Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Psalm 23
Dr. Edwin P. Elliott

I. God Takes Care of His People

A. The God of sovereign grace does for His people what a shepherd does for his sheep; God protects from danger and supplies needs.A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)

1. David spoke of the shepherd’s work from his own experience. “He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.” (Psalm 78:70-71)

2. Jesus is the good shepherd. “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11)

B. There are other shepherds who are not good for the sheep. “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. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.” (John 10:12-13)

C. God provides for His people what they need. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” (Psalm 23:2) “Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” (Proverbs 15:16-17)

D. Sheep take comfort in the knowledge that the shepherd will not abandon them or leave them to the penalty of their private adventures. “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3) “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:176)

II. God Always Takes Care of His People

A. Life’s greatest terrors shrink as a believer grasps God’s protective interest in His own. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

B. God does not leave His sheep unattended to face their enemies. “A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:1-4)

C. As believers get to know the Savior, all the arguments for fear and worry fade. “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

D. Pagans fear death but believers view it as the entrance into perfection. “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:53-57)

III. God Never Stops Taking Care of His People

A. David hints at the eternal banquet with God when believers will be finally and entirely vindicated; the good times are coming. “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” (Psalm 23:5)

B. Christ guaranteed the good times in the Lord’s Supper. “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” (John 6:53-56)

C. Eternal joy waits for those who trust in God. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Psalm 23:6)

D. When human resources fail, the eternal ones appear. “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” (Psalm 73:26)

E. Never let the present stand in the way of the eternal. “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1) “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:” (Philippians 1:23)

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