Series: The Good Shepherd
April 25, 2021 | Mark Simmons
The Good Shepherd
Psalm 23 - Guidance
Psalm 23 (GWT)
The LORD is my shepherd. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He renews my soul. He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life, and I will remain in the LORD's house for days without end.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (ESV)
He gives new life to my soul: he is my guide in the ways of righteousness because of his name. (BBE)
He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised. (GNT)
He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. (NLT)
He restores and revives my life. He opens before me the right path and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name. (TPT)
He gives me new strength. He helps me do what honors him the most. (TLB) You refresh my life. You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. (CEV)
He (The LORD, Yahweh, my shepherd)
Restores/renews/refreshes/gives new life/gives new strength
He takes souls that are worn out from sin and rebellion and are far off the path and he brings them back and restores them.
He takes tired sheep that are giving up hope on the journey and he renews them.
He takes souls that are becoming morally dead and gives them new life.
He takes people who feel too weak to continue and he gives them new strength.
He takes the initiative as our shepherd to find us when we are getting lost or weak or dead inside.
Matthew 18:12-13 (NLT)
Psalms 19:7 (NLT)
God’s word tells confused, lost, tired, weary, hopeless sheep truth about themselves, their situations and their shepherd who is always present to guide us if we let him.
How do you need to experience God’s restoration and renewal in your life?
Have you gotten lost?
Are you confused?
Do you know the right path but feel like you don’t have the courage or stamina to go forward on it?
My soul/my life/my strength/me
Soul was a way of saying the whole person as well.
He leads me/he guides me
Notice he isn’t behind me driving me with a whip or beating me with a stick. If you have that image of the LORD it is not the right one.
He is ahead of you and me. He is leading. He is guiding. He is showing the way. He is asking us to listen to him and follow him.
The eternal I AM is ALREADY in your FUTURE
John 10:3-4 (GWT)
Ultimately, the way home isn’t so much a path as a person.
John 14:6 (GWT)
"I am the WAY, the truth, and the life.
How do you need God’s guidance?
Moral guidance in a dilemna?
Life guidance for direction?
Daily practice of listening to his word and Spirit and looking at Jesus’s example?
Listen to him! Look to him!
Where does our Shepherd guide us?
In paths of righteousness/in right paths/in ways of righteousness/in proper paths
This sounds wonderful, but if you are anything like me you know that every day in big and small ways, you go your own way.
You have thoughts that don’t honor God, about him or other people or yourself.
You have emotions that need shepherding and guidance.
You don’t do things you should out of ignorance or cowardice or habit.
You do things you shouldn’t out of greed or self-justification, or image management or selfishness.
In short, you are a sheep who gets off the path of righteousness regularly. God knows this about you. It is the beginning of wisdom to know this about yourself. As the prophet Isaiah says,
Isaiah 53:6 (NLT)
Where were or are you stuck and needing rescue?
Where were or are you stuck again and needing rescue?
Isaiah 53:6 (NLT)
Why is knowing when you are astray and off the path so critical? Because
Being lost or stuck is not the biggest problem.
Being lost or stuck and too proud to ask for help is.
Psalm 32:8 (NLT)
What righteous path do you need to follow the shepherd on?
The purpose of your life is to bring honor and glory to the shepherd.
When God’s path seems to be the same as what we think will make us happy, we like it.
When God’s path seems like it will make us unhappy, we tend not to like it.
Maturity comes when we choose holiness over what SEEMS like it will make us happy.
For his name’s sake/for the good of his name/bringing honor to his name/as he has promised
You are true to your name (CEV)
YHWH the Great I AM keeps his word.
Read Luke 15:1-7 as we look at picture:
Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such despicable people -- even eating with them! So Jesus used this illustration: "If you had one hundred sheep, and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn't you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it? And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders. When you arrived, you would call together your friends and neighbors to rejoice with you because your lost sheep was found. In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away!
ALL OF US PRAY:
I am a sheep that has gone astray.
I have left your paths to follow my own.
Thank you, Jesus for being my Good Shepherd.
Thank you for dying for my sins.
Please forgive me.
Help me to follow you in your path.
When I get stuck again, please free me.
Guide me in the right path, the path of righteousness.
Help me to trust that you will be true to your character.
Teach me to want to bring honor to your name.