This sermon was based on Psalm 23.
The Lord is my Shepherd
The Lord is an Abundant Provider
These verses major on experiences of plenty & Jesus takes up this theme. Matt. 6:31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” And in John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.”
Contentment is the outcome. Phil. 4:11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. It’s not just stuff – Food and Drink and cloths etc. but the good shepherd is interested in our total well being (23:2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 23:3 He renews my strength) Physical, mental and spiritual strength are all part of the provision of the good shepherd.
Our good shepherd doesn’t write us off when we struggle or are weak but he leads us beside peaceful streams and renews our strength (Soul). Matthew Henry said “God makes his saints to lie down; he gives them quiet and contentment in their own minds, whatever their lot is; their souls dwell at ease in him, and that makes every pasture green.”
The Lord is a Personal Protector
God is close beside us. Whether we are facing the final challenge of death or going through such physical or mental trials that it feels like death would be better, God promises to be close beside us.
God’s rod and staff protect and comfort us. The rod (a cudgel worn at the belt) and staff (to walk with, and to round up the flock) were the shepherd’s weapon and implement: the former for defence.
The Lord is the Ultimate Host
- God prepares a feast for us before our enemies. Tyndale: In the Old Testament world, to eat and drink at someone’s table created a bond of mutual loyalty. Jesus implied this at the Last Supper, when he announced, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood’
NT Wright “Most writers now agree that eating with sinners was one of the most characteristic and striking marks of Jesus’ regular activity. Jesus was, as it were, celebrating the Messianic banquet, and doing it with all the wrong people.”
God anoints our head with oil. The anointing of oil was the establishment of Kings. Amazing that this great host anoints our head. The result is that our cup overflows with blessing.
The Lord is the Eternal Guarantor
- ‘Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever. ‘
Rom. 8:38 ‘And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.’