A NEW sermon series – “How the shepherd cares for his sheep”.
What is your favourite Psalm? Many would answer Psalm 23 and so today we begin a microscopic look at this most loved of all the Psalms, beginning with its opening sentence – “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.”
(For the background to the Psalm you will need to read 2 Samuel chapters 13 – 18)
It flows out from a story of family conspiracy and betrayal, informing us of three things about God that will see us through difficult situations:-
1 – God as PERSONAL.
“The Lord is MY shepherd” telling us that David enjoyed a personal relationship with God and desired to bring him into his problem as a frame of reference, knowing that because of their relationship he would be interested in getting involved in the unholy mess.
If we to are able to say – “the Lord is MY shepherd” then this means that we do not have to face our difficulties alone, but can be confident that he will be there for us (1 Peter 5 v 7.)
Challenge – Do you know God personally?
2 – God as PASTORAL.
In his youth David was a shepherd (1 Samuel 16 v 11) who eventually moved from pasture to palace (Psalm 78 v 70 – 71) resulting in his primary picture of God being that of a caring shepherd.
We could do a lot worse that have such a picture of God as a shepherd ourselves, because it is prominent in the Old Testament (Isaiah 40 v 11) and then applied to Jesus in the New Testament (John 10 v 11, Hebrews 13 v 20 & 1 Peter 5 v 4.) And as the main role of the shepherd is to care for his sheep, we can have confidence that the divine shepherd will care for us through thick and thin.
Challenge – Are you experiencing God’s pastoral care in your crisis?
3 – God as PROVIDER.
Because the Lord was his shepherd, David continued – “I shall not be in want.” This does not mean that he would have everything that he wanted; but rather that he would not be deficient, having all the resources that he needed to see him through this family crisis.
There are those who believe that Christians should not have troubles and that God should treat “his own” better than he treats others. But there is no immunity from problem’s in a fallen world; Christians suffer the same as everyone else. The difference should be seen in the response, because we can be confident that the divine shepherd will provide us with all the heavenly resources that we need to respond appropriately to our crisis, while also acknowledging a God who is working out his purposes for our benefit and for his glory (Romans 8 v 28.)
Challenge – Do you know the Lord’s provision so that you will lack nothing in your crisis?
Theme: “When times are tough – who will be there for you?
Readings: Psalm 23
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Robin Brenchley