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November 9, 2020 2:00 am
Psalm 23 is often misunderstood, because it has more to do with life than death, and it's not just about sheep and a shepherd. In the message "Safe and Sound," Skip shares how you can find strong security in the Lord in your tough times.
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Sort of feel like a Cassie does want to get a little you know your legs are sticking straight up. You wonder just a little too slow and you need God's goodness and mercy. Now, let alone following you all the days of your life you make that decision. Like David, to say the Lord is my shepherd coming back to his care back to his goal. Because here's the catch all the things about God is the shepherd will never be true unless you let him be the shepherd of your life. Did you know that well soon 23 talks about the shadow of death, it actually has more to do with life the truths you find. It can lead you into a strong security only in our great Shepherd today on connect with Skip Skip shares how you can access the appointed protection provision got off. But before we begin. Here's a great resource that will equip you to live in God's truth fake news used to be restricted to tabloids at the grocery store checkout used to be so obvious.
Chimpanzee had put on human body, but now there are entire websites dedicated to helping us figure out a story, speech or statistic is true or not your Skip I take with an important question there such a thing as absolute truth is think about that? We would help you get started in answering that question to brand-new book with my pastor Skip why truth matters God suicide. The Bible makes truth claims in some of those claims are well pretty absolute, but you know it's really true. These resources will help you better understand the nature of true you can pursue God's truth in your life and there are way to thank you for your gift of $35 or more today to help expand this Bible teaching outreach. Your copies when you get online securely connectwithskip.com/offer or call 892 1888 23 one of the common questions that we have is how do I find the Lord's will for my life. How do I get direction for my life. I want guidance for my life what they expect. I think to hear from me is sort of a 123 ABC formula for how to determine God's will. If you memorize this scripture and take this step and counselors person bingo you'll find God's will.
Every time I think were so hung up with guidance that we forget we have a guide living in us we not direction when God is saying, hey, I direct door will live inside of you. Now if you were traveling to a foreign city like New York City would you rather have a complicated set of instructions to get you around town or how about this one of the local residents said no, let me get into college. Also, you might down yeah I want that guy you've got that guy you have the Holy Spirit. Jesus said when the spirit of truth is, he will guide you into all truth.
I know sometimes we wonder will house I can work as a can you give me an impression in my heart of Megan after memorize Scripture is to be to the Council of others. Answer yes all of the above. Relax a little bit here.
Just as she leave that to the guy. The director he leads. He guidance his second phrase, I shall not want. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want not discovered that not everyone who says the first part can actually say with honesty.
The second part, the Lord is my shepherd will not everybody can say I shall not want. We live in a society filled with discontentment were always looking at what their sheep are eaten guy has greener pastures and I have Lord, I trust you like they do, I serve you, like they do in their pastor looks so much better than my pastor. It's greener over there. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. There's a great little book called the shepherd looks at Psalm 23 by Philip Keller. Some of you have seen. It's an old book.
It's the musings of an actual shepherd who was raised in East Africa later on became a shepherd by occupation in Canada who raise sheep for a living. Before he became a lay pastor and he he said. I remember in my flock there was one particular little you lamb a female sheep who was beautiful, beautiful Constitution, beautifully formed body, but always discontented. He called the sheep offense crawler because no matter what pasture he led his sheep into and he said my pastures were the greenest pastors in the area. I had this one little sheep who would always move to the edge and sort of look out to see what's over there.
He eventually called her Miss gadabout.
She was always gabbing about looking for other pastors. I wonder if God doesn't have some sheep like that who are disgruntled who are always complaining, and it may be quick to add that the complaining sheep is a disgrace to the shepherd because a complaining sheep reflects the kind of care that that sheep thinks the shepherd is giving him or her or not giving him or her and imagine how unbelievers feel when they look at complaining sheep's lives to try to win people to Christ and you're always complaining and moaning and other think I want to follow your shepherd didn't take very good care of you. Or so it seems you don't ever seem happy with him. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Contentment does not come from what we have.
Contentment comes from whom we have and if the Lord is your shepherd you want to be able to declare firmly and confidently.
I shall not want. As a shepherd. He gives us direction as the second principle I want to discuss with you and that is as a friend. He gives us protection. Now you'll notice the pronoun change in verse four from speaking about he and his in the third person he speaks now directly to the Lord. Yay 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 immediately. This tells me that life is not always good to be about green pastures and still waters. There's going to be some valleys that I walk through and I know we don't like that we hate valleys. I don't mean many people at all time in a valley right now. It's dark down here, praise the Lord.
I think knowing the shepherd we should be able to say that, but typically we go.
Lord, please get me out of this valley just get me out of this valley just deliver me from this valleys just carry me from mountain peak to mountain peak to mountain in Jesus name hallelujah but there are going to be some valleys. Shepherds will lead sheep down in the valleys over in the Middle East where this scene takes place when it gets really really hot outside like it is these days shepherds will move their sheep down into the ravines. They call them the why these and she paid it sheep don't have great eyesight and they hate walking downwards into a shadow dark ravine.
But the reason that the shepherd brings his sheep down there is because it's cooler down there and that's where the streams of water are running at the bottom of the ravine. In other words, sometimes the darkest valleys are pathways to the greenest pastors she don't know that all this is Garrett is always just wait and be cool down there and it's going to be beautiful and refreshing. I met many a believer who has testified to the fact that though there going to difficult time in their life and it's that the trial of a lifetime, so to speak. That's where they meet the Lord.
They have direct contact with God's comfort in a way they've never experienced so you will have some valleys. Verse four also tells me that you have some dark valleys. When David calls the valley of the shadow of death.
Now this is why it's recited at funerals because of that phrase, but it doesn't necessarily refer to physical dying.
The Hebrew word is figurative of gloom or calamity.
Here's a guy who isn't dying. Here's a guy who's living but experiencing it dark valley the valley what he calls the shadow of death, let me say this, even when you do come to an end of your life and you do die, it's going to be okay.
Death is sort of like going into a valley when you approach that time to die feels dark and feels like you're going down your movement is limited.
Your your breathing is course. It seems so dark but to stay there. You're gonna come out of the valley. Though I go through the valley of the shadow of death, not live forever in the valley and then he will wake and you have arisen. On the other side in pure light is. It's like walking through valley Charles Haddon Spurgeon used to say. Death is not the house. It's just the porch.
She is leading you somewhere and noticed it does not say the valley of death, but the valley of shadow of death. Jenna shadow hurt you cannot shadow of a dog like you can. The shadow of a sword or a knife cut you the valley of the shadow of death cannot destroy you, the substance of death or the sting of death. As Paul said has been removed. Only the shadow remains. That's why David says, I will fear no evil thing this tells me in verse four, is that you can find comfort in the valleys for heating. He notices, I will fear no evil for you are with me your rod and your staff they comfort me.
David is now speaking of the equipment that a shepherd carries there's two pieces of equipment every shepherd would carry a staff.
Staff is the truck and a rod rod is the club so the staff or the croak is for directing sheep. The club or the rod is for protecting sheep.
It is a little club that hung from the belt of the shepherd and often had nails and it was for one purpose and that is the beat up Wolf's and you can imagine little sheep looking up at the shepherd and seeing that weapon hanging from his Saigon I'm comforted by that.
I know that if the predator comes my way.
I've got that kind of a shepherd who will give me protection in the New Testament we have already read in first Peter. Peter describes Satan as a roaring lion lion, seeking whom he may devour.
You need to know that that lion cannot get to you until he goes to your shepherd and if if he allows any exposure at all to you. It will be very calculated for your own growth. He just won't let you at his disposal that should be very very comforting to because I know again a lot of believers is always the devils. This Devils there and the devil did that okay great.
Don't worry about him. You have a shepherd who will protect you if you remember in the New Testament Jesus that I am the good shepherd in any he talked about his sheep and calling their names and they hear his voice, and they follow him. Then Jesus said I am the door to the sheepfold and let me just explain what that is a kind of lends itself to understanding the meaning of this passage in ancient times when they would bring sheep out to the countryside.
They would place them in these all sheepfold sheep pens which are like low-lying walls with an opening, a narrow opening with no door and a traveler was over in the Middle East and the tour guide brought about to see the shepherd and the shepherd said not my sheep get inside this at night and they're perfectly safe because of what we we we there's no door in the shepherd said that's because I am the door. I lie at night and sleep in front of the opening of this sheep enclosure and no sheep can get out unless he goes over my body and no wolf or predator can come in unless he goes over my body. Number the old expression over my dead body so St. might say they all want to rip the Christian apart over my body.
You can't get to that person, unless I give you some kind of clearance for my purpose and for that sheep's growth. So this speaks of protection as a friend.
He gives us protection as a shepherd.
He gives us direction as a friend.
He gives us protection and here's the third we close on this as a host he gives us provision verse five again in the first person you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies you anoint my head with oil my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Please notice in verse five we have we have a change of metaphor change a picture were not dealing with sheep in a shepherd any longer were now inside the tent. Being the guest to someone who is being the host and lavishly giving us a meal unless you're prepared to think a little sheep sitting around a table drinking coffee, which is a ridiculous thought understand that the metaphor has changed now are dealing with God, not as a shepherd by God as a host who lavishes upon us what the Middle East is so famous for.
And that is hospitality. One time I was in the city of Nazareth, where Jesus grew up I was with a few guys from our church were doing a little film of the area. My son was there and this guy comes out of the house.
Never metaphor goes high said hi and we talked.
His name was Tony he was a Palestinian Arabs living in Nazareth, he invited us into his home. He gave us coffee gave us tea. I wanted to give us food, which he did. Then assess the state through the night and have a huge meal with his family were unable to do that but I just thought here's a perfect stranger inviting perfect strangers into his house willing to give us everything he's got amazing hospitality. That's the picture that is drawn here in ancient times when you went into somebody's tent as a visitor. There was a protocol. First of all, they would give you the common kiss three times in one sheet the other cheek and then back to the first sheet, then the servant would remove your sandals and wash your feet.
Then they would place oil on your face on your head assented olive oil to refresh you. After the burning sun. Then they would give you a glass of wine with honey, a very sweet make sure to bring you refreshment than they would spread around before you, and it would serve you on the lavish provision is the idea.
Notice the David says my cup runs over.
Can't you just picture the hostess pouring pouring in the guess we now know that's enough that's not really just gotta keep pouring over and over. Sometimes I play a little joke on my friends in the works at the luncheon and I have a lot of the say class tomorrow and I just started keep pouring and keep pouring people until it is overflows under the table.
Looks like they made a mess and it's a adolescent thing to do Balkanized God is playing a joke on his gas. The ideas that you are just so fund it in your provision and your love for me, Lord, my cup runs over. And then you'll notice is followed by surely goodness and mercy shall follow me that's a declaration of the future based on the past.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. What would he say that he would say that because that's been the track record. You have taken care of me and protected me and directed me and taken care of me alter my life.
I am now sure that in the future to do the same. He's not saying I declare by faith that my life will be painless from now on, after all he's eating in the presence of his wife enemies. He's got some enemies, but though his enemies pursue him what David is saying is I know that goodness and mercy will also chase after me all the days of my life because it's always been that way I making a declaration of my future based upon the fastest folks, this is a statement of choice is the statement of faith.
It's it's forget the analogy, but in the words of Winnie the Pooh, the famous theologian. It's the choice to be tender and not Eeyore. Some people are just chosen to BER. There's always it's always bad. It's not my cup runneth over to my cup leak is under then there are those who say no I making a stand by faith to declare based upon who God is what is promised and where he is taken me. Surely goodness and mercy will follow all the days of my life. That's a choice to be like Tigger and not like your are trouble is that so often we write our sorrows in the marble and we write our mercies in the dust, not David, not David. My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. Do you know the shepherd was once a famous actor that was invited to a social gathering.
People were so excited to have this actor there.
He was known for his ability to portray characters and say lines in a way that was unparalleled so that night at dinner, people were asking him to recite famous lines of different literary works, and there was a minister who was also at the dinner and he said I'd like you to recite Psalm 23 for the audience and the actor said I'd love to do that under one condition that after I'm done. You come in, recite Psalm 23. Pastor said you're on so the actor as you would expect the typical eloquence like a thespian would rising up his voice and the falling of his voice just set it perfectly and afterwards people gave them a sharing round of applause that lasted for several moment afterwards. The pastor got up, he was older, his voice was a little rougher, his eloquence was not perfect, but he recited Psalm 23 and after he did, there was not a dry eye in the audience.
Everyone was in tears and after dinner. They asked the actor what made the difference. The actor said I know the Psalm. He knows the shepherd. We all know the song everybody knows this song. Do you know the shepherd.
Do you know his direction in your life. Do you know his protection in your life you feel and experience his provision in your life. Can you say the Lord is my personal shepherd, I shall not want. It could be. Could be dear just in a little bit of a rut today. Did you know that one of the one of the common problems that the sheep have is called being cast CAS T shepherds will refer to a cast sheep. This is the sheep who wanders from the fold. It's out on his own. All us like sheep going astray and animosity so to lie down in a comfortable position and a little depression in the ground and fertilize their kicks back and what happens is the sheep turns over just a little too much and it's legs are kind of sticking out and then tries to shift to get out of his leg sticking up like this in the sheep cannot for the life of it back on its feet. Gases build up inside the abdomen, cutting off the circulation and the sheep will die unless the shepherd finds it and restores it verse three he restores my soul means brings me back any sort of feel like a cast sheep you just want to get into Little comfortable zone and that your legs are sticking straight up. You wander just a little too far and you need God's goodness and mercy. Now, let alone following you all the days of your life you make that decision.
Like David, to say the Lord is my shepherd, I'm coming back to his care back to his fold because here's the catch all the things about God as a shepherd will never be true unless you let him be the shepherd of your life, you have to come into his fold, by an act of your own will and cooperating with his call that Rapp should Skip a fixed message for you from the series right now, you Skip to tell you what you are support these messages coming your way in connection to God's truth we live in a self-styled culture that is focused on pleasure and possessions. Because of that we strive to promote a lifestyle that's all about Jesus.
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