“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
“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. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, 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. 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.” Psalms 23:1-6 NKJV
David’s first calling was as a shepherd boy and he had first hand experience of what makes a good shepherd. David knew that he was fully responsible for his sheep. They were completely dependent on him. Without him they were helpless, vulnerable and exposed and he could not afford to let them down. David knew how committed he was to his sheep. He killed a lion and a bear for them! He had confidence in the Lord as his own Good Shepherd. He knew that everything he needed, God would provide. Jesus is our Good Shepherd (John 10:11). He is our Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20) and our Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). We are completely dependent on Him for our guidance, provision and protection. We are not likened to sheep because we are fearful or unable to lead ourselves, but because we obediently follow Him.
Verse 1: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
• Psalms 34:9-10 NKJV, “Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”
• Psalms 84:11 NKJV, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.”
Verse 2: He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
The only true peace and contentment comes from obediently following the Lord. If we rebel and disobey Him, we are just hurting ourselves and depriving
ourselves of our own blessings.
• John 4:14 NKJV, “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
• John 7:37b-38 NKJV, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
Verse 3: He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
The Lord promises healing, restoration and peace to our souls. When we follow the Lord in righteousness and
holiness, we choose to walk a path of blessing. If we walk in His paths, we will avoid the pitfalls of life.
• 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NKJV, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”
• 3 John 1:2 NKJV, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
• Hebrews 12:14 NKJV, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”
Verse 4: Yea, 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.
Only the Lord can deliver from death. When death threatens our life, He is there to escort us safely through to the other side, just like Daniel in the lion’s den and the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace. We need have no fear. The rod was for the sheep’s enemies and the staff was for the sheep’s protection.
Verse 5: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Before ancient feasts in the Middle Eastern culture, it was customary to anoint heads with perfumed oil. Hosts were also expected to protect their guests at all costs. The Lord, like a good Host, offers His protection to us even when enemies surround us. Not only does He promise us food and drink, but He promises us plenty of it – cups overflowing!
• Psalms 104:15 NKJV, “And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengthens man’s heart.”
Verse 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.
As God’s sheep and children, we can have confidence that God’s goodness and mercy will follow us to the end of our life and we can have faith that in the next life we will dwell in God’s house forever.
When you recognize the good shepherd, follow him!