23rd Psalm by Ed Gabler
Team teaching on May 23. After Vicki shared with us about eating at the Kings’ Table, then Dr. Ed (our affectionate name for him) spoke. He and Vicki did not tell each other what they were going to teach about. And both teachings meshed perfectly.
Dr. Ed spoke about our relationship with God. He told us when he was five years old someone gave him a record about David and Goliath. He wore that record out. David knew about sheep. He knew they were stupid, had bad habits, got off on the wrong path, were prone to wander. Sometimes a shepherd with a wayward sheep had to break the sheep’s legs, and then the shepherd would bind up the wound and carry the sheep around on his shoulders, cementing a relationship with the sheep. When the sheep was healed, he stayed near the shepherd. Shepherds protected the sheep from dangers. We are like wandering sheep who have gone astray.
We looked at some shepherd verses:
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
We can wander, but God restores us because of the Lamb of God (Jesus.)
1 Peter 2:25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
John 10:14-16 (Jesus speaking) I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Jesus laid down His life for us.
Matthew 26:31 (Jesus speaking) Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘ I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.
Zechariah 23:7 “ Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion,” says the LORD of hosts.
Isaiah 40:10-11 Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.
We love that image!
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Then we looked in detail at the 23rd Psalm.
Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Notice it is not “A” lord, but THE LORD. The One true God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three in one, trinity. Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
It says, “Let Us…” in creation, it says “Us” for all three aspects of the trinity were present at creation.
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
Like God, man can reason, have cognitive thought and actions based on that reason, and come to right conclusions. We reason with the Word.
Notice that it is MY shepherd, not A shepherd, this denotes a personal relationship with God.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Most people think God meets all our needs and wants. But not all of our wants are according to God’s Word. For example, David wanted Bathsheba. Dr. Ed told us we should WANT to NOT sin, because Jesus poured Himself out for our sins.
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Big difference between needs and wants. Nothing is impossible with God for He owns all.
Psalm 50:10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
God can supply all our needs.
Psalm 23:2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
Notice, He has us lie down in PASTURES, not LO DEBARS (wilderness – see Vicki’s teaching). These pastures are green with life, and He gives us life more abundantly. HE is our green pasture, and all our needs are met in HIM.
John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Still waters are calm, peaceful, tranquil, and that is what we get when we give our lives to Him. We get rest, peace, restoration of everything that was lost.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
John 10:7-11 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
This is exactly what Jesus did – put down HIS LIFE for the SHEEP (us).
Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
God has a reputation and He wants His reputation to be good, to bring glory and honor to Him. The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. God wants us to check our paths to make sure we are within His path of righteousness for us. He wants us to stay in position to lead others to the pasture, so that we all become His sheep.
Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Notice it is the SHADOW of death, not the real things. Dr. Ed told us about a mom and her sons at the funeral of the grandmother. The people mourn, missing the grandmother, but the grandmother is with God, and is very ok.
If you are run over by a huge truck’s shadow you are ok, for it is just a shadow with no ability to hurt you.
Death is a shadow, we may miss the person for awhile, but only for an instant in the scheme of eternity. Jesus defeated death, and He has the keys. Revelation 1:18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
Notice, it says we are to fear no evil, for He has us. We are also to WALK THROUGH the valley, not camp there. God is with us, we are not alone. God is with us every step of the way.
God uses his rod and staff for many purposes. The rod can be used to instruct or correct us. It grows us, and is not meant to hurt us. With the rod he can beat away the enemy and protect us. Sometimes God’s correction is a Word, or a time out. It is the correction of a loving parent who wants to help to encourage us and grow us up. The staff leads and guides the sheep, and can provide comfort. Children who are raised correctly will not fear correction by their parents. Dr. Ed told us that the rod is the Word of God and the staff is the Spirit.
Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
John 10:28-29 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”
That “them” includes ourselves. When we are in the eternal security of the Lord’s Pasture, and no one can snatch us out of God’s hand. Of course, if we choose to wander out we can suffer the consequences, but we can always repent and go back to the safety of His pasture. God will never leave or forsake us.
Dr. Ed told us of the Cherokee Indian youth right of passage, where they are sent out to the woods to sit on a stump, blindfolded and told not to talk or move from the stump all night. The noises of the night and the fear can touch the youth, but they sit there bravely. When morning comes and they take off their blindfolds, the first sight they see is that their father was sitting right next to them all night protecting them.
God is like that with us, ever watchful and with us, even when we step out of His perfect will for us.
Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
We need to realize that discipline helps us to grow in the way that God wants us to grow, and we will ultimately praise the Lord for godly discipline. But discipline is not rampant violence, but appropriately administered discipline can stop us from making wrong choices.
Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Even when satan is trying to take away our joy, God is still there, and taking care of us and we can still have joy. No matter what our enemies try to do to disrupt our lives, God still takes care of us.
Psalm 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
God prepares a table to help us overcome anything that the devil can throw at them.
In ancient days when a King was put into his office, the prophet would anoint the king with oil, a full anointing. Also sheep had little pests that would bother their eyes, and a sheep could not be contented with the pests nibbling at him, so the shepherd would put oil on the sheep’s head to repel the pests. When we stay in our calling, and allow the anointing to flow through us our cup runs over to bless others. In nomadic tribes, the leader was required to pour out three cups of drink for the visitor, no questions asked. If he liked the visitor and wanted them to stay when he poured the third cup he would pour and keep pouring so that the cup overflows, as a sign of welcome. God is overflowing our cups.
When we stand before the throne of judgment God is going to ask us, “Did you do what you were called to do?” He is not going to ask what we did, but is more concerned with doing what God wants us to do. Do your calling. Let God take over, don’t try to do things in your own strength.
Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Eternal mercy. Isaiah 43:10-13 “You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you; therefore you are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “that I am God. Indeed before the day was, I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?”
The goodness and mercy of God is equal to the love of God.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
God loves everyone, even the wicked. Jesus died for everyone, but we have to make the choice to believe in Him or not. If we choose to believe in Him, then we have everlasting life. If not, then we perish. God does care about us, and He also will not force us to choose Him, our choice has to be freely made.
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.
Dr. Ed was telling us that when bad things happen to us, sometimes it is not the devil doing it to us, but our own behavior and actions. So often when bad things happen, we blame God, but the problem does not stem from God. God gave dominion of the earth to Adam and Eve, and by their disobedience (their own choice) they turned that dominion over to satan. God allows us to learn from our error, but God does limit what satan can do. For example in the case of Job, God told satan exactly what was permitted and what wasn’t permitted in the testing of Job. God is a God of justice, and He will permit satan to sift us, but will limit what can be done. God longs to be compassionate.
Psalm 23 is a revelation of the love of God for us, it is a revelation of the Father’s heart.
Isaiah 30:19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; You shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.
God loves us with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”
God is drawing us to him with lovingkindness. He is reaching out to Israel and to His people, and He wants us to dwell in His house forever.
1 John 5:9-13 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
God is faithful. Psalm 23 shows us that a relationship with God is not a burden.
We need to realize how much our Shepherd loves us, and the only weapon the devil has to work with is our ears and our eyes. Stay under the anointing of God, and satan has no place to reach us. Stay in the shepherd’s fold.
Hoping you enjoy this teaching, it is sometimes a wonderful thing to look at a familiar passage of scripture in greater detail.
Have a happy 4th of July.
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