By Eric Taylor
Pastor, Cedar Hill Baptist Church, Cedar Hill
Focal Passage: Psalm 23:1-6
The 23rd Psalm is probably the most well-known passage in the Bible. Psalm 23 is the “Amazing Grace” of the Word of God. Charles Spurgeon called it, “The pearl of the psalms.” Alexander Maclaren said that this Psalm, “Has dried many tears and supplied the mold into which many hearts have poured their peaceful faith.” James Montgomery Boice wrote, “If ever a Psalm could stand almost on a single line, it is this one —‘The Lord is my shepherd.’ ”
In other words, this Psalm is a cure for all that worries us and makes us anxious. Matter of fact, there are five reasons why the Good Shepherd enables us to overcome worry.
First, we overcome worry because the LORD gives us peace (vv. 1-3a). It is interesting that when we talk about peace, David says God “makes” Him lie down, leads Him to still waters, and restores his soul. Now some will say that God looks at us as sheep because sheep are stupid.
However, while sheep may not be the brightest creatures in the animal kingdom, I am not sure it is because of their lack of intelligence that we are sheep and God is our Shepherd. It could be because sheep are known to be stubborn, dirty and sometimes downright mean. So, God must bring us under His peaceful reign.
Second, we can overcome worry because God guides our path (v. 3b). Our problem is we want to run the show, or guide our own path, do we not? We resist and sometimes refuse God’s guidance. Yet, Proverbs 3:5-6, says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Next, we can defeat worry because the Good Shepherd guards and protects us. It is interesting that at this point David stops talking about God and starts talking to God. Before Psalm 23:4, David spoke of God as “He.” Now he writes of God as, “You.” David knew in a very real way what it meant to know God as His protector.
Fourth, we see that God grants us all our provisions (v. 4). Psalm 84:11 says, “For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” The world needs to see believers living lives of overflowing joy, because their “cup runneth over.”
Finally, we can trust God in our worries and anxieties because He gives us certain and sure promises. In verse 6, David reminds us that God gives us hope in hopeless times. First, there is the hope of abundant life, as God grants us “goodness and mercy” and follows us “all the days of” our lives. Ultimately, God gives to us the promise of eternal life, as we will one day, “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
In John 14:2-3, Jesus says, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you will be also.” Our home is not of this world. We are like faithful Abraham who, while living in tents as a nomad, was “waiting for a city which has foundations, and whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). In other words, we have nothing to fear.