Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Shepherd's Rod And Staff

This is actually the second message on the Good Shepherd I preached in this series, but I had the notes already typed up so decided to post it first. I will post the first sermon outline as soon as I get it typed up.

"Well has it been said 'without Psalm 22, there could be no Twenty-third Psalm.' While the former Psalm reveals Christ as the good Shepherd, who gives His life for the sheep, this Psalm makes Him known as the great Shepherd of the sheep, whom the God of Peace hath brought again from the dead, through the blood of the everlasting covenant (Heb 13:20). And all who deny the atoning work of Christ have no claim whatever upon the assurance and comfort of this Psalm... Much has been written devotionally on this Psalm. Hundreds of books have been published, but it has never been exhausted nor ever will be. The assurance of the first three verses belong to every believer on the Lord Jesus. He is individually the Shepherd and each child of God can say, 'Jehovah is my Shepherd, the Shepherd who never fails, who never changeth, the Jehovah-jireh -- the LORD who provides.' He gives pasture, peace and rest, with the never failing waters, the supply of His Spirit. Then He restoreth after failure and leads in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake." (Arno Clement Gaebelein, The Annotated Bible)

Read Psalm 23 - Assurance
A good way to read this Psalm is by asking the question, "What shall I not want?"

I shall not want--
Rest -- for He makes me to lie down in green pastures.
Drink -- for He leadeth me beside the still waters.
Forgiveness -- for He restoreth my soul.
Guidance -- for He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness.
Companionship -- for Thou art with me.
Comfort -- for Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me.
Food -- for Thou preparest a table before me.
Victory -- in the presence of mine enemies.
Joy -- Thou anointest my head with oil.
Overrunning joy -- for my cup runneth over.
Everything in time -- for goodness and mercy shall follow me.
Everything in eternity -- for I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Quoted from The Annotated Bible by Arno Clement Gaebelein

Psalm 23 is probably the most popular Psalm, and one of three most memorized or known passages of the Bible. The other two being John 3:16 and the Lord's Prayer. Many people may never have read the Bible, but most are familiar to some degree with these three passages.

Psalm 23 written about 3000 years ago - probably millions upon millions of sermons or studies preached upon this chapter alone - and yet, each preacher or teacher can always learn and teach something new from it.

To learn more about the Lord, we need to learn about Him and His character - this is often revealed through the various names He gives us about Himself.

9 Compound names of the Lord God (this theme will be developed later): Jehovah-Raah, the Lord my Shepherd. Not just a statement about the Shepherd, but one of His names revealed to His people.

Notice how the Old Testament refers to the Lord God as being the Shepherd, and in the New Testament, Jesus Christ Himself claims to be that Shepherd in John 10. (I Am The Good Shepherd was covered as a separate message.)

Notice how the Psalmist goes from talking about the Shepherd in the first half of this Psalm to speaking with Him.

Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Explain rod and staff - could be one instrument with two uses.

Rod used to defend against wild animals or robbers. Used to count the sheep as they passed under.

Staff used to stop the sheep from wandering away - ie. by placing it next to or in front of them, much like a parent or friend might put out their arm to halt a child from rushing into the street when it is not clear. The Shepherd's crook or the curved hook on the end of the staff is often used to pull a sheep back from danger, such as rescuing it from drowning in the creek or pulling it up from a pit or ledge it had fallen off of.

Give a little of my sister's testimony of raising her children by herself when she was in Canada and unable to go to the States to be with her husband (and vice-versa) - how she had many cares and concerns for her young children; then relate how the following verse brought her comfort.

Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Read The Straying Lamb

Preached April 18th/2010
Jerry Bouey

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