Jesus, My Shepherd
What a blessing the twenty-third Psalm has
been to millions! I have noted that when I have visited the
aged or afflicted saints and asked them if they have a
favorite scripture they would like for me to read, they almost
always request the twenty-third Psalm. Only Heaven will reveal
the comfort the Psalm has been to God’s people through the
The twenty third Psalm is the psalm of
life. It follows the twenty-second Psalm which is the Psalm of
the cross. It precedes the twenty-fourth Psalm which is the
Psalm of glory. It tells me that;
Beneath me are the green pastures
Beside me are the still waters
With me is my Shepherd
Before me is the table
Around me are my enemies
Upon me is God’s anointing
Behind me are goodness and mercy
Beyond me is the house of the Lord.
The theme of the Psalm is "I shall not
want." I have noted that if there is any word that describes
the lost person it is the word "want".
- Like Bartimaeus – begging for his wants to be met.
- Like the Prodigal Son in the far country, after he had
spent all and came to be in want.
- Like Belshazzar, weighed in God’s balances and found
- Like the rich man in Hell, wanting a drop of water to
cool his tongue and wanting someone to warn his brothers to
It is my understanding that the Hebrew word
for "want" is the root word for the Hebrew word translated
Hell. It is certainly appropriate. Hell will be the land of
eternally unsatisfied desires. The child of God can say, "The
Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want" in this life
and in eternity.
The question arises, "Who can be so bold as
to say, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd" for the scriptures read,
"All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone
to his own way…" Isaiah 53:6
The answer is found in Luke
19:10. "The son of Man is come to seek and to save that
which is lost" and in John 10:9, "I am the door by me,
if any man enter in, he shall be saved…"
He is "my
Shepherd" to those who have made Him their Shepherd by faith.
What a difference a little pronoun "my" makes for this life
and eternity when it refers to the Good Shepherd!
I. I SHALL NOT WANT REST AND REFRESHMENT.
"…for He makes me to lie down in
green pastures and leads me beside the still waters."
The Green Pastures and Still Waters
We need green pastures and cool waters
for nourishment and refreshment. This provides the strength
to walk in the paths of righteousness.
It is very important that we walk in
paths of righteousness, but we cannot continue in those
paths without the nutrition provided by the green pastures
and cool waters. We need a regular diet of prayer, Bible
reading, teaching, preaching and fellowship.
The Divine Constraint – "He maketh me…"
If I refuse to lie down in the green
pastures and walk by the quiet waters or even become too
negligent to do, Christ will make me.
A Syrian shepherd had a young sheep with a broken leg. A
traveler asked, "How did he break it?" The shepherd
answered, "I broke it. He kept going astray and was in
danger of getting lost and devoured by wild beasts. Now, he
cannot go astray. He is totally dependent on me for food and
water. When the leg heals, he will never go astray again."
A deacon began to be prosperous. He dropped the family altar
time. Then he dropped Bible reading and prayer and even
began to miss church services. In time his daughter died. As
he stood weeping at the grave he told his preacher, "God is
making me lie down in the green pastures again."
When He makes us lie down, it is for our own rest,
refreshment and renewal.
II. I SHALL NOT WANT RESTORATION.
"He restoreth my soul, He
leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake."
Jesus Restores His Sheep
The Shepherd searched for the one lost
sheep "until He found it. "Luke 15:4. The world and
the Devil would lead us astray. Sad to say our fallen
fleshly nature is prone to go astray. Romans 7:18.
When and if one of the Lord’s sheep goes
astray He does not rest until that sheep is safely back in the
sheepfold once again.
Jesus Leads Us In The Paths of
He certainly does not lead us in the
paths of sin. "If we say we have fellowship with Him, and
walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. 1st
It would seem that the path that leads to Heaven and the
path that leads to Hell are going in opposite directions.
Those who are walking the road of darkness that terminates
in destruction should seriously question their relationship
to the Savior.
He leads us in paths of righteousness "for His name’s
sake." A lawyer does not want to lose a case for his
name’s sake. A doctor does not want to lose a patient for
his name’s sake. Jesus does not lead His sheep in paths of
sin but in paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.
"He leadeth. . ." He never asks us to go where He has
not gone. "…a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…"’
- Isaiah 53:3 "tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin…"
Hebrews 4:16. Wherever our Shepherd leads we can rest
assured that He has gone before.
III. I SHALL NOT WANT COMFORT
"Yes, though I walk through the
valley of death I will fear no evil…"
The Valley of Danger
It was necessary for a shepherd to lead his
sheep through ravines and canyons where wild beasts lurked.
The sheep had poor eyesight and were unable to see the
location of the wild beasts. The sheep did, however, have
excellent senses of hearing and smell and knew when wild
beasts were near. The shepherd who was able to protect them
was a source of great comfort to the sheep.
Being one of the Lord’s sheep does not exempt us from walking
through the valleys of danger in this life. However, all we
need to comfort us is to be close enough to our Shepherd that
we are always aware of His presence.
The Valley of Death
This is a valley through which all must
walk if the Lord tarries. There is no detour around it. "…it
is appointed unto man once to die…" Hebrews 9:27
It is a lonely path to walk alone. The son of atheist parents
was dying. The son said, "It’s so dark and I’m afraid." The
atheist father counseled, "When the time comes, just hold on
and take that last step into the dark." The son cried, "Dad,
there’s nothing to hold on to."
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, does not lead us into the valley of
death and leave us there. He leads us through to the other
side. The Christian can face physical death with calmness and
assurance because of the personal presence of the Shepherd and
His ability to defeat any foes.
IV. I SHALL NOT WANT ASSURANCE
"Thou preparest a table before me…"
A Table Prepared By Our Heavenly Shepherd
He prepared fish for the disciples in
The discerning Christian knows that
they live every day from His hand to their mouth.
The greatest banquet of all awaits at
the marriage supper of the Lamb
He Anoints Our Head With Oil.
This is His divine authorization for
whatever task He has for us. It is also His divine
enablement that empowers us to accomplish that task.
Our Cup Runs Over.
Our Shepherd gives everlasting life
(John 3:16). Our Shepherd also gives abundant life. (John
10:10b). Our cup does not run over for our personal
consumption or waste but for the blessing of others. In
our Father’s house there is plenty and to spare and we are
to share it with others.
Goodness and Mercy Follow Us All The Days
of Our Life.
Goodness to gather up the good things
that will bring us reward and mercy to blot out our
failures that cause shame.
"I Shall Dwell In The House of The Lord
Like the Apostle Paul we need not
doubt. "…for I know whom I have believed and am
persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have
committed unto Him against that day." ( 2ND
Timothy 1:12b). When we say that a Christian has died we
could not be further from the truth. They are more alive
than ever dwelling in the House of the Lord.
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.