Psalm 23:1-6 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 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. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
No single psalm has expressed more powerfully man’s confidence in God whose purpose alone gives meaning to life from womb to tomb.
What does Psalm 23 mean to you?
This psalm is more from the perspective of the sheep. David was a shepherd, but this particular psalm he wrote from the perspective of a sheep led by, and cared for, by his Shepherd.
More than likely, David wrote this psalm as an adult, not while he was a young man and worked as a shepherd, caring for his father’s sheep. David was chosen to lead the people of Israel and working as a shepherd was part of his training. He couldn’t have written this psalm then, because he hadn’t gone through the stuff mentioned yet. He hadn’t had to run for his life yet.
David, when he wrote this psalm, had made a lot of mistakes, sins, adultery, yet through it all, God was always with him.
David wrote about the sheep and the shepherd relationship in the first four verses. The last two verses are more about a host and a guest.
‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.’ This doesn’t mean that David didn’t want a shepherd. It means that David doesn’t need anything because God is taking care of him and providing for him.
God is a provider. He always will give you not what you want, necessarily, but He will always give you what you need.
Here in America, the elite and most blessed in the world live here. What we think we need oftentimes, are just wants. If God is your shepherd, you have all that you need. Satan will try to get you to think God is holding out on you, but that is a lie.
Jesus is all you need.
How has God provided for you? Describe a time where you really needed help and God provided exactly what you needed right on time.
It’s not God’s duty to give you riches, but He does enjoy blessing you. Jesus is your Good Shepherd. He will lead you and protect you.
Jesus is an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-caring God. He is more than enough. He will supply all your needs, He is your Provider.
God provided for over a million people for over forty years, food, shoes never wore out, and neither did their clothes wear out. Their clothes didn’t even get old. Their shoes grew with their feet! Forty years their shoes lasted! That isn’t necessarily what they wanted, but they had all that they needed. They had manna every morning, noon, and night.
That was a punishment.
God even blesses when He punishes! When has God given you what you needed but not what you wanted? How did you respond?
When they got to the Promised Land, they were blessed, houses, rivers, grapes, plenty of everything they needed and even desired.
God is a shepherd and you will not want, you will not lack.
Everything was healthy and there was no famine. The land was easy to care for and produced so much. Jesus wants you to have blessing and abundance, but that isn’t necessarily promised. The promise is you will not lack what you need.
Psalm 34:10 “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”
Don’t seek the thing, seek the Lord. The good stuff will follow you.
Psalm 23: 2-3 “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”
God protects and leads (guides).
Sheep are pretty much defenseless. They have no homing devices, they have to follow their Shepherd. The sheep know the voice of their shepherd. Sheep do not relax very easily on their own. They have to have a shepherd. Going to ‘still waters’ is dangerous because that’s where the lions go. Sheep don’t usually lie down unless they feel safe.
When it says, ‘he makes to lie down’ that means, he has caused me to not be afraid. I’m safe.
God has not forgotten you. He is a protector. He will not allow your enemy to overtake you. You will have fear removed from your life and will be able to lie down and relax and rest.
Fear is not of God. Fear is faith in something that God has not given.
‘Without faith it is impossible to please Him.’
If you are afraid, you are having faith or confidence in something other than God. He still loves you, but He does get angry if you don’t trust Him. Don’t worry!
Your relationship with God is not genuine if you worry. A genuine relationship with God causes you to relax. Even in the presence of your enemies, there is peace.
What are you afraid of/worried about? How can you let that go and trust the Lord even with that? Will you?
In Israel there is a place called the Valley of the Shadow. It’s a dangerous place.
‘Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because thou art with me.’
God never leaves (even when you’ve left!).
Heb 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
When you know there’s trouble in your life, and you hit your knees in prayer, the Holy Ghost comes in and comforts you, know that God is still with you and you can know He is still there with you.
Do you believe these Scriptures? Why or why not? How does this knowledge change your life?
‘Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.’
This has nothing to do with being a shepherd. This is about the tradition of serving guests. If God welcomes you into His house, you are a guest of honor.
Saul pursued David and wanted to kill him. David sought comfort and refuge from the Lord.
God welcomes you in the presence of your enemies.
God wants you to know that you are the Guest of Honor in the House of God. You are loved, you are valued. People might fail you, but God will never fail you.
Do you recognize that what Jesus is offering is not more than just circumstantial changes, it’s a change of mind, heart, attitude, and action? Will you trust Him? Will you take this for yourself and allow Him to transform you and your circumstances?
The anointing on your head symbolizes the Guest of Honor.
When God gives, He gives to overflowing.
‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’
Goodness and Mercy are like sheepdogs, guiding you the way of the Good Shepherd. They may seem ‘harsh’ at times, or even painful, but it’s for your good.
Will you trust God’s ways even when you don’t understand them? How does that change your life?
This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.
If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!