Friday, March 28, 2008

Psalm 23 #1

The Lord. This is the "Lord of all." This is the "Lord of Sabbaoth, the Lord of hosts, the Lord of lords and King of kings. This is the person who is speaking to us in this Psalm. Never read this psalm without knowing and understand who is speaking to you. This is the Lord, Jehovah, the God of Heaven and earth, the Almighty sovereign. He condescends to a very lowly state to speak to us human beings--how can he do such? God is amazing in this way.

The Lord is. We know by scripture, and by our own innate understanding of things, that God is. To be saved we must understand that he is. Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

The Lord is my. This word "my" is an implied word in the Hebrew, but it has a strong significance. This word in English shows possession, and it is true in the Hebrew that this implication is correct. This intimates that God is in some way related to us. In fact, the implication is so strong as to say that he belongs to us in some way. To know that God not only created us but is also connected to us in a personal way is the mystery of the ages; it is bound up in the Gospel message.

The Lord is my Shepherd. The word Shepherd in the Hebrew is RA-AH and has a definite agricultural meaning at its base. It speaks of a shepherd of sheep or a herdsman of animals. But it also carries the meaning of pastor, ruler, or one who has compassion on others. It is with this word that God makes a specific connection with his people. He is our Shepherd. When no one cares for my soul, God does; when troubles are all around us, God is there with his mighty presence and his care; when tribulation comes, God sees us through them; when we are hungry, he feeds us; when we are thirsty, he gives us water to drink. He supplies all of our needs. It is so sad that many times we are not cognizant of these things, but God continues to supply these things nonetheless.

I. This is a personal pronoun and refers to the person who is reading the psalm. It denotes the person who is at the receiving end of the blessings of God, the provisions of God, and the wonderful opportunity to praise God for what he has done for us. "I" am the one who needs the Lord; "I" am the one who cries out for help; "I" am the one who needs refreshment; "I" am the one who is the beneficiary of God's greatest blessings. The only time that it is proper to be intrinsic and self-centered is when we are in a thankful attitude that God would look upon such a worm as "I."

I shall not. Many times we as God's people are concerned about the "I shalls" of the Bible. We are concerned about what we need to do to serve God. We concern ourselves about God's commandments and how many we are keeping. But what about the "shall nots" of the Bible? Sometimes they are more blessed than the "I shalls."

I shall not want. This word "want" means "to be in want, to be decreased or abated, to lack." We shall not go backward but forward if we are his sheep. We shall not be abated from a positive journey in the Lord's vineyard. Even when we backslide as believers, we are still going forward toward the Lord's purpose in our lives. He will eventually bring us to his Kingdom. We shall not lack anything that we need to serve God. God has supplied every need for us. Even David, who wrote this magnificent Psalm, had no need that God could not supply. We have only to see David and the way God blessed him to realize how great our God is. We have the same needs that David had, and he is our God and our Shepherd just as much as he was David's.

May God give us a new understand of the Shepherd, the sheep, the pasture, and the supply that our Shepherd gives us so freely and joyfully. Don't we have a wonderful Shepherd?

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