We discussed yesterday how Jesus goes on the comparison attack against the fake shepherds of Israel, the religious leaders of His day. They were the façades we talked about last week, looking like they were spiritual, talking with big religious words, and still a million miles away from God. So Jesus describes real shepherding to them, how the sheep are placed in a protective sheepfold, and the self-sacrificing lives of shepherds who were willing to die for one of the dumbest animals on earth. He then proclaims He is the door to the sheepfold and only through Him can you have salvation. Next He states He is the Great Shepherd, and that the Pharisees were thieves and murderers. Only He lays down His life for the sheep (the redeemed). No one else does.
A while back before Coronavirus changed our world, our weekly Sunday Bible reading rested on Psalm 23, Dick Pound’s favorite Psalm. This is a beautiful description of How Jesus takes care of you and me!
- 1The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
- When God is your Shepherd, what in this whole wide universe could you ever be in need of that He won’t supply? ______________________________________________________
- 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
- Jesus said He is the bread of life and has everlasting water for us.
- Spiritually, are you benefitted most by a real meal of nutritious, all-natural, wholesome Spirit-filled Bible, or by imitation, artificially flavored/colored, wisdom of man? ___________________________________________________
- As such, why do you and I tend to stray so often for that which does not nourish us spiritually? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- 3He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
- Notice how He wants His best for you?
- We live in a harsh world that drains us, that weakens us, that zaps the will from us to even move forward sometimes. Yet, He says that He ________________________ your soul! Isn’t that wonderful?
- Righteousness is a reflection of Who He is, so when He leads you and me to those righteous paths, it may not be comfortable, and it may be challenging, but it brings Him glory.
- 4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
- Okay, news flash: In a recent survey it was found that 10 out of 10 people will die someday. It’s a 100% guarantee. But remember that those who are in Christ will not taste eternal death (Cf. I. Corinthians 15:55-57):
- With that in mind, notice that we walk in the valley of the _____________________ of death! Not in the valley of death.
- No matter what, even in death He is with us!
- His ___________________ and _____________________ comfort us. From what we learned Sunday about a shepherd and his tools, what were the rod and staff used for and how do they comfort us? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
- In Jeremiah 12:1, Jeremiah comes to God understanding He is righteous, yet confused that the wicked prosper. Yet, even though they seem to be prospering, or are wealthy at the expense of the poor, God provides for our needs:
- Shepherds would often prepare the tablelands where the sheep would feed by driving out predators, removing poisonous plants, and ensuring they were safe. They would also prepare an olive oil, sulfur, and spice mixture to protect the sheep from insects. They would use olive oil in the hot, hundred-plus degree heat to protect their own skin as well since it would get very dry and crack. And, wine was valued in this climate as throats would get parched.
- When you read this verse, what verb stands out as demonstrating God’s love for us beyond even our needs? _________________________________________________
- 6Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
- When we are His sheep, what are the eternal results/blessings we receive from being His? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jesus is our Great Shepherd. What more could we want or desire? Why would we seek another? Why wouldn’t we willingly sacrifice ourselves for Him daily?
The King of Love My Shepherd Is Hymn by H.W. Baker
1 The King of love my Shepherd is,
whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am His,
And He is mine forever.
2 Where streams of living water flow
My ransom’d soul he leadeth;
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.
3 Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed,
but yet in love He sought me,
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.
4 In death’s dark vale I fear no ill,
With thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.
5 Thou spread’st a table in my sight,
Thy unction grace bestoweth;
And O, the transport of delight,
With which my cup o’erfloweth.
6 And so through all the length of days,
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise
Within thy house forever.