The Good Shepherd In Action

The Good Shepherd In Action

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Psalm 23:1–6

A farmer repeatedly invited his neighbor to come over to his orchard and pick some apples and make fresh, sweet apple cider. The neighbor kept turning down the offer. Finally, the farmer asked why the neighbor didn’t want to come to his orchard. He said, “I think you are prejudiced against my apples.” The neighbor answered by saying, “Well, to tell the truth, I have tasted a few of them and they are very sour.” The farmer asked, “Which apples have you eaten?” The neighbor answered, “Those apples alongside the fence by the road.” The farmer said, “Ah, yes—those are sour. I planted them to fool the boys who live around here. But if you will come into the middle of my orchard, you will find a different taste.”

In much the same way, people who only nibble on the outside of Christianity only get a taste of conviction of sin, purity, and denial of self. All they see are fuddy-duddies and goody-two-shoes who don’t have any fun. Those apples were planted to keep out the hypocrites and curiosity seekers. Christ is interested in people making a commitment—a whole hearted, jump-in-with- both-feet commitment to follow Him. But once you come to Christ, the fruit is sweet. The nearer to God; the sweeter the joy.

John 10:14 KJV

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

Sometimes it is heard to love a Savior we have never seen. Jesus tells us that He is the Good Shepherd. David wrote a song about the Good Shepherd. In this famous Psalm we will get to know our Savior more. I am sure you have heard many messages from this passage. This evening we are going to look at the verbs David uses to describe his relationship to the Shepherd. Tonight we will discover the Good Shepherd in Action.

The Lord Shepherds

Psalm 23:1 KJV

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 The verb is a participle and means “is shepherding me.” Eastern shepherds guarded their sheep, led them, provided food and water for them, took care of them when they were weary, bruised, cut or sick, rescued them when they strayed, knew their names, assisted in delivering the lambs, and in every way simply loved them.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 95.

My Shepherd – An Intimate Personal Relationship.

John 10:27–28 KJV

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

John 10:11 KJV

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Therefore I shall not want

 Genesis 22:14 (KJV)

 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

“I shall not want”—notice that David does not say, I have not wanted, but “I shall not want.” What is it that I need? Well, I need safety. I’m a sheep, a stupid little animal. Therefore, my Shepherd sees to it that I won’t want for protection. He protects me. When a little sheep says, “I shall not want” and “I shall never perish,” it is because it has a wonderful Shepherd.

1 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: Poetry (Psalms 1-41), electronic ed., vol. 17 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 135.

The Lord Leads

Psalm 23:2 KJV

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

The word translated “lead” in verse 2 means “to lead gently.” You cannot drive sheep. The sheep hear the shepherd’s voice and follow him, just as we listen to Christ in His Word and obey Him (John 10:3–5, 16, 27). If a sheep goes astray, the shepherd leaves the flock in charge of his helpers and goes to find the lost animal.

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 96.

To Green Pastures

He makes me lie down: the causative form of the verb “to lie down” does not have the sense of “he forces me to lie down,” as rsv he makes me lie down seems to say (also neb, njv, niv). The idea is that the shepherd finds a place (green pastures) where the sheep can lie down and rest. So njb “he lets me lie.”1

1 Robert G. Bratcher and William David Reyburn, A Translator’s Handbook on the Book of Psalms, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1991), 232.

Beside Still Waters

“still waters”- Jehovah-Shalom, “the Lord our peace” (Judg. 6:24)

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 9

 Judges 6:24 (KJV)

 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.

Still waters translates “waters of quietness.” njv has “water in places of repose”; spcl “brooks of quiet waters.” Also possible is “refreshing streams.” This is not a stagnant pool, but a place where the fresh water flows gently, making it easy for the sheep to drink it. In some languages this is “streams of fresh water” or “rivers with good water.”1

1 Robert G. Bratcher and William David Reyburn, A Translator’s Handbook on the Book of Psalms, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1991), 232.

To Paths of Righteousness

King James Version Psalm 23

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake

“paths of righteousness”—Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “the Lord our righteousness” (Jer. 33:16)1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 95.

 Jeremiah 33:16 (KJV)

 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.

Through Dark Valleys

King James Version Psalm 23

      Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

   I will fear no evil: for thou art with me

The Lord Restores

King James Version Psalm 23

   He restoreth my soul:

shub (??????, 7725), “to return or go back, bring back.” This verb occurs in several Semitic languages (not in Phoenician-Punic and Ethiopic) including Ugaritic (1550–1200 B.C.) and in all periods of Hebrew. It occurs about 1,060 times in biblical Hebrew and about 8 times in biblical Aramaic (in the form tub).

The basic meaning of the verb is movement back to the point of departure (unless there is evidence to the contrary). In the first occurrence of this verb God told Adam that he and Eve would “eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19)1

1 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 203.

The Lord Comforts

King James Version Psalm 23

   I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

   Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Nacham may also mean “to comfort.” The refugees in Babylon would be “comforted” when survivors arrived from Jerusalem (Ezek. 14:23); 

Ezekiel 14:23 KJV

And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.

the connection between “comfort” and “repent” here resulted from the calamity God brought upon Jerusalem as a testimony to the truth of His Word. David “comforted” Bathsheba after the death of her child born in sin (2 Sam. 12:24); this probably indicates his repentance of what had happened in their indiscretion.

2 Samuel 12:24 KJV

And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.

W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 202.

With His Presence

“you are with me”—Jehovah-Shammah, “the Lord is there” (Ezek. 48:35)1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 95.

 Ezekiel 48:35 (KJV)

 It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.

With His Weapons

The use of rod and staff…The rod was a club worn at the belt, while the staff was a walking implement that doubled as a weapon in time of need (1 Sam 17:35) and guided and controlled the sheep. These were traditional tools of the shepherd, as is shown already in a cylinder seal inscription of the third millennium.

Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Ps 23:4.

The Lord Provides

King James Version Psalm 23

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies

While My Enemies Watch

“presence of my enemies”—“Jehovah-Nissi, “the Lord our banner” (Ex. 17:15)

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 95.

 Exodus 17:15 (KJV)

 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:

Goodness and Mercy

King James Version Psalm 23

   Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

Philippians 1:6 KJV

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Eternal Security

King James Version Psalm 23

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever

John 14:6 KJV

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Lord Anoints

King James Version Psalm 23

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

With Oil – The Holy Spirit

“anoint my head”—Jehovah-M’Kaddesh, “the Lord who sanctifies” (Lev. 20:81

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 95.

 Leviticus 20:8 (KJV)

 And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.

My Cup Runs Over – Joy!

John 10:10 KJV

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending Services regularly, stopped going.

After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The preacher found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for his preacher’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited…

The preacher made himself at home, but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs.

And after some minutes, the preacher took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more.

Soon it was cold and dead. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.

The preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire.

Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it. As the preacher reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday…”

___

Our Savior is in action keeping His beloved sheep safe, fed, watered, rested and guided. Let us endeavor to follow close to the Good Shepherd.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 5:50 PM June 23, 2021.

Comments are closed.