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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #80
Posted: April 27, 2006

PSALM 23:1

We come this week in our study of the Psalms to the most quoted of all Psalms.  It is Psalm 23 which says, The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth 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 thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth 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.”

Be careful in letting just anyone embrace this Psalm as their own.  It is set in the middle of the trilogy of Psalms.  In Psalms 22 we are told of Jesus as the suffering sacrifice and in Psalm 24 we see Him reigning as the Sovereign Savior.  In the middle of the trilogy we see Him as the sweet shepherd.  You will never know the sweet shepherd until you know him as the sweet sacrifice.  He will never be your sovereign Savior until He is your sweet shepherd and suffering sacrifice. 

This Psalm has been called by some, ‘David’s Journal’.  A journal and a diary are much different.  A diary is that which one would write in every day.  They have a tendency to be wordy and boring but a journal is that which we write only the high spots of our life.  I have had the great honor of keeping a journal over the years.  What a blessing to open it and walk down the memory lane of God’s high points of my life.  I do not want to gloss over this Psalm but let us walk slowly through it.  Let us look for the sweet nuggets of gold in David’s Journal and may we experience days of heaven on earth.

Let us look at verse 1 as THE REVEALING DAYS OF DAVID’S JOURNAL.  Blessed be the day on which this Psalm was born!  God revealed such a big world to all in this first opening statement.  It has traveled the world over in every language and tongue.  It has helped prisoners in the prison house, it has comforted dying soldiers on the battle field, the wife or husband who has lost their mate, the poor orphan bereaved of their parents, and the lonely parents called upon to put a child beneath the sod are lifted here.  Psalm 23 has arisen for every occasion to be the everlasting arms of God to lift the bereaved up and over their times of trouble. 

In the revealing days of David’s Journal he says, “The Lord is my shepherd…”  The word LORD is in all caps in our King James Bible.  This speaks of Jehovah, the Great I Am, the Self Sufficient One, the One who Is, who Was, and who is to Come. 

This text does not speak of Him being the shepherd of the world.  It doesn’t speak of Him shepherding the generations of yesterday or the generations that now are and those that are to come.  It speaks only of Him being ‘My Shepherd’.  The word ‘shepherd’ is akin to our word ‘pastor’.  The LORD is my pastor.  It speaks of one who preserves.  How we see this in the life of the shepherds illustrated in the Bible.  David killed a bear and a lion to preserve a flock.  Abel laid down his life as a shepherd.  The word ‘shepherd’ speaks of a provider.  We are dumb sheep who can not take care of ourselves.  Paul said that He would supply all our needs.  The word ‘shepherd’ speaks of a director.  Our shepherd will lead us in a plain path if we but follow Him.  All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way.  What a patient shepherd we have to direct us.  This statement is in the present tense “is my shepherd”.  It is not, He was or could be or shall be, but that He is my shepherd. 

Then David said in this REVEALING DAY of his journal “…I shall not want…”  This phrase includes the present “I want not” as well as the future “I shall not want”.  It speaks of our temporal needs.  God will not let any true need of His child go unmet.  This is a wanting crazed world that we live in.  He must alone be the supply of all we want.  I never found that Christ was all I wanted until Christ was all I had.  He supplies all of our spiritual needs.  The materialism rat race will place you in a hole that you can not climb out of but He supplies the deep spiritual wants of our hearts. 

Oh to enter into the world of not wanting is to be lifted into a realm far above the reach of this temporal earth.  I bless the day I was allowed to say, ‘The LORD is Tom Gilliam’s shepherd’