SERMON SUMMARY. David was a powerful biblical personality with many titles. From his quiet and humble beginnings as an unassuming young boy, his defeat of Goliath, and his ascendancy to become king, he might most affectionately be known as “the man after God’s own heart.” But, like of all of us, his life was far from perfect. Like us, his family was highly dysfunctional and included, deceit, adultery, murder, rape, incest and even a son, Absalom, who plotted to kill him. And, all of this started because David acted on his lust for another man’s wife (sounds like reality tv . . . nothing new under the sun). But David’s also had a repentant heart towards God, he was willing to receive God’s blessings and God’ chastisement.
And, the Psalms reveal for us what it is like to have a sincere heart for and relationship with God, our Good Shepherd. In the Psalms we see poured out and honest communication with the Lord. It is unfiltered raw and real. This is how we are to relate to God, he is big enough and loving enough to hear all that is on our hearts. It is reported that David wrote Psalm 23 during a low point – his son was in the midst of a plot to murder David . . . the valley of the shadow of death. Nonetheless, despite this heavy burden, David’s clarity of mind and heart about his relationship was clear. God was his shepherd, his guide, his leader, his provider, his protector. And, in this God, David found the peace of green pastures and still waters. He found peace in the midst of his darkest days. He found provision even in the face of his enemies. And, he declared that he would be with his God forever. This is a heart for God. This is how we need to be with our Good Shepherd (John 10:11) . . . knowing that goodness and mercy shall follow us all of the days of our lives and that we will dwell in God’s house forever.
OUR DECLARATION/THE LORD IS OUR SHEPHERD (verse 1) David, in the midst of his trial, has clarity about who God is to him and what that means for him. The Lord is his shepherd. And, because the Lord is his shepherd, David’s faith tells him he shall not want.
- David, as a child of God, is clear that God is his shepherd – especially in our time of trial. Are we able to declare that the Lord is our shepherd?
- What does it mean to us that God is our shepherd? That we shall not want.
THE SHEPHERD DIRECTS THE SHEEP/WHAT DOES HE DO (verse 2-3) David recognizes, in his time of trial, that he needs to be at place of peace. And, he recognizes who brings him to that peace. It is the Good Shepherd; he needs to the shepherd to direct him. Not only this but David recognizes the condition of his soul and that it needs to be restored. David also acknowledges the reality of his sin. He needs to be lead to the paths of righteousness
- What does it mean for us to lie down in green pastures? What does it mean to be beside the still waters?
- Why does the Shepherd have to make us lie down . . . why is that he must lead us beside the still waters? (hint, sheep need a lot of direction, they don’t are well for themselves)
- What does it mean that David/we need to have our soul restored? Have you ever had this feeling? How is it when the soul is restored?
- Why do we need to be lead on the paths of righteousness? Are we able to lead ourselves to righteousness?
OUR DECLARATION/ PEACE IN THE VALLEY (verse 4) David is really in the valley of the shadow of death – there is a death warrant on his head and it is from his son. His spirit is low. Yet, he is at peace in the valley because he knows the Good Shepherd.
- Whether it physical harm or emotional trauma we can find ourselves in a place that is like the “valley of the shadow of death/darkness”. Can we identify with David’s experience of being in this place of darkness?
- Are we able to relate to the Good Shepherd like David in God’s comfort? How to we get to that place of peace and no fear?
THE SHEPHERD PREPARES A TABLE IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES (verse 5) The table is a place of peace and a place of provision. David is saying that even in the presence of his enemies the Lord provides him with both peace an provision.
- Have you experienced God’s peace and provision in the midst of storm and enemies? Do we sometimes forget this?
OUR DECLARATION/THE LORD IS OUR SHEPHERD (verse 6) We’ve seen all that the Good Shepherd has provided. And, after reflecting, David declares again all that the Lord is and does. Goodness and mercy follow (pursue) him all the time. And, he wants to dwell with the shepherd all the time.
- Are we reminded and are we able to declare with David about God’s goodness and mercy?
- Are reminded and are we able to declare with David our desire to dwell in the house of the Lord forever?