He Makes Me Lie Down in Green Pastures Psalm 23

He Makes Me Lie Down in Green Pastures Psalm 23

The shepherd leads his sheep out from the fold and maybe before too long he has them lay down in green pastures. The may be impatient, eager to move on, want to be active, they may not even want to rest.  But the shepherd knows what is ahead, what kind of terrain it is.  There may be no water ahead, there may be dangers that only he knows about, maybe a ravine or a narrow mountain track were they could slip if they are too tired or it may be too late in the day and they may slip and fall.  The climb ahead may too tough for them at the moment, or there may be a place ahead were robbers are or caves with wild animals, predators,  hiding in them, ready to pounce on them and devour them. If the listen to him and rest they will be reinvigorated for the journey ahead. The shepherd is wise, kind and thoughtful, interested in their welfare. The grass may look greener on the other side, you may want to change church, go to a different place only to find it was better were you were. He is a good shepherd and interested in the sheep of his pasture. He has your safety, your comfort our care in mind. He can see much further than ahead than you, you may not know what is happening but He knows the end from the beginning, He is Alpha and Omega. He plans the way ahead for us, knows the steps we should take. He wants to bring us to green pastures, the place of rest and security.

When a hurricane or storm comes it can alarm us. Particularly if the electricity, water or gas is cut off. We are left in the dark and outside the trees are snapping in half or uprooted like matchsticks, roofs are blown off, the windows and doors of our house creek, cars blown of the road, homes flooded, it can be devastating. things are cast miles away, we looe things even loved ones.

Some people’s lives are like this in the midst of a storm or discouraging circumstances the loss is great. The storm rages all around them. They can hear the sounds of the crashes, see the devastation and wonder will their spiritual house fall down? Or how much damage they will sustain. Life is horrible for them. They wonder will they ever recover?  Peter says the Lord continually protects you 1 Pet. 1:5.

The Good Shepherd knows and cares for his flock?  Did he not suffer? Did he not face the storm? Did he not cry out to the Father? Did He not trust the Father in obedience and faith Did He not win over the circumstances?   He knows how to suffer and how to cast or throw his care upon God. He is our example follow the Shepherd.

Today our world is so busy, we are living in an age of rush and turmoil. Life is hectic and we are much too busy to rest. The demands of daily life are severe. Many of us are exhausted mentally stressed and physically ill. We run here and there, children to school, then on to work, then collect the children from school, then home, after dinner we rush them off to church organisations, to a club, to practice, a telephone call from a family member or person seeking help, it is endless. On the other hand some of us think we are indispensable and the work will fall apart without us, wrong! Sometimes it is just as hard to hold some folk back as it is to persuade others to go forward.  Sometimes young people want to move or change things too quick only later to find out older people had a good point. Sometimes we want to run ahead without good sound advice.  We need to come aside and rest a while in his green pastures. We need to take time out to be with the Lord. He wants us to rest physically, spiritually mentally and emotionally. Come ye apart before you come apart. Isaiah said, “In quietness shall be thy strength.”  He also says “Be still and know that I am God.”

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First, “He maketh” that is by gentle persuasion. He gently persuades you or else he will have to touch you in “the hollow of your thigh”, so to speak, to hinder you from running headstrong in your own way.

Second, they are green pastures not barren places.  He brings us to places of rest and quietness. He wants to have communion with him and listen to him and enjoy his presence.

Third.  “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” “Wait on the Lord be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say on the Lord.” Ps. 27:14.  Submit to him. You need lie down and rest.  This world is full of pressure, of troubles, of people who want to use you and abuse you who are wolves and other wild animals trying to influence you and feed on you even kill you spiritually. Society is rushing headlong to destruction. God knows best.  “He makes me liedown…” when I need to.  God has my best interest in mind. When we lie down the Shepherd gives us security and protection. We must not stray away from the shepherd, he keeps an eye on us. If we do wander off we may get into danger, or trouble and get hurt, or lost and he will have to leave the ninety nine and seek the one that was lost.

Fourth. Resting give you strength. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint” Isa. 40

Fifth , it is here “he restoreth my soul.”  It can mean converting the soul, “The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul” the faint hearts and tired bodies, restoring the one who has gotten too far from him, David prayed the Lord would “restore unto him the joy of my salvation.” Ps 51:12, it can mean restoring from disorder and decay Ps. 80:19, restoring from sorrow and affliction Ruth 4:15, and restoration from death as Elijah restored the life of the child  1 Kings 17:21-22.

Sixth. Green pastures. Sheep need to graze. God provided a pasture with rich grass for the sheep to eat, and grow strong. God made David lie down in the green pasture, in the rich pasture he rested and revived. God gave David the best possible place to rest that there was.

God cares about each of us and wants us to rest. He wants us to stop rushing around, stop panicking, and enjoy communion and fellowship with him. He wants to come in and fellowship with us, we need to open the door. Who is pushing you? What is driving you? Let him lead you. We need to take time out and rest in the Lord. God really want us to rest.

“He (the Lord) makes me to lie down in green pastures,” the “green pastures” are the spiritual places we live and move if “the Lord is our Shepherd.” When Jesus is our Shepherd, he provides for us physically and spiritually. He searches out green pastures in the barren hills and valleys and dry terrain.

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures,” He wants us to rest “He makes me to LIE DOWN……” He wants to lie down so that He can feed us in a place of peace and rest. Because the predators wish to attack us and we are defenceless and at their mercy the Shepherd protects us and we can lay down in confidence.

The sheep are nervous and aware there are dangers but they are not thinking about the enemy all the time. So it is with the Christian who is in a spiritual battle daily. He watches and is careful, but does not worry, he casts all his care on the Lord. The enemy is always looking for a chink in the armour, a time and place to attack us. Satan’s attack, theologically with false doctrine, church problems, physically, mentally with worry and fears, accusations, condemnation, emotionally with guilt. However we have a Shepherd who can deal with all of these and he can keep us in peace, safety and security. He is the awesome Warrior, the King of the Ages, the Lord God Almighty.  We must have faith in his promises: “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  “When you go through the waters I will be with you…”  “When thou lie down, thou shall not be afraid: yea, thou shall lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.” (Prov. 3:24). “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makes me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8). “And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.” (Isaiah 65:10). “For thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.”

The shepherd lives with the sheep every day. He watches over us, supplies our daily needs, comes after the one that was lost, seeks out the one who fell down a ditch.  If they are scattered he will go after them and bring them together again. He will feed them on the best. He binds them up when they are wounded. (Ezek. 34:11-16)

       The Good Shepherd of Isaiah 40

       Isaiah 40:1-2 –The Good Shepherd is the Great Comforter, “Comfort!” Isaiah opens with a cry of “Comfort, comfort my people.” This is a deeply emotional word meaning ‘console,’ concern and pity. He has been talking from chapters 1-35, about Israel’s spiritual decline, the disobedient sheep, and the consequences.  God as a Shepherd of Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem still loves them deeply. The people went into exile and captivity because of their spiritual adultery. But God heard their cry out in exile and was gracious to them as here in Isaiah 40:1-2 (Ezra 9:6-8; Neh. 1:5-10; 9; Daniel 9). Here Isaiah is speaking to the remnant, those who survived the awful ordeal of captivity. He wants to comfort and console them, to announce to them their forgiveness. Comfort is repeated twice (40:1) to balance the double punishment for sin. God is the one who shows mercy (40:2).

Sin can shake us up and destroy our lives and relationship with God. We need to hear the comforting words of the Good Shepherd “comfort, comfort, ye my people.” When you lie down in the comfort of the green pastures, when life is difficult, when things go wrong, when the road is too rough we need Christ our shepherd to bring comfort. He wants to forgive us, to protect us, to provide for us. We are to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

      40:3-5 – The Good Shepherd Provides a Highway in the Desert. The Lord can make a way in the wilderness that we may be going through (40:3). It is here we return to His leadership as Israel in the wilderness. He will come to our rescue, He will  smooth road for us (40:4, 35:8-10). His presence brings God’s glory (40:5).

Life can bring many trials, dangers, snares, heartaches, and difficulties. They are like deserts in our lives. We can end up in the desolate place of the desert. When we get our lives right with Him He provides a smooth road out. It is the Messiah’s Highway of Holiness Himself (35:8).

Sometimes the Lord places you in the desert to test your faith and give you strength to go on. He is bringing you to something better. He wants you to glorify him in it. “Through it all, through it all, I have learned to trust in Jesus , learned to trust his word.” He is testing you like preious gold heated up seven times to get the dross off. You will be a better person after the testing. When the desert times come get lose to the shepherd. Fix your eyes on him. Ask him what he wants you to learn.

     40:6-9 – The Shepherd and the Word. God’s word is sure the “Word of our God stands” as utterly reliable (40:8; 25:1). It has eternal value. We can be sure the gospel when believed will bring salvation (40:9). The people of God were they custodians of the message(Genesis 28:14; John 4:22), when the Messiah finished the work on the Cross (“It is finished”), He commissioned His Church to deliver the message to the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15).

      There are battles to be fought against those who corrupt or deny the Bible those who say it has errors in it. If we cannot trust the Word of God, then we cannot trust its message of salvation through Christ. It is fully inspired, and inerrant no error in it.

     40:10-11 – The Shepherd is the Sovereign Lord. Sovereign Lord is ‘adonay YHWH,’ Master or Lord is used only of God, and it emphasizes his greatness, ultimate power, and rule (a strong, muscular man (Exodus 6:6; Psalm 79:11). YHWH is the personal name of God, it links his Power and Love, transcendence and intimacy. What a mighty God we serve, angels adore him, bow down before him, what a mighty God we serve.” His glory fills the universe. He is the tender and loving shepherd. He pursues us for a close relationship. (Psalm 23; John 10:11).

Our Shepherd is unique, he stands alone. No other can give you the green pastures, the comfort, the peace and contentment He can give. He is almighty and allpowerful, the mountains melt at his powerful Word. The demons flee from him, the heaven’s sake at his command. Trust him to kill the giants before you, to melt that mountain you face, to deal with your enemies.

The Shepherd Creator Gives us Comfort. Isa 40: 12-26

         40:12-17 – He is the great Strongman Shepherd (40:12-17; Job 38-39). He reveals the wonders of His creation.  Consider the universe, its immensity and its complexity. The galaxies, the wonder of creation, the laws of nature, the many species of fish, animals, insects, birds, the variety and colour it is immense! They all speak of him “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of his hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). If you look, listen and think you will see his power and wisdom. That’s our Shepherd. God wants to reason with us, to teach us, instruct and guide us. (Proverbs 1:1-7).

     40:15-20 – The Shepherd is Incomparable.” To whom shall ye liken me.” The nations are a drop in a bucket they are small compared to the greatness of God (40:15, 17). There are not enough magnificent cedars of  sufficient to burn an offering the size the Lord deserves (40:16). Twice we are asked, “To whom or to what will you compare Him?” (40:18, 25). We have nothing as awesome to compare him with. Our mind cannot comprehend his greatness, we have no adequate words to describe him. When men make an image of God is futile and ridiculous, he is too awesome, no one knows what he looks like (40:19-20). Idol makers make fragile gods that can fall and break or if made of wood can be burnt but our God is a consuming fire.  Our god weighs out the heavens and He is so huge they only fit in the palm of his hand. (40:21-22). Idolatry, or trust in men and governments, will not save us but the God of creation can. (40:26; Romans 1:20).

     40:21-26 – The Shepherd is the Creator. Isaiah says creation demonstrates God’s greatness. He “made all things, sustains all things, rules all things (v. 21-25). God did create “bara” means “make something out of nothing,” or “to bring it into being, into existence.” (Genesis 1-2), Only God can manufacture the material universe and set natural process in motion, its laws, the complex mathematical calculations, the life on earth and rule it (Col. 1:16-20). He alone shapes the baby in the womb “Ps 139.” Only he creates a soul. Only he sets in motion the galaxies, to give time, and our season, our oxygen, our food. Acts 14 Only he can give eternal life. Only he is sinless and can provide forgiveness for us, through  the sacrifice of his Son on the Cross at Calvary. Only he can raise the dead back to life. (John 10). Only he can create a new heaven and earth. .

      He controls everything. You do not. You don’t know what a day will bring forth. You can’t stop the rain or make the sun to shine. You are too small, just a sheep. You need him to handle everything life throws at you. You are a helpless sheep. Stop wandering, stop relying on yourself for every responsibility and expectation that is before you? When are you going to run to the Lord and cast your cares on him (1 Peter 5:8)?

The Comforting Shepherd Saviour 27-31

      This great shepherd has time for you and me our way is not hid from Him. (40:27).  God is  the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is wearynever weary (40:28).

Vs 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Trust Him and He will give you  strength to go on in spite of the difficulties. (40:29-31; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

     Resting in the Great Shepherd

      As you live in him, He enables you to be strengthened and go on by his power. You have access to divine ultimate power and strength found only in Christ Jesus. Colossians 2:6-7, 9-10.  We rest in the finished work of Christ as Lord and Saviour. He gives us strength for today. Some of the Lords people go through very difficult times, times of testing of their faith. Others may Have little trouble or sickness in life. Others have doubts and find it difficult to trust the Lord. Others lean on our own understanding, instead of in Jesus Himself.  Faith is simply trusting it rests on the object or person outside ourselves. Faith believes what Jesus says. When we rest in him we believe he is in control. To lie down in green pastures is to rest in him. You  “Cast all your care on him because he careth for you.”  You may be tossed about by your emotions, or be going through a storm in life, you may have struggles, but you continue to rest in him and believe he will make it turn out or your good. (Rom. 8:28). He is your shepherd, you belong to him. Life and circumstance may change and fluctuate but “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Heb. 13:8). He is the faithful Shepherd. You can rest on him, depend upon him.  He loves you so much he gave his life for you.

“The Lord is my Shepherd I Shall Not Want, He leadeth me” Psalm 23:1 No 2

“The Lord is my Shepherd I Shall Not Want, He leadeth me” Psalm 23

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“The Lord is my shepherd.” Our heavenly Father loves and cares for us. David wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; about gods care for us. He reflects his own personal experiences and assurance of Jehovah’s care for his people.

“I shall not want.” Jesus has plenty, he is the source and supply. Every good and every perfect gift cometh from above. God promised to supply the Jews needs as they stayed in obedience to him. He was faithful to his promise. He promised to supply every need according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” I shall not want because the lord supplies every provision. He will not supply our greed, he will not supply if we neglet him or his word. He is no respecter of persons and will supply for each of his sheep. The sheep were first to do as Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” and concerning material necessities he added that his Heavenly Father knew we have need of these. (Matt. 6:33).  The material needs of the Christian were in a position of secondary importance.  The prodigal son found himself in want because he went away from the father. It was not the fathers fault. He wandered from the fold and the fathers care. He got further and further away from the father but the father still loved him and went out every to see if he was returning. The rich young man found himself in want of salvation. He could have entered the fold and been saved, but would not.  Sometimes we do not get our needs met because of unbelief, disobedience because we lack in some way. God will give the same patient and attentive care of his followers as the shepherd of his flock and because of this the shepherd provided for all “wants.” is the present tense; as in a habitual experience. David is saying my LORD will supply all my needs in life. It says about the prodigal, “And when he began to be in want.” He wasn’t aware he was in so great need until this moment. He was disobedient and selfish and wandered away fro his fathers fold and care. He wanted to do his own thing and got further and further away from God and the fold. The Father love had not changed, he went out every day to see if he could see his son coming home. He loved him and longed for him to come home so that he could bless him. But the son lay there in with the pig  in a far country in want. If you are that way say, “I will arise and go to my Father.”

THE Apostle Paul wrote: “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19). David knew he would not be in want or lacking that which is needful. He was confident in Jehovah, Paul was also confident that God, our Heavenly Father, would supply all our needs, “by Christ Jesus.” They both see Jehovah as the Great Shepherd, and Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Paul knew the Father, would supply by, or through, the Son.—1 Cor. 8:6. “And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work:” 9 Cor. 9:8. It is all of grace it is trusting God to supply all your need.

“I shall not want.” Provision for now and eternity.

Great men have influenced history and lead us into all sorts of places, through science, knowledge, philosophy, politic knowledge. Men like Einstein,  Copernicus, Hitler, Churchill with their theories and we find ourselves not in places of “still waters and rest and refreshment“ but in a world of greed, of wars, of tears, of unhappiness, of fear, of unrest of endless searching for the utopia they look for.

Our Good shepherd is leading us to “an inheritance, incorruptible, and undefiled that fadeth not away, reserved for us” 1 Pet. 1:4.

I am rich beyond description, God made me his beneficiary. He leads me to divine benefits, our future inheritance is “incorruptible and undefiled.”

Peter is encouraging the suffering saints, giving them hope.

Our Shepherd is leading us , we have not yet arrived.

He provides for us in time, he gives us joy amidst the sorrow, hope when things look grim, laughter amidst the tears, forgiveness instead of judgement, eternal life now, sonship, favour, a plan for our lives, food , clothing, shelter.

Our shepherd blesses us now with gifts, pleasures, the armour of God, abilities to serve him.

Our shepherd leads us into the future To a place beyond description where there “pleasure forever more.”  “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard the thing that God has prepared for them who love him.” To a place beyond description provide. We run out of thoughts and ides. He leads us to limitless infinite joy.

Our shepherd bestows upon us riches in the future, he owns everything and we share it with him, “we are co-hers with Christ.”

Our shepherd has future plans for you to rule with him.

The good Shepherd says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust corrupt, and thieves break in and steal.”

We have a bright future beyond the grave.

Led by the wrong things

Some of the Lords people are led by feelings, emotions, providences, circumstances, dreams or visions.   These are not the leading of the Spirit.  He will always lead us into truth and lead us to glorify Christ.

Led by The Love of Money

“I shall not want”. God will supply all your need.  The following is a quote from Rev. Johnston Hamilton Road Bangor “Godliness with contentment is great gain.  1  Timothy 6 Paul warning for those who want to be rich and says this is the mark of true godliness. He says in vs 9-10 that those want to be rich vs 9 and those who are eager for by the love of money vs 10 are in great peril it will lead to because the love of money will lead to temptation, it leads to harmful desire, destruction, abandonment from them the faith and ultimately estrangement from God. The love of money springs from our sinful heart. 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  The love of money  leas us instead of God. We love things and are lead by things not from the good shepherd. We become discontented with his leading. It is a problem of the heart.

Sinful affections for money are strengthened by false teachers and shepherds leading us away from God, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmising’s, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” 6:3-5. They were in it for the money. It’s not just the Tele evangelists there is a glut of Christian novelties and trinkets, Jesus jewellery, wristbands, T shirts, prayer and praise pots, Jesus bible belt buckles, bumper stickers, Christians soap, Christian dolls, a small toy called a scapegoat that Christians who are annoyed or angry can take  can take out their pent up frustrations. But its Christian merchandise, its about making money. To make money central. People in the world think Christianity is all about money.

Sinful affections lead to ruin and destruction. People who are eager for money temptation  vs 9-10. Notice the progression first there is the desire, then there is the temptation to get rich by some improper means, ten it leads to ruin and destruction. Notice its not the people who are rich but people whom have a love affair with money makes them want to be richer than what they already are. The wander away from the faith and impaled themselves on a thorn. Ananias and Saphira whose love of money lead them into the sin of hypocrisy. Or Demas who fell in love with this present world, or Judas a follower of Jesus who sold the Lord for thirty pieces of silver and was he not pierced with bitter grief and took his own life. It cannot only lead you to mess up your marriage or business. Paul says flee covetousness.    When you are driven to run after more money, a bigger house a bigger car, to get rich quick, by investing for quick returns.

Let the good Shepherd lead you. Keep eternity in view.But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 6:6. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” Vs 7. Two real truths we bring nothing in to this life and we take nothing out. Job the richest man on earth said, we come in with nothing and we leave with nothing. Food, clothing shelter should make us content. Our good Shepherd will satisfy all our needs keep your eyes on him. Phillipians 4:9-13 “ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest,  whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

The God the good shepherd who richly provides will keep you from sinful affections for money stay with humble hope in God. Those who are rich must hope in God.  “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. Vs 17-19. Money produces power and pride, do you not find pride when you have saved something, it gives poer and pride. Paul says don’t let it happen.  Share your wealth with others, Use it to lay up treasures for heaven , Jesus said use your money for Gods glory. Only this will be rewarded in eternity.” End quote. We live in a very rich society let us thank God for what we have.  We are still among the richest people in the world. People are living on rubbish dumps, in card board homes, some live on the streets on Delhi. Millions have not enough food. We are rich in this present world. We have the best health care, food, homes, affluence, shopping malls. But the more money we have the less we trust in God. Use what God has given you wisely. Be content with the simple necessities of life. Trust God to provide. Bless others generously.

“He leadeth me”. 

Each day the shepherd would stand at the sheep fold if his sheep were there He would call them and they would come the sheep belonging to the other shepherd would not respond. They would gather round his feet and he would lead them out. They know the shepherds voice “and a stranger they will not follow: but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of a stranger” (John 10:4-5). “He goes before them.. He gently leads those that are with young.” They follow him. He will not force you or drive you but encourage you to willingly follow him.

Our Leader

HE leadeth me.”  He leads him through the fields and meadows to feed, through the dangerous places to get to better pasture land, to trees or large rocks to shelter from the noonday sun. “The Lord is my rock” my fortress, my place of protection. He leads me back into the fold when it gets dark and lies at the door and protects me. He will encourage us when we straggle or get behind or lift us if we fall into a ditch or get caught up in a thorn bush of sin. He is our Divine leader and protector. Our Heavenly Father assures us he will lead and protect us. He watches over us. He is the Great Shepherd caring for his sheep.

He supply’s our food and clothing, the material things, when in trouble when things are well. (Phil. 4:12). He leads me to Still Waters – The paths of peace. He give me a peace that the world cannot know.

 

The ones he leads. “he leadeth ME”.  It is personal. He is interested in me and were I am going in life. That’s why I pray and ask him to show me his will. He leads me because I am willing to follow. I keep my eyes on him.

Where he leads me. “in the paths of righteousness.”  It is plural. He will make a way when there is no other way. He will lead me in the right paths. Sometimes we follow the advice of people and it can be wrong but he is always right.

“He leads me.”

Sometimes he leads me to still waters, sometimes he leads me through the valley of the shadows of death. Sometimes he lead me to give sometimes he leads me to receive.  I wish to illustrate this with a true story of a pastor friend and myself. I was invited to speak at my wonderful friends Pastor Neville Gritt at the Tabernacle Sarasota Florida.  I was staying with a beautiful couples home and when it came time for me to leave they wanted to run me to the airport. However Neville wanted to run me to the airport which was north of Orlando, miles away. He said “Come to the church office at 10 in the morning and we would go up and have lunch on the way. I arrived at 10 but Neville was held back as a couple had come for marriage counsel. Neville said “I won’t be long Robert” I waited almost two hours. He apologized and we got in the car and began to make our way up the highway towards Tampa.  We got caught in a tailback that was 15 miles long south of Tampa. I could see Neville grip the steering wheel tighter and his leg began to get more rapid as he fidgeted.  He decided we should take a detour and of to the west of Tampa and makes our way up on other roads. After an hour of passing villages he had never seen before, Indian communities, black communities, we were lost. I suggested we stop and get something to eat and buy a map. It was now 1.15 pm I had to be in the airport at 12 noon as it was an international flight. We bought food and a map and found we were too far west and we began correcting our journey. I got to the plane which was to leave at 3.00 pm, but all the gates at the airport were shut, it was 3.15. We implored a lady security officer to let us in or get in touch with the Pilate. The large plane was late but ready to roll on to the tarmac.  The Pilate was descent enough to let me on. Phew! I got to my destination. If we had not bought that map I would have missed my flight. God has provided a map for us, His Word that will show us were we are in life and were we can move to. The Holy Spirit is our guide who will lead us and guide us if we consult him Oh, by the way, Neville and I have been in some funny and weird situations in USA, Mexico, Belfast, Donegal, etc.

He may lead you to green pastures, or to a place of peace and security, He may lead you through rough terrain to along a mountain side.  Some times he will lead you to a place of rest. You may say I don’t want to rest, I am too busy, I have too much to do. However He can see further ahead, he may see a mountain path and know you wont make it unless you rest, He can see further ahead than the sheep, he knows what is ahead of you. Keep yur eyesm on the Shepherd He know what is ahead of you, listen to his voice.

The Leading of the Spirit

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”-ROM. viii. 14.

The “leading of the Holy Spirit.” ” Luke’s account of our Lord’s temptation that He was “led by the Spirit in the wilderness during forty days, being tempted of the devil,” where our own term is used Our Lord said, “when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He shall guide you into all the truth.” he wanted to leave words of comfort to His disciples” It would be “guidance into truth” by the Holy Spirit is something very different from the “leading of the Spirit” The only other passage which speaks of the “leading of the Spirit” is in Gal. v. i8, Paul says, “But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The Spirits leading is not some mystical experience, not a feeling, not a hit and miss thing. Some people have made a mess of other peoples lives by telling them the Spirit led them to say a thing or do a thing.

“As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” The leading of the Spirit of God is for every child of God not just some special people. They are different from those who are no Christians. They live their lives according to the Spirit of God, for they are the sons of God and are led by the Spirit of God. “But if any one hath not the Spirit of Christ, that one is not His.”  It is for the common needs of Gods people who can cry, Abba, Father.

The Spirit is our shepherd who leads us through difficulties, dangers, trials or sufferings of this life, He also feeds aus and leads us into all truth but specifically to enable us to conquer sin.

The presence of the Spirit within us breaks us from the bondage of sin and by him we are emancipated from sin and are no longer debtors to live according to the flesh.

He leads us into a deeper walk with God. He enable s us to fight the good fight of faith. He helps us daily. The “leading of the Holy Spirit” makes us better Christians, he sanctifies us. He conforms us into the image of His Son.

The leading of the Holy Spirit is for spiritual and eternal good. He helps to work all things out for good for those who love God. He makes all our troubles, pressures, circumstances work out for good. He leads us through the trials, the sufferings, the depressing times, the losses, the despair and guides through them. He has eternity in view. He even takes our weakness, our failure, our weaknesses and makes it work together for good. He leads us in the paths of righteousness, holiness and truth.

He guides us in our daily lives. We are not left to drift aimlessly through life He directs our paths. We are not left to wander, in this world the Spirit s leading us in the right paths. We must not go our own way or be lead by feelings or emotions or men. We are sons of God and are “led by the Spirit of God.” He will not lead us into sin, or places we should not be or do things we should not do, or lead us against what scriptures say. He will lead us in truth.

He leads us to renewal, to refreshment of soul. He leads us to overcome. He leads us to Jesus. He is to control our activities.  Spiritual men are led by the Spirit carnal men are led by the flesh.

The one who is led by the Spirit should do and should goes as He directs.  We must obey Him. Those who are led by the Spirit of God are under the control of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit leads, governs, controls us, guides us.

The Spirit of God directs our paths. He can see ahead and knows in advance what to do. He knows the pitfalls, the ravines, the rough road ahead. He is aware of the dangers.  He can lead s through. He has the power to defeat any enemy, Satan and death included. He leads the sons of God. He leads them on the right paths and keeps them on the right paths, “Kept by the power of God.”
He continues to influence us to stay on the right paths. He causes us to progress and advance. He gives us great fire of hope and confidence because we know he is in us.

All who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs With Christ Jesus. This power is the Spirit of the most high God. “If God be for us who can be against us?” Let our hearts repeat this cry of victory to-day.

We live and go forward in hope and triumph in Christ. We are to keep on fighting the fight of faith. The victory is assured. The Holy Spirit within us cannot fail us. The way may be rough; circumstances may be against us, the path may have pitfalls, but the Holy Spirit is leading us. This gives us triumph and strength to go forward. He is the Spirit whose fruit is “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Gal. 5:22-23. This is true health and wealth.

The Lord is my Shepherd vs 1 Part 2

What does God call False Shepherds

God describes them who we should know by their actions and words. He describes some of their characteristics:

The Bible refers to both good shepherds and bad shepherds. The same is also true today. Ezekiel prophesied against false shepherds. Much of chapter 34 deals with the subject. He says, “The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: (vv 1, 2).

Ezekiel received a clear word from God for the false shepherds of his time.

1. What the shepherds did.

“Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock “ (v 2).

Rather than caring for the flock, the shepherds cared for themselves. Jesus, the supreme good shepherd, gave his life for the sheep. The true pastors give their life for the sheep but false shepherds did the exact opposite. They took the sheep’s lives for themselves. Today they want your money, your adoration. The sheep used the sheep to give make themselves fat and well off, and their wool to keep them warm.

What the false shepherds did not do:

“You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally (v 4).

The sheep were weak because the shepherds did not feed them. They do not “study to show yorself approved a workman that needeth not be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth.” False shepherds have no spiritual food to give their sheep they say “I have a word from the Lord” or “The Lord told me” but they don’t teach the Word of god. The sheep were sick because the shepherds did not look after them. The sheep were lost because the shepherds did not search for them. Instead of being willing to serve the sheep, they wanted to rule over them.  The Christian world today is littered with sick Christians, no Biblical knowledge, no Godly convictions. The tickle peoples ears with their teaching and give them a mixture of some scripture and worldly concepts.

The Results of the Teaching of the False Shepherds

“So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no-one searched or looked for them” (vv 5, 6).

The sheep were scattered all over the place, not committed to the one good shepherd and sheep that love God and His Word. So they became a prey to every wild animal. The wolf, the bear, the lion would devour them

False shepherds/ pastors or ministers are the exact opposite of our good Shepherd. Jesus cared or the sheep and searched for the lost sheep till he found it. False shepherds do not care about lost sheep.

Jesus healed the sheep that were sick. False shepherds do not care for their suffering.  They say if you are not healed it is because of lack faith or there is sin in your life.

Jesus gave his own life to save the sheep. False shepherds take the life of the sheep to feed themselves.  The take their money, their strength and leave them when they have nothing left to give. things

False shepherds rule over the sheep. The are butchers walking behind the sheep driving them to the slaughter. The true shepherd leads the sheep protects the sheep and serves them.

False shepherds have no real love for the flock. They only love themselves, they love what they can get from the flock. They are only interested in what they can get from the sheep or their own position and prosperity. They grow rich and become fat at the expense of the sheep. Rather than not face danger to protect the sheep they run away. They are not willing to lay down their lives.

God calls them Beasts of the field and forest,   Isa.56:9-11, Dogs  Isa.56:10, Merchants 2Pet.2:1-3, Zech.14:21. Idols  Zech.10:2-3Goats  Zech.10:3, Clouds without water  Jude 12, Raging Waves  Jude 13, Trees without fruit  Jude 12,  Matt.7:17-20, Wandering Stars  Jude 13, Wolves  Ez.22:26-28, Zeph.3:1-4, Matt.7:15, Acts 20:29-30, Young Lions  Zech.11:3-5

Believers are to avoid such people.

False Shepherds

1.     Deut.18:22 If a proclamation is made in the name of the LORD does not come true you have a False Prophet.

2.     Titus1:11 They do what they do for the sake of dishonest gain. They love money and you have and are false shepherds.

3.     2 Jn.1:9 They love to have the prominent place to be noticed  and crave the attention. They love to promote their name and ministry and have no accountability. They usually lord it over the flock and don’t want them to mix with other believers who  know the truth. hey will watch every move they make.

4.     1 Tim.6:4 They divert attention away from the main issues surrounding their sin by stirring up evil suspicions against those who would expose them. The motive is to keep the money flowing into  their ministry. They live in expensive homes, buy expensive cars.

5.     Rev.2:2 They stretch the truth and tell lies and even submit to a statement of faith or te Westminster confession of fait butdont rally believe it.

6.     They quote and associate with people who have non biblical ministries nd even support them.

7. 2Cor.11:14 They dress up fine, smell good, smile a lot, masquerading as a servant of righteousness. Their end will be what they deserve!
The characteristics of a good pastor/elder are found in 1 Tim 3 and Titus1

1Thes.5:21 “prove all things, hold fast to that which is good”

There are many voices calling to the sheep today. Jesus warned, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
—Matthew 7:15 Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Matt. 7:15). The warning was important because Jesus later said to them: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16). The apostle Paul, with a deeply troubled spirit and in tears, penned a similar warning: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29). Paul warns, “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers … Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.” —Titus 1:10,11 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” (2nd Corinthians 11:13). Throughout church history these warnings concerning professing Christians who deceive even the elect have seldom been taken seriously. The church has lost its ability to discern the truth. They cannot discern truth from error but also to discern wolves from sheep?

The good pastor/shepherds refuse to leave their defenseless sheep alone at night … so should we be on guard to warn others about Satanic workers who appear as true believers. We should warn everybody we can! They are asked to follow this ministry or that ministry, this teaching or that teaching, this person or that person. It can become very confusing. Whose voice do you listen to—that of your Shepherd or those of men or the world? Do you follow what he says? You must learn to recognize the voice of your Shepherd when He is speaking to you through His Word. Can you honestly, “The Lord is my shepherd”?

Psalm 78:70–72, says, He [God] chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of His heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands. Many wolves in sheep’s clothing teach the sheep that they can be born into the flock of God by a ritual performed by older black rams. Some wolves teach the sheep how they can all get along in the pasture of their fathers. Other wolves in sheep’s clothing in these folds teach that the natural chosen flock of God was totally replaced by a spiritual flock And then we saw the rejection of the true shepherd.

The Rejection of the True Shepherd

In Zechariah 9:4-14, he tells us that Judas would betray Jesus verses 12 to 14 for 30 pieces of silver, cast in the house of the Lord, ultimately given to a potter. All of that was fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ.

He goes onto tell about the wailing of shepherds who have been ravaged and destroyed because when the true shepherd comes, they won’t receive him. He goes and acts it out in verses 4 to 14. In verse 15, he talks about the reaction of the false shepherd how that they would reject the true shepherd, and ultimately a false one. The ani-christ.

When Jesus came into the world, they refused Jesus.  They crucified Him about 30 A.D. About forty years later, 70 A.D., the prophecy of this chapter was fulfilled. The land was wiped out. And that came because they rejected the true shepherd.

verse 15 God told him to take the instruments of a foolish shepherd, put on a stupid shepherd costume and tells him that before the destruction of Jerusalem, God will appear in the person of Christ to shepherd Israel. He said the poor of the flock will receive the word of the true shepherd and the rest will reject Him and the good shepherd king would be valued no more than a slave and they’d sell Him cheap. And as a result of that, God would come against them in judgment, death, famine, war, civil strife, and their nation would be destroyed. The awful thing is when the false shepherd comes along, they’re going to accept him.

verse 15, He is to act out the character of the false shepherd, the antichrist. “And the Lord said to me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish (wicked) shepherd.”  He is full of iniquity a wicked, evil shepherd. These instruments are the opposite to the rod and staff that comfort. He devours and slaughters, he’s a butcher Revelation 17 He slaughters two out of every three Jews.

His work in verse 16. “For lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land.” God permits this shepherd to even arise. God allows those things to occur.

“He will not visit those that are cut off.” When the sheep are dying because they are being attacked by wild beasts, separated from the lock and wounded he is not interested. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t go out to defend them or help them. He is unconcerned and doesn’t take care of them. The true shepherd, on the other hand goes and finds the sheep that was wounded and was lost. The one that got separated from the flock. The false shepherd does not care.

He has no concern for the little lamb who are the ones who gets lost, those that are injured or fall in a ditch or caught in a thicket. The true shepherd leaves the 99 and goes after the one.

He doesn’t heal the broken limbs, the broken hearted. A good shepherd would make a splint to provide for the broken leg. This shepherd isn’t interested in binding the broken leg.

“Nor feed that which stands still”. He doesn’t care about the fit sheep either. This shepherd is useless. He’s  the opposite of a true shepherd, he is unconcerned about th e lambs and the sheep. He wont bind their wounds or fix broken bones. He doesn’t even feed the sheep.

Vs 16 “He eats the flesh of the fat sheep.” He eats his own flock. He eats them instead of feeding them. The Antichrist will do this to Israel. This is the warning Jesus gave in Matthew 24, “Run for the mountains when it happens.” There is an awful slaughter.

“It shall come to pass, two parts in the land shall be cut off and die, the third shall be left and even the third shall go through fire and refine as silver and gold.” Zech 13:8. He’s going to kill two out of every three. Jew and Gentile believers, every one that doesn’t take his mark,  will be slaughtered. God in His mercy spares one third of Israel, hiding them away in Edom.

“And tear their hoofs (claws) in pieces.” He tares them apart and even eats the hoofs, he consumes every last bit.

This is the shepherd that they want and they turned their back on the real one. He loved them and the rejected him. One day they will repent and look upon him whom they have pierced. Then all Israel will be saved.

The doom of the false shepherd. verse 17. “Woe, worthless shepherd, forsaker of the flock, woe worthless shepherd, forsaker of the flock.” God curses him and will judge him and cast him into the Lake of Fire. “The sword shall be upon his arm and on his right eye. His arm shall be completely dried up and his right eye utterly darkened.”  His strength will be cut off  and his mind darkened.

 

David’s final triumphant declaration? Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  v.6. Romans 8:28–39, he had a real relationship with God we need the same now as well as their future hope. He had great confidence, the assurance of comfort in God and we need it today also. His faith rested in the fact that God was present with him, in life, in death, and throughout all eternity. Jesus is not just “with us” as we pass through the valley of the shadow of death. He has gone before us. He has already passed through death and defeated it. He experienced death, suffered the penalty for our sins, and then rose from the dead. Jesus leads us through death. He rose from the dead.