? What do you do? You go and get a drink of water to satisfy that thirst and sometimes you don’t stop with one drink. You get more. God is the one that quenches your thirst.

How do you quench that thirst?

Try meditating on the word, try praying, how about worship, how about following His will. We shouldn’t do these things only in a crisis situation. We should be doing these things on a daily basis. He makes lie down in green pastures because He knows that I need it. He leads me beside the still waters to quench my thirst. Let Him do those things. Let go of the control that you want on your life and let Him have the control.

I Choose Christ

This past June, my wife and I, decided that it was time to put our house up for sale. We had many memories made in this house. Both of our children have found friendships in the cul-de-sac that we live in. We have seen our kids learn to walk in this house. It has been a great house to raise our young family in. Our decision to move was based on the fact, we felt God wanted us to be closer to the church that we are pastoring in the town next to us. So we put the house on the market.

This past Saturday, we got a call from our Realtor saying that we had an offer. The next day we met with our Realtor to accept the offer. We were extremely excited. Finally we could begin looking for the home that we believed would be the home that we could build our future on.

One day later, we get a call from our Realtor saying that the buyer did not pass her credit check and that the deal was being terminated. We, as you could imagine, were devastated.

During this whole ordeal I have reminded myself that I am not the master of my domain, God is. The day that I asked God to control my life was the day that I agreed to place my life in His hands. Whatever direction He leads me in, I go. Whatever doors He opens, I accept. Whatever doors He closes, I accept. I gave up what I wanted for my life the day that I surrendered my life over to Him. God is my master.

Just because I think it is my will does not mean it is His will. I believe sometimes God is testing us. I believe He wants to see how far we will go to completely trust Him. When I chose Christ, when I chose to have faith in Him, I chose to forsake all and follow Him.

The disciples chose total surrender. They left everything behind to follow Christ and the direction that He had for their life. I love what Mark 1:16-20 says. It is the scene where Jesus sees Simon and Andrew fishing. Jesus says to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Verse 18 says, “They immediately left their nets and followed Him. Notice how there was no hesitation. This was not a decision that they had to think about.

A little farther down the way, Jesus comes to James and John fishing. Jesus gives them the same option. Verse 20 says, “they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and went after Him. Please understand, this was the family business and they left it all to follow Jesus. They didn’t think twice about it. They didn’t ask their father what he thought. They just left and followed Christ.

They knew there was something different about this man and they had to find out what it was.

When I made the decision to follow Christ I knew there was something different about this man and I wanted to know more about Him.

There may be days when I have disappointments, there may be days when I don’t understand all that He is asking me to do, but I know that He has never led me astray and my life is better for it.

There will be other buyers that come around, I’m sure of it. God has my best interest in mind. If you have chosen to follow Christ, then He has your best interest in mind as well. Don’t settle for second best, settle only for God’s best.