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November 23, 2020 1:00 am
When God chose to communicate how He cares for His own, He gave the picture of a shepherd tending his flock. Shepherds do more than guide their sheep to food and water. They take a personal interest in every lamb. Today, we learn all about the Great Shepherd.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
Looking to Jesus. When God chose to communicate how he cares for his own gave the picture, tending his flock. Shepherds do more than guide nursing food and water may take a personal interest in every shape.
Today we learned all about great church in Chicago with Dr. Erwin Sir teaching helps us make it finish line after the perhaps the best love all the Psalms is Psalm 23 in your series on when God shows himself tell us how he does that. Here, you know, Dave.
It's a very familiar Psalm as a matter fact I know that I have quoted it hundreds of times whenever I can't sleep. I like to quote Psalm 23. Slowly, phrase by phrase and it gives me the sense of peace that I need to have a good night sleep and I'm sure that all those who are listening are very familiar with the Psalm, but what a privilege it is to open God's word to explain it in more detail so that it will lodge in our hearts.
Well, Thanksgiving is almost here, and after Thanksgiving we think about Christmas and you know where making available a CD entitled in all of his glory. These are your favorite Christmas song sung right here at the Moody church with a choir and full orchestra an opportunity for us to connect again with Christmas. Now I need to say that there is something about Christmas music that touches our hearts deeply.
No matter how often we've heard these songs we need to hear them again and I know that you will be blessed for a gift of any amount. This CD can be yours. Go to RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and I we go to the pulpit of Moody church and open our Bibles to one of the most familiar passages in all of Scripture. If people would just repeat Psalm 23, seven times every night before they go to bed. We very seldom if ever would have an emotional break down those of the words of Charles Allen, a Christian psychologist.
If only we grabbed hold of song 23. As we come to this wonderful Psalm today.
Let us not be fooled is simply because we are so familiar with. It is deep in its riches. And let us not be hindered simply because some of us have never taken care of sheep. I had to do a little bit of studying this week to actually find out what shepherds go through so that I'd be better equipped to be able to interpret the song so you shall receive some of those insights as we go through the message Jesus is known as the good Shepherd.
He said in John chapter 10 I am the good shepherd and I am known my I know my sheep.
They follow me. They recognize my voice. He is the good Shepherd up. Psalm 23. How does a shepherd get sheep well unless he inherits them he buys them. Jesus purchased us that high cost and then what a shepherd does as he marks every sheet on his ear putting his particular stamp on the ear of each of the sheep so that there is no question about identification. Jesus marks us with the cross he gives us the blessed Holy Spirit of God. Why is a down payment as a recognition that we belong to him and he follows us all the way home but were going to do this morning is to simply be blessed. Would you like to just open your soul today for God's blessing is able.
I feel unworthy of God's blessing. Believe me, you are unworthy of God to bless soul and mind.
We all are.
But God has chosen to bless us and today were going to relax. I am relaxed I want you to be relaxed and all were going to do is to soak in Psalm 23, and leave rejoicing and leave changed forever the way I intend to look at this Psalm is to list from it those responsibilities to which a shepherd commits himself when he has some sheep. What are those responsibilities that a shepherd takes over when he has sheep nine. Referring to those of you. Of course, who are the sheep of Jesus.
Some of you aren't, and I'm going to give you an opportunity at the end of the message to become one of the sheep, but actually it's just now for those of us who know him but I want all the rest of you to listen in. What this is shepherd commit himself to do when he takes over responsibility for the sheep. Well, are you ready to be blessed all distractions set aside every worry about tomorrow taken care of every regret of yesterday under the blood so that we can be blessed. Well first of all, you'll notice that he takes responsibility to provide for them.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside the still waters. Sheep are very difficult to get to lie down.
You cannot even cause them really to lie down unless they do so voluntarily, and they don't do that unless all their needs are met because they cannot rest, as long as they are rest to love us very quickly.
I'm going to list five different needs that a shepherd needs to take care of. If he expects a sheep are actually going to lie down. First of all they had to be free from anxiety.
I understand that a rabbit running among some sheep can distract some of them and a whole flock of sheep can become like a herd stampeding to know where most of them not knowing why they're running that they run anyway.
You know, when God created sheep. I believe that he created them for the express purpose so that he would have a good illustration of human nature.
He said I want to create an animal that is as stubborn as human being. I want to create an animal that is always tempted to go its own way. I want to create an animal that is essentially ignorant of. They think they know a lot more than they really do. I want to create an animal that is that is always going his own way. All we like sheep have gone astray. We turned everyone to his own weight.
So I'm going to create sheep because sheep are an awful lot like they in the Bible. Sheep are not painted in a flattering way. So first of all, they have to be free from anxiety. The shepherd has to interfere so that they can get some rest free from distraction pests all kinds of things that may distract a sheep so that they can no longer concentrate on the rest that it is intended to give them they have to be free from conflict in every animal society. There is what is known as dominance one animal wants to be dominant over the others.
If it's among chickens. It's called pecking order. If it's among sheep. It's called letting order and usually there is one sheep. Sometimes an older miserable you wants to take over charge of the flock walks around the head cocked eyes glaring waiting for anyone to get some grass before she does, making sure that everyone is in line taking care of everyone and causing irritation throughout the whole word and the only way they can begin to rest is when the shepherd begins to interfere and give that some rest and some comfort from one or two that want to dominate the rest and by the way what ones are the most comfortable.
The ones that lie down most easily. They are the ones who are further down in the batting order. They don't have anything to prove they're not in competition, they're not jealous of others who have the best pasture lands, and they are the most contented but notice what the text has to say, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He takes care of all of my needs. He makes me lie down in green pastures another need that must be met is of course food and so what the shepherd does is he will find a piece of land. Maybe remove the rocks tried to so some grass.
Try as best he can to water it to create the kind of pastor that the sheep will enjoy and benefit from, and he will do that.
Of course, and the sheep. Afterwords, enjoy it, but they aren't necessarily thankful God gives us food.
It's the food of his word, that is to be absorbed into our soul were supposed to meditate in the law of God day and night and then we find content, but many many of God. Sheep don't they refuse the green grass and they go somewhere else. They fill their lives with television and it's something like a sheep trying to be comfortable and sustained by Astroturf is just not working, just not working.
And then of course he says he leads me beside still waters sheep do not like running waters because then they get there will so what he likes to do is to take rocks and so forth and create a little dam a little place with a water can run a little pool that is quiet and God says I take care of that myself. I feed you I care about you and I myself and the water from which you can drain what is the responsibility of the shepherd. First of all, to provide for the sheep. He makes it available, but he can't force them to do it if they don't want to if they are interested in finding their own grass their own polluted streams. All that the shepherd can do is work with them and the sheep begin to face the consequences. Number one, the shepherd says I'm going to provide for them. Secondly, the shepherd says I'm going to guide them. You'll notice in verse three he restores my soul he leads me in paths of righteousness for his namesake. He restores me there two different kinds of situations in which sheep need to be restored.
One is when they have followed false paths a sheep will go from one clump of grass to another to another to another, and pretty soon you know it.
There quarter of a mile from the herd and they don't know their way back sometimes. Also, there are robbers and thieves that will actually create some false paths for the sheep, hoping that they will wander down those paths and often times their window swept paths that look like sheep adds that sheep will follow.
And so what the shepherd has to do is just to go find one of those sheep and he needs to bring the sheep back into the herd or into the flock and what happens if a sheep is particularly rebellious sheep that is simply unwilling to learn that it's a bad idea to get out of step with the rest of the flock. Well what the shepherd will do which seems very mean is to actually break the leg of that what he's trying to do is to teach them a lesson. That's why the Bible says in Psalm 119 verse 67 before I was afflicted I went astray and then he says in verse 71. It was good for me that I was afflicted now I have My word and what the shepherd will do is take that sheep and put them on his shoulders plural. Not just his shoulder but shoulders and will swing them over his neck so that the shepherd can really hold on to all four legs at the do that so that the sheep is secure and will bring him back and he will work with him and he will teach them a lesson. It is in bad idea to go your own way to choose own grass and your own water you can't live alone.
If you're a sheep I get to stay close to the shepherd. That's one time there Christians were going the wrong way in the shepherd as to pull them back. We've all been there, haven't way there's another kind of sheep that needs to be restored and that is the ones who have to be turned right side up. Because what happens is some sheep will be resting in the sun and enjoying themselves but will be along on the side of a hill and so what happens when the center of gravity begins to shift of their body. They get turned upside down and there they are just like a turtle and they can't get backup on their own and they can call that they want they can pause the air but but nothing happens and they will be dead in a matter of hours up there in heat in the heat of the sun and if not they can also die of starvation over a period of time and what the shepherd needs to do is to is to get them right. These kinds of sheep are cast down the sheep. That's what they are called.
And maybe that's what David had in mind. In Psalm 42 when he says why are you cast down on my soul wire you turned turned upside down.
Why is it that you feel so helpless in all that you are doing is beating the air. God is there to help you. God is there to write you and to set you up straight and get you back into the path.
You'll notice that he leads us. The Bible says in paths of righteousness for his namesake.
We sometimes sing he lead me, O blessed the thought and it is a blessed thought to know that God is the one who does the leading and we do the following.
And he doesn't take us any place where he has never been the shepherd always goes to pastors ahead of the sheep and check things out, and there's no trial that God will take you through. But that Jesus has been there had you been rejected. He was despised and rejected of men. Had you been a victim of injustice. All of the injustices and the false accusations that were made against him. He in word, will the time come for you and for me to die yes and he has died as well. He's gone on ahead. He's prepared the way and now he asks us as a sheep to follow in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. His reputation is at stake. Third he comforts the sheep don't notice it says in verse four, even 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. Most people when they read this they think of a funeral don't play because the Psalm is often times read at funerals and discomforted many of those who have survived, but actually there is such a thing in Israel is the valley of the shadow of death I been in Israel for times and only once did I see that valley most of the time people don't go to see it. It's a little bit out of the way.
The bus has to make some extra miles. But you see this G Valley. I'm told hyenas that night and vultures by a beating son.
Also during the day and cold it night and you look at how steep it is. There's no way that anyone would want to go on that valid known as the valley of the shadow of death were many people have died. So he says even though you're going to lead me through that valley. He says I know that your rod and your staff are going to be there and you are going to be with me. You notice in the text. How we actually changes now pronoun in the first three verses, he talks about the Lord in the third person he leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. In verse four it says even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me now is into the second person, God walks with him through the experience. The shadow of the sword draws no blood. The shadow of a wolf does not bite Donald Gray Barnhouse was coming back from the funeral of his wife and he was trying to comfort his children as they were going along the highway truck came and pass them and he noticed that the shadow passed the car and he said children were you hurt by the shadow and they said no, we weren't hurt by the shadow that we would be hurt by the truck but not it shadow in the very same way.
He said your mother has died.
She passed through the shadow of death, and she was not hurt by it because the good Shepherd was there with her. On the other side to greet her and she made it to the other side oftentimes what shepherds would do to help the sheep in the summer time as they had to go to a higher grazing elevations would take them through that valley and then up the other side, but the sheep didn't want to go to steep.
Too many rocks too many dangers.
So what the shepherd would do is to choose a Little Lamb. And he had put that lamb on his shoulder and he himself would begin the journey will obviously as you might suspect, the mother of the little lamb would follow. Once the mother began to follow one or two other sheep would follow and once you got two or three others to get all the rest, and pretty soon the whole flock would be going through the valley and doing their best struggling up to the other side. She that's what God does to us does name there. Some of you were listening to those who know what it's like when God chooses a little lamb the death of a child child that is born stillborn. Or, perhaps, dies after certain number of weeks or years or months sent and your your heart is just absolutely broken and for the first time in your life, you begin to long for heaven and you begin to say I want to follow my child all the way to glory. I want to follow that one who has followed the good Shepherd in the good Shepherd takes us to the other side. Yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me your rod. The rod of course, which is a defensive weapon rod is about 4 feet long. It's like a club keeps the enemies away. The staff shepherds crook to take that sheet that's on its way off the path or that has fallen or that has experienced even a broken leg and the shepherd needs to bring them back your rod and your staff they comfort me.
Yes, the shepherds crook sometimes hurts but it's good because it gets me back David who wrote this song your member experience the bitterness of sin, adultery, and murder, and he knows what it's like for the restoring shepherd to, to say David your off the path to pull you back into fellowship with myself so that I can continue to lead you to lead you in paths of righteousness so you'll notice that he comforts the sheep he defenses the sheep in verse five you prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies you anoint my head with oil my cup overflows and magic.
The sheep is now on the other side of the valley. That's where the green grasses.
That's where the table is prepared and and the shepherd has prepared. He's gone on ahead.
He's checked out the grass is checked on the water to make sure that it isn't polluted. It's the best meal that the sheep can possibly ever have and where does it happen right there in the presence of its enemies.
If you can feel content in the presence of your enemies, you have won the battle with fear. If you can feel content exactly where God has planted you with people who are against you.
People were lying about you people who would like to destroy you. People who would like to see you fail in and right there you are content that is the provision of God and how does it work. You stay very, very close to the shepherd.
The reason that the sheep can graze in the presence of enemies is because the sheep knows that the shepherd is close by and the shepherd is watching the sheep as he or she eats the shepherd is there my friend, this is Pastor Luther reminding you that the shepherd is there. All of us need to be reminded of that don't way were living at a time when there is a great deal of fear. A great deal of anger.
How wonderful it is to be able to turn to this Psalm and be blessed.
Now this series of messages is based on some of the Psalms, and it's entitled when God shows himself for a gift of any amount. These messages can be yours so that you can listen to them again and again and you can share them with your friends. Here's what you do go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and when you call, let me thank you in advance for your generosity in helping us get the gospel of Jesus Christ to more than 20 different countries. Your help is deeply appreciated but meanwhile I trust that you are going to be blessed as you listen to these messages once again the contact information. RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life named as King David was pursued by a jealous king Saul for 10 long years still could say of God, you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies and you face trials with that kind of confidence.
Next time I'm running to win more lessons from Psalm 23 this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored the Moody church