Psalm 23: Sheep Talking

February 3, 2015

“The Lord is my Shepherd…”   (Psalm 23:1)

God created you and me to be men and women who make choices.  God very much wants to be our Shepherd, but we must choose to make God our Shepherd.  We must deliberately choose to say, “baa!” and become one of the sheep of His pasture.

Can you declare the first five words of this great Shepherd Psalm as a personal confession of faith? Can you, yourself, personally confess with authentic faith, “the Lord is my Shepherd?”

People touch  me as they describe the way the Lord came into their lives, made them lie down and say, “baa!”  I am frequently concerned, however, when I fail to hear how that relationship is working in their lives today.  One of David’s most remarkable declarations in this psalm is that the blessings provided by his Shepherd-God are in place ‘all the days of my life.’

Be sure to make the observation that David’s great profession of faith is not, “The Lord was my Shepherd,” but that “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

When the Lord makes you to lie down and confess, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” you are also confessing that you are a sheep.  It’s  not very flattering when God tells us we are like sheep.  Sheep are not very smart… they are so ignorant they are completely helpless and hopeless without their shepherd. Yet, the Word of God clearly tells us that God wants to hear us agree with His appraisal of ourselves and confess, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.”  (Isaiah 53:6)

Years ago, I was out of bed at an early hour.  When my wife woke up, she asked why I was getting up at 4:30a.m.  I told her what I had read during my devotions: “When you wake up, get up, and when  you get up, do something for God and for His lambs!”  She responded, “baa!”  She was reminding me of something busy pastors often forget – that she and our five children are also His lambs.

Psalm 23 is filled with sheep talk that shows us that God wants to hear every one of us say, “baa!”

Dick Woodward, from Psalm 23 Sheep Talk

 

 


A Prayer for the Dark Valleys

October 21, 2014

“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.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”   (Psalm 23:4-5)

In your dark valleys, learn to pray in this manner:  “As I enter this valley, Lord, I will not be paralyzed by fear, because I believe You are with me.  Your ability to protect me and lead me through this valley is a comfort to me.  I know that in the darkest and scariest part of this valley, in the middle of all the life threatening danger, You will spread a table of provision for me.

I am trusting You completely to anoint me with the oil of Your individualized, personalized and attentive care.  I believe you will give me mercy for my failures and the grace I need to help me in my time of need.  You will also pursue me like a ‘Hound of Heaven’ with Your goodness, unconditional love and acceptance, when I wander away from Your loving care.”

Finally, thank your Good Shepherd-God that you can trust Him to lead you through this life to unbroken fellowship with Him forever in Heaven; to the green pastures that never turn brown, the still waters that never become disturbed, and the cup that never empties.

Offer this prayer to “the God of peace, Who brought up from the dead that great Shepherd of sheep, Who through the blood of the everlasting covenant, can make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”  (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Dick Woodward, from Psalm 23 Sheep Talk


Metamorphosis

July 30, 2013

“…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”          . (1Corinthians 15:50)

Another arresting statement made by Paul in his great resurrection chapter is that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, because corruption cannot inherit incorruption.  What Paul means by this statement is that we cannot go to heaven with a physical body.  When God decides that He wants us in heaven, He must perform a metamorphosis on us that prepares us to spend eternity with Him in heaven.  God works that miracle metamorphosis through our death and resurrection.

As Paul describes the resurrection of believers at the time of the second coming of Jesus Christ he also tells us that those who are living when Jesus returns will be changed.  They must be changed because they cannot enter into heaven with their physical bodies.  They, too, must experience a miracle metamorphosis to prepare them for heaven.

Here Paul is declaring a sixth eternal value:  our heavenly bodies will be so much greater than our physical bodies we must experience a metamorphosis to live forever in heaven.  This is just one more way the Scripture consistently tells us that heaven is greater than earth and the best things in life for believers await them in the eternal dimension of life.

The Shepherd Psalm of David tells us that God makes us lie down to discover the green pastures and still waters of life.  But, then we get up again and the green pastures turn brown and the still waters become disturbed.  Many see a metaphor of the believer’s death as the Great Shepherd coming into our life making us lie down in death that He might give us the green pastures that never turn brown and the still waters that never become disturbed in heaven.


To it or Through it?

March 16, 2013

“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.”  (Psalm 23:4)

The great Shepherd psalm of David is the most familiar chapter in the Bible.  It is loved by Jews, Catholics and all the shades and grades of Protestants.  Psalm 23 is the greatest description ever written of what the relationship between God and man can be.

After declaring that his God makes him lie down in green pastures and leads him beside still waters David also declares there to be times when he finds himself in a valley that is so dark it is like the shadow of death.  However, he is comforted by the staff of his Shepherd.  He is referencing the confidence he has in the ability of his Shepherd to lead him through that valley, not just to that valley.

He is also comforted by the rod of his Shepherd.  The rod of a shepherd was a defensive weapon used to keep predators away from the sheep.  David is saying here that he has great confidence in the ability of his Shepherd to protect him from anything he might encounter in that valley.

The bottom line is that David knows his Shepherd God can not only lead him to a valley but through that valley.

Are you in a valley right now?  If you are, realize your Shepherd God wants to lead you through that valley.  Trust His perfect ability to lead and protect you all the way through your valley.

Faith nearly always involves choices.  The choice is yours. So, which is it going to be?  Is it going to be “To it, or through it?”