Psalm 23 – Jesus is your Shepherd!

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I ·have everything I need [L will lack nothing].  He ·lets me rest [makes me lie down] in green pastures.He leads me to ·calm [quiet] water.  He ·gives me new strength [T renews my soul].He leads me on paths that are ·right [righteous; or straight] for the ·good [sake] of his ·name [reputation].Even if I walk through ·a very dark valley [or the shadow of death],I will ·not be afraid [T fear no evil], because you are with me.Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me. You prepare a ·meal [L table] for me in ·front [the presence] of my enemies. You ·pour oil of blessing on my head [anoint my head with oil; C oil was a means of refreshment in a hot, dry environment];you ·fill my cup to overflowing [L make my cup overflow; C a cup of blessing].  Surely your goodness and love [loyalty; T mercy] will ·be with[pursue; T follow] me all my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord ·forever [L for length of days].

General Comments

  • David saw himself as a sheep led by God his Shepherd – he knew that he was loved by God and that he would not lack.
  • In a way, this portrays what 1 John 4:18 is saying
  • Key for us to do our best in life, but not in stress. Live life and love, in rest and peace, not stressed out.
  • We don’t need to defend ourselves, neither do we need to fight for open doors. If God opens the door, it is ours. If God doesn’t open the door, it’s not meant to be ours at this present moment.
  • Many think that this is a Psalm for death, however, when we read and understand the Psalm we come to know that it is about our life with our shepherd who loves, leads, cares and is always with us.

Vs 1 –  The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want.

  • Other versions of the bible say, “The Lord is my shepherd; I ·have everything I need [will lack nothing].“
  • As you meditate on this simple verse, begin to realize that the Lord IS (present tense) your shepherd.
  • A shepherd provides for his sheep, feeds them and protects them. In the same way, Jesus your shepherd provides for you, feeds you, and protects you.
  • “I shall not want” = the Lord is our provider! One of the names of our God is Jehovah Jireh, which means “the all-providing One.” He provides more than enough. The God of more-than-enough came in the flesh and walked among His people. And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He did not give His disciples small blessings. That is why He said to Peter, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets [plural] for a catch” (Luke 5:4), and not “let down your net [singular].” And what a catch it turned out to be—a boat-sinking, net-breaking catch! It was such a big and unexpected blessing that Peter and all who were with him were “astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken. He provided while on earth and he provides now for whatever we need.
    • {Health, Healing (“I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26))},
    • Finances,
    • Direction (Are you groping in the dark, not knowing what to do? He says, “I am the light of the world (John 8:12).) Success.
    • Are you looking for a way out of a bad situation? He says, “I am your deliverer. I will reach down from on high, take hold of your hand and draw you out of the deep waters” (see Psalm 18:2,16).
    • What is it that we are facing? Is it wisdom, favor or provision that you need? Rest assured that Jesus, our shepherd, will surely supply it, and you shall not be in want for anything.

Vs 2 –  He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.

  • Since the Lord is providing for all our needs, He wants us to lie down and experience abundance (We are receiving based on His completed work!).
  • When you rest, it’s an act of faith. You’re saying, “God, all right, you have finished everything. And if there’s any area not finished, I’m resting so you can finish it in me, through me.” You are resting in work. It is not inactivity.
  • Are you going to work tomorrow saying, “Okay, there’s a deadline. Okay, my boss want to talk to me, or this”? Are you resting in him? Do you believe he will work in you? Or do you feel like nothing is happening? Let me tell you this, even when He’s sleeping, He’s controlling the storm.
  • The place of God’s rest is where you’ll find everything has been done for you. And if something’s left undone, it will be done in you. It’ll be done for you.
  • This is the essence of Jesus’ message in the Sermon on the Mount when he said, “Look at the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t struggle, they don’t strain, yet your heavenly Father clothed them. Are you not much better than those lilies?”
  • This brings to mind Jesus invitation to us in Matthew to follow Him and to leave a life of worry! Matthew 11:28-30 (Message Version) says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Vs 3 –  He refreshes and restores my soul (life); He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

  • Expanded version says this: He ·gives me new strength [ renews my soul]. He leads me on paths that are ·right [righteous; or straight] for the ·good [sake] of his ·name [reputation].
  • Voice version: He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.
  • Complete Jewish Bible: he restores my inner person. He guides me in right paths for the sake of his own name.

Vs 4 – Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.

  • We are only walking through the valley we DO NOT STAY in the valley.  So much grace and love shown us.  We see also that it is but the shadow of death and not death itself.  Jesus conquered death for us at Calvary and defeated it forevermore.  No more fears (Psalm 91), instead we have His shalom peace (John 10:27-28).
  • Our Good Shepherd would never lead us into the valley of death (He came to bring life).   What happens is that we ourselves get into the valley of the shadow of death all on our own.  Our Shepherd, Jesus, who is always with us (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6, Romans 8:35-39) protects us and leads us through and out of this valley.

Vs 5 – You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 

  • Some may say, “Lord, how can you expect me to eat now? The symptoms are still in my body! My bank account still shows the lack! Lord, I will eat well and I will celebrate when all my problems are resolved.”
  • But the Bible says that God doesn’t follow human nature. God says, “I will prepare a table. You eat first! You eat in the presence of your enemies, and I will take care of your enemies.”

Vs 6 – Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord.

  • “Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the day of my life” literally means “Surely goodness and mercy shall HUNT ME DOWN all the days of my life!”
  • Jesus is faithful and with us now, right here right now
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Bring your praise to God, not your problems!

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Praise

Our Mighty Glorious Savior!

Our Jesus, He is so wonderful and powerful!  Can we even begin to understand the great love that He has for us?  Because of Him, our high priest, we can approach God’s throne with confidence!  It says in Hebrews 4:14-16,

Christ Is Our High Priest

14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Many believe that the tearing of the curtain in the sanctuary was the sign of this.  We can find this in Matthew 27:51.  Another  sign of this was when Jesus was taken before the high priest Caiaphas.  This account is in Matthew:

Matthew 26:57-67New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus before the Council

57 Then the people who had arrested Jesus led him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and the elders had gathered. 58 Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end.

59 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council[a] were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death. 60 But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use anyone’s testimony. Finally, two men came forward 61 who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand[b] and coming on the clouds of heaven.”[c]

65 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your verdict?”

“Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!”

67 Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him,

According to Leviticus 21:10 the high priest was never to tear his robes.  I found an interesting blog post on this topic if you would like to study more on this.

http://mathaytes.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-robes-of-caiaphas-matthew-2665.html

Our High Priest, Jesus, endured suffering, shame, our sins, He bore it all so that we can live today without condemnation!  When you receive this High Priest, you are forgiven once and for all (Hebrews 10).  We are not saved by what we do, but by what He did.  Do not rehash the old sins that you committed, rather believe that through Christ your sins are all forgiven.  When the Father looks at you He sees Christ in His perfection.  Christ bore it all for this reason.  Furthermore all the promises of God for us are yes and amen [2 Corinthians 1:20New Living Translation (NLT)].  Because of Jesus we live free of condemnation and in peace.  Important is that we believe this and have faith in the perfect sacrifice!  If your faith is weak and it is difficult to believe, renew your mind in God’s word, and ask for faith through Christ Jesus.

Do not doubt the power of Jesus in your life and know that you are deeply loved by the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)!  Believe in the efficacy of this wonderful act over your life and never loose heart!

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

  1. “Man of Sorrows!” what a name
    For the Son of God, who came
    Ruined sinners to reclaim.
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!


  2. Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
    In my place condemned He stood;
    Sealed my pardon with His blood.
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!


  3. Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
    Spotless Lamb of God was He;
    “Full atonement!” can it be?
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!


  4. Lifted up was He to die;
    “It is finished!” was His cry;
    Now in Heav’n exalted high.
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!


  5. When He comes, our glorious King,
    All His ransomed home to bring,
    Then anew His song we’ll sing:
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!

As we cross into the new year to 2014, “…God—so rich is He in His mercy!”

Ephesians 2:4-7

Amplified Bible (AMP)

But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).  And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.

Points:
  • God has a “great and wonderful and intense love” for us.  Let us dwell on His love for us, let’s keep His love in front of us as we continue on our walk!  This love will cast out every concern and fear (1 John 4:18)!
  • We are alive through and with Christ!  In fact it says “[He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him…”  So the same life that is in Christ, that allowed him to overcome the world is in us.  Let us focus on Christ our King!  Let us cast every care to Him, not worry or hold onto it, but simply give it to Him with trust and hope (have an anticipation of good) (1 Peter 5:7)!  Let us also know that we receive what we need each and every day (Matthew 6:25-34).
  • “…And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere…”  It does not say we will sit with Him, it says we are sitting with Him “…in the heavenly sphere…”
    • If there is a hope we have for the new year, a trouble trouble or difficulty remember we are sitting with Him “…in the heavenly sphere…”!  Also remember “all things are under His feet!  So let us simply cast it to Jesus and trust! (Ephesians 2:19-22) “And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength,Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places],Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.22 And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church]”

Psalm 1

The Way of the Righteous and the End of the Ungodly

Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so,But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

(Psalm 34) Let Us Exalt His Name Together Forever

Video

The caption to Psalm 34 says “A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away”. This part of David’s life is documented in 1 Samuel 21:10-15; 1 Samuel 22:1-2.

1 Samuel 21:10-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

So David escaped from Saul and went to King Achish of Gath. But the officers of Achish were unhappy about his being there. “Isn’t this David, the king of the land?” they asked. “Isn’t he the one the people honor with dances, singing,

“Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?”

David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him. So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard. Finally, King Achish said to his men, “Must you bring me a madman? We already have enough of them around here! Why should I let someone like this be my guest?”

Samuel 22:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)

David at the Cave of Adullam
So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of about 400 men.

This definitely should have been a low point of David’s life. Imagine how David felt/could have felt? He was anointed to be the King, had accomplished great deeds yet was running for his life from Saul, even to the point where he went to the King of Gath. We can learn much on how to maintain our confidence when facing great challenges from David. We too face things that can test our trust and where we could loose our confidence and hope. It is interesting that David fled to Gath. Gath was one of the five city-states of the Philistines. This is where Goliath was from. So David was fleeing to his enemy. And yet even in this we see God’s blessing over his life because he escaped. However, he escapes to a cave. So this is the context in which Psalm 34 was written. In this Psalm David expresses praise, trust and confidence in the Lord.

Psalm 34 (New Living Translation)
A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.
1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
2 I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.
4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!
21 Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

How I pray that whatever we come up against in life we may never loose confidence, but continue to trust in him the hope of our salvation (Micah 7:7).