Psalm 23:3 is a picture of our Christian life that covers two technical theological terms, justification and sanctification. I prefer the way the Psalm says it, but let us look at what I mean.
The Shepherd leads me…the provision of the Shepherd includes the fact that He does lead; He knows the sheep and the sheep recognize His Voice. When He leads, they follow because they know Him, because they recognize His Voice (John 10:3-4, 14-16, 26-29). The Shepherd has an agenda and that agenda is all about the sheep because that is who He is, it is His Nature to care for and provide exactly what His sheep need. What we need as a flock, what each of us need as individual sheep is to be lead in paths of righteousness. When it comes right down to it, we really don’t know what righteousness looks like. That idea was at the heart of Jesus’ battles with the Scribes and Pharisees; Jesus was calling them to follow Him in paths of righteousness and they screamed bloody murder because their definition of righteousness didn’t agree with His. They wouldn’t follow because their ‘righteousness’ didn’t allow it.
‘He restores my soul…’ Someplace along his path, David ran head on into this reality. David knew what it meant to lay down in green pastures and to be lead beside quiet waters and as a result of his following, of his allowing the Shepherd to have His Way in these things, in accepting His Provision, David’s soul was restored. There is more to green pastures and quiet waters than rest and sustenance, of having our physical needs supplied. Our soul receives as well; we are given something beyond our physical requirements that strikes at the very heart of who we are and the life that we live.
Shadows – Week 3
December 1, 2013
Speaker: Bart Wilkins
The fundamental element in any healthy and prosperous relationship is trust. Trust is an absolute must for any relationship to grow and trust is a two-way street. The shepherd has to provide and the sheep have to learn to trust the shepherd if they are to lie down and if they are to follow him as he leads. While trust is an easy attribute to agree to when our stomachs are full and there are no wolves howling at the gate, it is something else in the rough and tumble of life. We learn to trust when we are thrust out into ‘no-man’s land’, when we are beyond what is comfortable and secure and standing face-to-face with our fears as they hound us and do their very best to make us run. No-man’s land is where we learn the truth of who we are and learn to trust the reality of who our Shepherd is.
The story of how Jacob met Rachel (Genesis 29:1-12) tells us how shepherds would lead their sheep to a well which had a large stone rolled over it. When they wanted to water the sheep, they had to roll the stone away, throw a bucket into the well, haul the water back up, and finally pour the water into a trough where the sheep could drink. This was the common way to provide water for sheep in ancient Israel. Moses did the same thing to water Reuel’s sheep many years later (Exodus 2:15-22).
So…if the Lord in my Shepherd and because He is my shepherd, I shall not want, what is it the He provides? What is it that He sees in me as His sheep that needs to be provisioned? This is a question that we are going we are going to be asking and looking for the answer to for the rest of our study. The heart of the matter isn’t what I think I want but rather what does He see that I am in need of? What is it that He has built into me that is in need of being ‘provisioned’ or provided for? The issue of what I want may get dealt with along the way, but it isn’t the focus of what David is talking about here.
Shadows – Week 2
November 24, 2013
Speaker: Bart Wilkins