A psalm of David.
New Living Translation
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
Psalm 23 (God is All I Need) pt.1
All Scripture taken from the New Living Translation
Today we are starting a new sermon series and we will be going through one of the most famous chapters in the Bible, Psalm 23; The Lord is my Shepherd…
There are six verses to this Psalm and we are going to look at verses 1 thru 5…
It’s possible I might sneak verse 6 in for our Advent series… We’ll see.
Just so you know I teach out of the New Living Translation, so this may sound a little different than what you’re used to hearing.
This Psalm is the perfect picture of the goodness of God… King David wrote this Psalm… He was a musician, poet, king of Israel, and described as a man after God’s own heart… King David wasn’t perfect, but he knew God’s presence well!
This Psalm would be a good one to memorize for times of meditation, or even when we’re going through a rough patch of life…
The words in this Psalm can bring life to our spirits and breathe life into a dark situation as well as speak encouragement to us.
Let’s get right into it and read verse 1…
Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need.
God is everything that we need when we put our trust in Him!
Everything on this earth that we often put out trust in can be gone in a matter of seconds… Job, family, home, savings account, achievements… All these and more are things people put their trust in that are not as stable as we think and can be gone in seconds!
The one thing that can never be taken away from us is our relationship with God!
He will never leave our side… We often stray from Him, but He never leaves us!!
The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need!
Most of us did not grow up on a sheep farm so this analogy might not be that significant… King David who wrote this Psalm grew up as a shepherd boy.
I don’t know if you know this or not, but sheep are not the smartest of animals… They wander off and get lost… They fall off cliffs… They are an animal that needs a defender… They have a lot of natural predators… They can’t fight back very well, and they can’t run fast… They need to be well attended to in order to survive.
And guess what… People are a lot like sheep!
Sheep need someone like a shepherd to watch after them… If not, they are going to have a short life span, and it probably won’t end well!
The shepherd feeds, leads, and meets the needs of the sheep… The shepherd serves the sheep for the sheep to survive.
King David recognized that God will be our Shepherd! He will feed us; He will lead us, and He will meet all our needs.”
Philippians 4:19 tells us that, “God… will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”
There is nothing that we need that God cannot supply!
And what’s even better is that God’s goodness is not based on our goodness… It’s based on His goodness!
We don’t even have to be good for God to be good to us… He is good to us because of what Jesus did on the Cross!
Now don’t ever take that for granted!! God is good to us and that’s all there is to it!!
God wants us to be happy and blessed and one of the biggest things that get in the way of this is worry!!
Philippians 4:6: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Worry distracts us from living our best life… It distracts us from hearing God’s voice and seeing Him around us…
Pray about everything and tell Him what you need… Be honest about it… And then thank Him for all He’s done in your life!
If His Word tells me to pray about it and to tell Him what I need… I do that… Then I’m going to expect a response… I’m looking and listening for a response as I go about my day…
And then when it comes to God’s Word; I literally see Jesus doing the things I read about in the Bible… I picture it happening in my mind.
And since I’m going to be focused on Psalm 23 for the next several weeks, I’m going to picture Jesus as my Shepherd feeding me through His word, leading me through life, and taking care of all my needs… Because with Him I have everything I need!
Jesus knew worry would be a big factor in our lives… Look at what He taught…
Matthew 6:25-30: 25“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?”
Worry causes us to lose sight of reason… We lose sight of reason when we worry about the issues of the day, the little things… What we’re going to eat, drink, and wear…
Worrying also causes irrational thinking… Look at the birds outside… Do they ever look worried? No… And we are way more valuable than birds is what Jesus says!
Birds don’t pray to God when they have bad days… The can’t!!! But yet here they are going through life with God supplying their needs!
Look at the beauty of nature and the flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, and yet God saw fit to create things as wonderful as flowers…
I’ve often asked the question, “How many times have you worried yourself into a solution?”
I believe this is what Jesus is trying to say by asking, “Can you add a single moment to your life by worrying?”
No, we cannot! Worry clouds our faith in Jesus…
Proverbs 12:25 states that, “Worry weighs a person down.”
There is absolutely no freedom in worrying!!
Worry causes us to lose sleep… Worry causes health problems… Stress and anxiety!
Matthew 6:31-34: 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
The best way to combat worry is to seek God… Focus on Him… Pray to Him and tell Him what you need…
Jesus says that people who do not believe in Him, in His Father in heaven focus on their worries… These things dominate their thoughts…
The more we focus on the Kingdom of God and do our best in life everything we need will be added to our lives… God will supply all our needs!!
He is our Shepherd who feeds, leads, and meets all our needs… He is more than enough!!
Worry doesn’t change anything… It’s a waste of energy… It’s unreasonable, it’s unhelpful, it’s unnatural (Birds and flowers don’t worry so why do humans?) …
It’s unhealthy, and it weighs us down mentally… Yet we all worry at some point or another…
So how do we trust God to meet our needs instead of worrying about them?
This is the kind of stuff that always seems easier to suggest than do… Worry is controlling!!
You see, we were designed to trust not worry!! Trust in God and His Word!!
For starters let’s focus on Matthew 6:33-34: 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
Focus on these two verses and every day before you put your feet on the ground, ask Jesus to be your Shepherd, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need.
Jesus, will you feed me, lead me, and meet all my needs today? Will you help me do my best, forgive my wrongdoings, as I place my trust in You …
Yesterday already happened, what we can change we do… What we can’t we let go of and give it to Jesus… Tomorrow hasn’t happened yet… Focus on today only!!
When we worry about tomorrow, we miss out on the blessings of today…
We miss out on today’s blessings because we’re worried about what hasn’t happened yet!
God doesn’t give us the power to get through tomorrow; today… He gives us the power to get through TODAY… And when tomorrow gets here… Guess what? God will meet our needs for the day….
Maybe God wants to give you something today that will help with what’s coming up tomorrow… But if we’re so worried about tomorrow we miss out on today’s blessing we just missed what God had for us.
I know life can get overwhelming…. That’s why the best thing to do is press into the goodness of God and let Him lead us through it all…
I’ll close with this…
In John 10:14 Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd; I know My own sheep and they know Me.”
Jesus already knows what we need before we ask… But we must seek His presence…
Trust in Him… And when we don’t see the answer we’re looking for, we need to rest in Him and know that He has it all under control.
Maybe it would help if you made a list of all the things you’re worried about and literally lift them up to Jesus…
I suspect as you’re writing this list down you will begin to see how irrational some of the things you worry about are…
I’m sure some are legitimate, but the more we worry the more we add to the list…
I believe when we write things down it helps us to prioritize and even rationalize the things on the list.
1 Peter 5:7 – Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
Literally give your worries to God… Tell Him how you feel and why you think they are weighing you down… And then rest in Him… Let Him do what He does best…
Let Him be your Shepherd as He feeds, leads, and meets your needs throughout each day!
Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need.
Psalm 23 (Provider of Peace) pt.2
All Scripture is taken from the New Living Translation
Last week we started a series based on the goodness of God, and we are looking at Psalm 23 as a way of discovering His goodness to us.
We started out with Psalm 23:1 – “The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need.”
And we looked at how God is our defender, our provider, the Shepherd who leads, feeds, and meets all our needs on a regular basis… Especially in worry!
Today we will be looking at verse 2 and how God is our provider of peace.
Psalm 23:2 – “He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.”
This sounds relaxing and restful… That’s because rest is important… Rest brings peace… Rest helps us focus… Rest puts us in a better place mentally and spiritually.
Even God took a break in the story of Creation… He didn’t have to, He’s God!! But He did it as an example of how we are to live…
Genesis 2:3 – “And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when He rested from all His work of creation.”
We need to be refreshed on a weekly basis!… Our lives are to have a time when we can relax and rest in the goodness of God…
Remember, Jesus is our Shepherd who feeds, leads, and meets our needs…
And a lot of our unneeded stress and worry in life is because we don’t understand how to relax and rest…
Resting in God’s goodness on a regular basis is another way of building the trust in allowing Him to take care of all our needs…
Regular times of rest helps clear our minds and it allows us to hear from the Holy Spirit so we will be prepared for all the stuff life throws us…
This is why God instituted the Sabbath… One day a week where we are to take a break and rest…
Rest is so important that God made it one of the 10 Commandments… It is a day that we are to rest and focus on Him…
Exodus 20:8-10 – “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.”
It’s so important that we set aside time to rest, that God made it the fourth of the 10 Commandments!
How many times have you heard of someone who worked themselves into the hospital?
Many people come to a point in life that they regret how much time they devoted to their career because they neglected their family… We can’t get that time back!!
Not giving ourselves a regular time to rest is detrimental to our health and our relationships… Especially our relationship with God!
Learning to rest allows us to receive the blessings God wants to pour into us.
There are several things that cause us to miss out on much needed rest!
Often, we place our identity in the wrong things such as our career, our family, being a parent…. Or maybe even in a hobby…
But I think often people want to feel valuable, and important, and this causes them to find their identity in the wrong things…
The more I achieve the more I’m worth…I’m valued, I’m important, I’m significant.
Psalm 127:2 – “It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to His loved ones.”
It’s all a waste of time if we are not finding our identity in Jesus and resting in Him on a regular basis.
When we value our identity or our achievements, our success, more than our relationships… It’s like chasing the wind and we find it is all for nothing in the end…
As followers of Jesus, it’s all about relationships…. Loving God and loving others!
Staying close to God and introducing others to the goodness of God!
When we get to heaven, I wonder how impressed God is going to be with our success in life, or all the achievements and accomplishments we have on the wall…
I think He’s more focused on our relationship with Him, with His Son, and how we used what He gave us to serve those around us…
The way we treat others is the way we treat Jesus… Our relationship with others reflects our relationship with Jesus…
Our role on this earth is not to accomplish all the goals we set out for ourselves, make lots of money, and do really cool things…
The most important role we have as believers is to love… And we can’t learn to love if we don’t have meaningful relationships…
Misplaced identity, materialism, envy, insecurities… These are some of the reasons we are a stressed-out society unable to relax.
Job 11:18-19 – “Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help.”
Hope in Jesus is the result of trust… And where does our hope come from?
When we live with confidence clinging to Jesus as our Shepherd, people will look to us for help!
Listen to this prayer by the Apostle Paul to the church in Rome…
Romans 15:13 – “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Do you see how all this ties together in the Scriptures?
God, who is the source of all our hope when we trust in Him, will fill us completely with joy and peace… This is how we learn to set aside time to rest in Him!
And then we will overflow with confident hope…
This is like resting in green pastures and napping by peaceful streams of water.
So, how do we do this? How do we learn to live a rest filled, hope filled, balanced life?
We start by trusting our Shepherd… Jesus…
If we are following Jesus, we can be confident that He isn’t going to lead us into the weeds… He isn’t going to lead us into traffic and leave us…
He is going to lead us to green pastures and peaceful streams.
A good starting point is to remember our value and worth in Christ Jesus…
A lot of people are so caught up in putting their value and worth in their achievements they forget who they are in Christ, and then they are constantly comparing and being compared to others.
Or, often times people have had things spoken over them as a child or even as an adult and it got into their spirit, and they believed what was said…
They believed what someone spoke over them, the putdown, the insult, the lie…
Listen, it’s not what we do that gives us worth, and it doesn’t matter what’s been said or done to us that possibly destroyed our spirits… This isn’t what define us!!
IT IS WHO WE BELONG TO THAT DEFINES WHO WE ARE!
Colossians 1:19-22 – “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.”
The minute we put our trust in Jesus we are now holy and blameless in His sight!
Romans 5:1 – “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”
Nothing anyone says or does can take this away from you!!
Rest in this… Find peace in this… We don’t have to prove our worth to anyone… And we don’t have to work at gaining value… We are already valuable!!
Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 6 that we are more valuable than the birds of the air and the flowers in the fields… We are the prized possession of God’s!
If you are tired and wearing down… Make time to focus on the goodness of God…
Meditate on Psalm 23:2 – “He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.”
And picture yourself relaxing in the goodness of God as He helps you with a new mindset of finding your worth and your value in Him…
Not in what the world finds worth and value in!
Psalm 29:11 – “The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.”
My all-time favorite verse is found in Matthew…
Matthew 11:28-29 – “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Doesn’t that just sound good? REST FOR YOUR SOUL!!
Rest is something many people long for… Many people are overworked and stressed out!
We’ll never get the rest we’re looking for on our own…
There’s a reason God put a day of rest in with the 10 Commandments…
It is to remember our relationship with Him… To focus on and spend time with Him…
And when we commit to do that, He will give us all the strength, hope, and rest we need to live at peace not only with ourselves, but those around us as well!
- The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need.
- He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams.