Text: Psalms 23
Icebreaker: Could you complete the phrase “The Lord is my ………”? Now my question to you is: Is He? What does it mean to have the Lord as your shepherd?
Do you like to be in control? The reality is that the majority of us would prefer to be in control of our lives, careers, marriages and finances rather than to give control over those things to someone else. Understandably, this feeling is partly inherent in us, and society has promoted that self-sufficiency and independence in us since we were kids; however when we decide to walk with God we need to remember that He is our Shepherd, or to say it another way, that He is in control of our lives.
The problem is that to allow God to be the Shepherd does not come naturally to us and doesn’t happen instantly when we decide to start our walk with Him, this is a constant decision and battle that we will have to face throughout our lives. To know God as Shepherd, we have to surrender our life to Him – to be vulnerable and to let him rule all of our life, not just the parts that we don’t mind letting go of. To do that we have to identify who or what else we are allowing to have control in our lives.
My question to you is: Who is your Shepherd? Who is in control of your life? Below we will see what it means to have God as our Shepherd:
1) He provides
Because the Lord is my Shepherd I will lack nothing. That means that what I need is God, and He will never be away from my life. God the Provider was understood as El Shaddai in the O.T. and the word Shad means breast - this helped the people to understand that just as a baby needs the mother’s milk to survive, in the same way we need the Shepherd to live, and what He says will come to pass in our lives.
2) He gives rest
The Lord refreshes our souls, what a great blessing it is to know that He can do that! Are you tired or stressed? Do you need rest? What gives you rest at the moment? In this time of chaos we can either rest in the Lord or wrestle with Him – if we surrender to God then He will show us how to rest in Him and this rest with sustain and nourish us. Today we need to rest at His feet, that makes the whole difference.
3) He leads
God wants to be our Leader; that is exactly what He said to the people when they asked for an earthly king. Today we might not have an earthly king with the same authority as in the past, but sometimes we allow so many other things to lead us (to influence what we should do, how we should behave and what we want to achieve). Remember that you are who God says you are, and you can be and do what He says.
4) He guides
That means that the Lord walks amongst us and He wants to guide us to His right paths. That is exactly the image of the shepherd, and this closeness and intimacy is what the Lord is seeking to develop in His relationship with us.
5) He comforts us
Comfort is not just a hug and an empty word of sympathy. To understand the kind of comfort that is being described here we need to know what a ‘rod’ and a ‘staff’ are. They can be the same thing, but here they are two distinct words, ‘rod’ meaning the wooden stick that David used when he took care of the sheep that belonged to his father. Remember that he used his rod to kill a lion and a bear (1 Sam 17.34-35). So, this shows us a comfort that guards against enemies.
In this text ‘Staff’ is a word that is more about the authority of God and this is reminder that God is in control of all things. So, David was comforted by God, because he knew that God would protect him from anything and everything, and through His authority, God would always be in control of his life. Would you like to be comforted by God?
Conclusion: God is calling you to know more of Him, would you like that? Let’s pray