The Lord is My Shepherd vs 1 Part 1

Shepherding Gods Flock Psalm 23

Throughout the bible we read of shepherd’s simply because the land of Israel is an agricultural country, so sheep and shepherds were abundant. The first time we read of a keeper of the sheep is in Genesis 4:2 “And Abel was a keeper of the sheep. The last reference is found in 1 Peter 5:4 “And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” The most precious gem concerning the shepherd is to be found in Psalm 23. Here we read about the good shepherd caring for his sheep, protecting them and guiding them. This Psalm is the “pearl of the psalms”. It is the most quoted piece of literature in the world. This psalm is a favourite, especially when one brought fact to face with the grim reality of death. It describes, in poetic terms, the peace and confidence which David has, in the face of adversity and opposition from his enemies, and even death. death normally produces fear, and not faith. David’s faith, as expressed in Psalm is not natural, but supernatural. Facing death today is a fearful experience but to we can identify with David, and the peace and security which he knew and cherished. Paul says, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13).

The Book of Psalms gives amazing insights into life, needs, feelings and emotions.  It speaks of the blessed times of gods provision, the joys of life, the lows of life, the elation and the despair. You discover your own feelings and emotions here. The value of this Book of Psalms is that it provides for our emotions and feelings the same kind of guidance as other Scriptures provide for our faith and actions” . “The Lord is shepherding me.”  He is right now at work looking after me now, providing, protecting, nurturing, caring, and guiding us to our destination. The Lord, Jesus Christ calls believers “My sheep” because the Father gave us to Him (John 17:12) and because He willingly laid down His life for us.

Psalm 23 we find the covenant names of Jehovah God. The first one is done for you as an example.

Psalm 23 God’s Name My Blessing

vv.1–2: I shall not want; Genesis 22:14 –He makes me to lie down Jehovah-Jireh He will provide for me in green pastures

v. 2: He leads me beside Judges 6:24 –still waters Jehovah-Shalom

v. 3: He restores my soul Exodus 15:26 –Jehovah-Rophe

v. 3: He leads me in the Jeremiah 33:16 –paths of righteousness Jehovah-Tsidkenu

v. 4: Yea, though I walk Ezekiel 48:35 –through the valley. . . Jehovah-Shammah

You are with me

v. 5: You prepare a table Exodus 17:15 –before me in the presence Jehovah-Nissi

of my enemies

v. 5: You anoint my head Leviticus 20:8 –with oil Jehovah-M’Kaddesh

Abundance, rest, protection, restoration, keeping to the right path—all these are the

responsibility of the shepherd. The shepherd goes to the limits to protect his sheep as they face moments of great need and peril.

Verse vv. 4–6 David’s fear of death was gone because he was assured of God’s presence. David moves from the metaphor of a shepherd with his flock to a gracious host meeting the needs of his traveling guest so they will lack nothing. David stops talking about God and speaks directly with God. Surrounded by his enemies, David is confident that God is working all things together for his good.

He found comfort and freedom from fear in the presence of God.

The act of anointing the head with oil (v.5) was to symbolize the heart being revived in the face of great need. What difference would the certainty of God’s presence make?

He found comfort and freedom from fear in the presence of God.

The act of anointing the head with oil (v.5) was to symbolize the heart being revived in the face of great need. What difference would the certainty of God’s presence make?

The overflowing cup (v.5) signified the abundant supply of God’s divine grace (that which

is beautiful and pleasant) in every situation. Here the expression is used to convey

David’s confidence that God would forever show him favour based on His covenant loveDavid’s confidence that God would forever show him favor based on His covenant love


The Shepherds Cloths and Equipment

He would often wear a long robe and a fleece coat over it. During the day the natural oil in kept him cool  It kept him warm during the cold nights. He reversed it at night so that the wool was on the inside to keep him warm. 

The Rod and Staff.  The two of the most important tools of a Shepherd were the rod and staff. The rod was a stick about a yard/meter long with a knob on one end, while the staff, or “shepherd’s crook,” looked somewhat like a modern cane, although sometimes longer.

The Rod was a weapon for the protection of the sheep. The staff was or rescuing sheep when they got into trouble, this guide them. The shepherd boy took great pride in the selection of a rod and staff. He selects a young sapling cuts it, carves it leaving a large base where it joins the roots. The sapling is shaped to the shepherds hands.  He then spends hours practicing with the club,, throwing it with amazing speed and accuracy. It becomes his main weapon of defense for himself and the sheep. It became a symbol of his strength and authority. He relied upon it to safeguard both himself and his flock when in danger.

It was also the instrument he used to discipline and correct any wayward sheep that insisted on wandering away.

The following are snippets from Phillip Kellers book on Psalm 23. The rod is used by the shepherd to discipline his sheep. To bring it under his authority and control, to be subject to him. He would also take his rod and part the sheep’s wool to determine the condition of the skin, the cleanliness of the fleece and the conformation of the body. He would examine each sheep individually, searching to find flaws.

This rod is an instrument of protection both for himself and his sheep when they are in danger. It is used both as a defense and a deterrent against anything that would attack.

The skilled shepherd uses his rod to drive off predators like wolves, wild beasts and stray dogs.  Drive away snakes and other creatures from disturbing the flock. David recounted how he used his rod to attack the lion and the bear that came to raid his flocks. “Thy rod … comfort(s) me.” It was the rod ever ready in the shepherd’s hand that had saved the day for us.

The shepherd’s staff identifies the shepherd as a shepherd. No one in any other profession carries a shepherd’s staff. It is uniquely an instrument used for the care and management of sheep — and only sheep. It is designed, shaped and adapted especially to the needs of sheep.

It is a symbol of the concern, the compassion that a shepherd has for his sheep. It is used to “comfort.” Whereas the rod conveys the concept of authority, of power, of discipline, of defense against danger, the word “staff” speaks of all that is longsuffering and kind.

The shepherd’s staff is normally a long, slender stick, often with a crook or hook on one end. It is selected with care by the owner; it is shaped, smoothed, and cut to best suit his own personal use.

He leans on it during the long weary watches with his sheep, he leans on it for support and strength. It becomes to him a most precious comfort and help in his duties.

He uses it to draw the sheep together into an intimate relationship. The shepherd will use his staff to gently lift a newborn lamb and bring it to its mother if they become parted. He does this because he does not wish to have the ewe reject her offspring if Rather, the tip of the long slender stick is laid gently against the animal’s side and the pressure applied guides the sheep in the way the owner wants it to go. Thus the sheep is reassured of its proper path.

Stubborn sheep often get into the most ridiculous and silly dilemmas.

Sometimes the sheep would find themselves stuck stuck in wild roses bushes or brambles where they had pushed in to find a few stray mouthfuls of green grass. Soon the thorns were so hooked in their wool they could not possibly pull free, tug as they might. They could not possibly pull free. Only the use of the staff could free them from their entanglement.” Phillip Keller

The sling is the weapon of offence. It was used to keep the enemy at bay. David’s Sling is also called Magic Wand and is Israeli Defense Forces military system designed to intercept medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles at ranges from 40 km to 300 km. David’s

The script. This is a bag made from the skin of goats. In it the shepherd carries small belongings and his food, He lives princely on berries and wild honey.

The bottle of hogs oil as protection against vipers.

A red flute with which he entertains himself and passes away the hours.

A lamp, this is a long lamp that folded like a Chinese lantern. Lighting the little oil inside the shepherd could see where he was going, one step at a time.

Vs 1 “The Lord is my shepherd”.

At a business man’s lunch, “I may know the Shepherd’s Psalm, but I now realize that this great man knows the psalm’s Shepherd!”  Nothing gives more peace and assurance that all is well between you and Him. Religion does not do that, fashionable or cool ideas, religious rituals, and cultural instructions cannot take the place of that personal relationship with our Father and Creator. Nothing gives greater satisfaction than knowing you belong to the Shepherd’s fold. Nothing is as more important than to follow the voice of our Shepherd. Nothing gives the joy of knowing he will supply all our needs. No experience can surpass our relationship with him. He will be with us regardless of what circumstances that come our way.

In the world of that day the shepherd rose early to move their flocks before the sun got too high before the heat was too intense. They moved out having total trust in their shepherd, trusting he would provide all their needs. In ancient Israel, a shepherd’s was 24/7 outdoors in the fields and the sheepfold with the sheep: nurturing, guiding, protecting, and calling each one by name. It was the lowliest  forms of and usually given to the youngest son, such as David, or if there was only one son then the daughter would be the shepherdess, such as Rachael the youngest daughter of Laban (Gen. 29:6), Jethro’s daughters looked after the sheep Ex. 2:16). In Exodus 3 Moses took the place of the daughters.  He like David had to learn to lead the sheep before they could lead the nation. Shepherds would often be away for weeks working from sunrise to sunset, it was a lonely life and he only companions they had were their sheep and occasionally meeting other shepherds. Our Lord was forsaken by all, he knew something about loneliness. They had to keep moving to fresh pastures.  It was a dirty and difficult and dangerous job. David wrote this psalm much later in life after becoming king. He had spent many years in this dangerous task and take him many years. He took the image of a loving, protective, guiding  nurturing, caring shepherd to God and, applied it to Gods people and the Divine shepherd. He saw them as wandering sheep who needed the care, protection and provision of a shepherd.

When David looked to the heaven and said “The Lord is my shepherd” He calls him Jehovah, God the Father. In John 10 when Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd it is the second person of the trinity. During the church age it is the Spirit who leads, us feeds, us guides us, protects us. The Godhead has a shepherd heart, he guides us least we go astray, he personally cares for us lest an hireling flees when trouble comes, he gives his life for the sheep, he protects them and is “the door” of the sheepfold” John 10:2, he keeps them secure and lets no man take them out of his hand John 10:27.  Caring for the sheep, providing for them, guiding them, protecting them, feeding them, correcting them.

Who are the sheep? Throughout scripture God’s people are likened to sheep. Sheep are helpless creature, defenceless creatures, they need a shepherd to care for all their needs.  We are like sheep sometimes we wander off, or we are food for false teachers (wild beasts), we need lifted up when we fall into a ditch. Sheep are interesting animals, they are not driven from behind, they are led; they respond to voice command. While often different flocks are housed mixed together in one sheepfold for the night, one of the shepherds will lie down across the open door to protect the flock from intruders. At first daylight, all the shepherds appear to call forth their sheep and, even though the flocks are mingled, each sheep will respond only to the voice of its own shepherd.

Christ’s sheep are those who hear his voice and follow him John 10:27, they know him John 10:14. They can say “The Lord is my shepherd.” Sheep cannot do anything for themselves—they are completely helpless, defenceless creatures, dependent entirely upon their shepherd for all of their needs. Sheep  have some similarities to human beings.

The shepherd has concern for each individual sheep, The Lord is my shepherd” . He calls his sheep by name John 10:3”He knows them” John 10:27, he goes to seek the “one that was lost” Luke 15:4.

When Paul wrote to the Ephesians he described shepherds as gifts that Jesus gave to the church. Pauls words were as follows: When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men. … It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be shepherds and teachers (Eph 4: 8, 11).

Good Pastors/elder

They are faithful men who look after the sheep. Men who can teach them. Men sufficient for the task. Men who don’t run away when the sheep are introuble.  They are men who have the gifts for the job and other recognizes them. Men of good character and seek to achieve the requirements set out in1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9.  They are men who have counted the cost and do not look back. They are willing to sacrifice. Some chacterristics

  1. The Lord is my shepherd. They now the Lord and have a personal relationship with him and know that he saved them.
  2. They know each individual sheep. The good Shepherd calls them byname John 10:3
  3. I shall not want. They are assured he will provide all their needs. They don’t abuse the sheep.
  4.  Rest. “He makes me lie down.” He tells us when to stop and rest in him. He does not the sheep to be exhausted serving the Lord. “Come apart and rest a while.”
  5. He provides spiritual food for the sheep. He feeds them. “Peter feed my sheep.”
  6. He refreshes them and encourages them “he restores my soul.”
  7. He guides them. “He leads me.” He does not drive them, he goes before and leads them.
  8. He instructs and trains them. 2 Tim. 3:16
  9. He disciplines them.  2 Tim. 3:16.
  10. He gives them security and protection. “I will fear no evil.” He watches for evil people who attack them.
  11.  He protects them from danger, from falling, from wolves. He guards their souls Hebrews 13:17.
  12. He fellowships with them “you are with me.” He spends time with them getting to know them and their problems. He lovingly cares for them.

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