WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY SERIES

 

THIS WEEKS MESSAGE:  The Shepherd Is My Guide For The Journey

           

 

PSALM 23:1-6 “A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 23:4 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.  23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

 

I sat down on my couch in the living room and tears were welling up fast in my eye.  It was only a second before I began sobbing.  How could I have been treated in that way?  Someone I trusted and help to climb up.  Someone I thought was my friend and trusted was just spreading rumors and gossip about me in order to ruin my reputation and the works God is doing trough me. Knowing my only option was to turn to God in such a time, I got hold of my bible and as I flip it open a familiar scriptures stood out “He restores my soul; He leadeth in the paths of righteousness for His name sake. 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.”

 

I said to myself could this surely be!  But as I was looking at the scripture the logic seemed inescapable.  The shepherd in the book of psalm was guiding His sheep in paths of righteousness, but this very path also seemed to wind their way into the valley of the shadow of death.  It is possible that even this painful betrayal by a friend, this dark valley, could be used by God to train me in his righteousness?  Then I began to look at the scripture more with a spiritual eye so that I can understand what God was try to communicate to me.

 

PSALM 23:1 “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

David, the author of this psalm was acknowledging God as his shepherd.  He uses the analogy of a shepherd because of his background in shepherding and caring for his father’s sheep.  The sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for their protection, provision, and their guidance.  In verse one of psalm 23, David said the lord is my shepherd I shall not want, the symbol of a shepherd is used for God throughout the Old and New Testaments.

Let us quickly look at some scriptures in both Old and New Testaments to learn about the shepherd.

 

1. Isaiah 40:10-11: “Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm

    shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. 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.”

 

2. Jeremiah 23:3: “And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I  

    have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful

    and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they

    shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.”

 

3. Ezekiel 34:12: “As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his

    sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all

    places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.”

 

4. John 10:11 & 14-16:I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for

    the sheep. John 10:14-16:  I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am

    known of mine.  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father. and I lay

    down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them

    also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one

    shepherd.

 

5. Hebrew 13:20: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord

    Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting

    covenant,”

 

6. I Peter 2:25: “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the

    Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

 

7. I Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of

     glory that fadeth not away.”

 

The scriptures above shows what the shepherd does to take care of his flocks.  God also promised to take over as shepherd of his scattered flock.  When our leaders fail us we must not despair but remember that God is in control and the promises to return and care for his flock. 

 

Therefore, let us always turn to God for help whenever we need one.  He is still in control and can transform any tragic situation to produce good for his kingdom.

 

Psalm 23:2-6, we find that there is a path that the shepherd led him through.  He called that path the path of righteousness.   There are many locations as we can see; there is (1) Green Pastures; (2) Still Water; (3) Valley of death.

 

There is need for us to ask why this path is called the “Path of Righteousness.

 

(1) They are the right paths because they lead to the right destination, which is the

      shepherd’s home.

(2) They are the right paths because they keep us in harmony with the right person—the

      shepherd himself.

(3) They are the right paths because they train us to be the right people—like the

      shepherd.

(4) They are the right paths because they give us the right witness.

 

As we become the right people we give glory to God.  It does not matter whether the going was good or bad, these paths are right for us.  When God is leading it is always about training and guiding his people to be righteous.

 

23:4 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.

 

Many at time we think that the paths of righteousness is on the way along the grass-covered banks of cool streams and green pastures.  That is not the way the author of this psalm said it. On these same paths is the valley of the shadow of death—not a place that we are too eager to visit.

 

This place called the valley of the shadow of death is also characterized as a narrow, with steep sides that block out the light.  It is a “deep shadow” or a “deep darkness.”

 

(1)    How then do you think the sheep ended up in the valley?

(2)    Do you think the sheep went there by themselves, or did the shepherd lead the sheep that way Himself?

(3)    Justify your answer.

 

23:5: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”

 

David, told us how to deal with our enemies.  He obscures their presence by looking instead at what God is doing in his behalf.  And God is there preparing a banquet for him. The Table, Oil and Cup helps to remind us of how God provides because our enemies include those we can see and the ones we cannot see.  But when he is with us or when we are with the shepherd not one enemy, visible or invisible, can steal what He has provided for us.

 

23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

This is a certain promise for the journey, whether in the valley or surrounded by enemies, it is sometimes difficult to believe that we are not alone.  Sometime it feels as if God is not doing much to help us in the situation.

 

No matter how deep the valley or persistent the enemies, the certainty of God’s goodness, unfailing love, and guidance is unquestionable.  If these thoughts could sustain Jesus through Calvary, we should take heart.

 

Those who are finally victorious will have seasons of terrible perplexity and trial in their religious life; but they must not cast away their confidence, for this is a part of their discipline in the school of Christ, and it is essential order that all dross may be purged away.  The servant of God must endure with fortitude the attacks of the enemy; his grievous taunts, and must overcome the obstacles, which Satan will place in his or her way.

 

But if you keep looking up and not down at your difficulties, you will not faint in the way, you will soon see Jesus reaching His hand to help you, and you will only have to give him your hand in simple confidence, and let Him lead you.  As you become trustful you will become hopeful.

 

You will find help in Christ to form a strong, symmetrical, beautiful character.  Satan cannot make none effect the light shinning forth from such a character.