This past Sunday morning, I was asked by the pastor where we have been attending for the past several months, to preach from Psalm 23. I have preached and/or taught many of the psalms before, but this was the first time preaching from this well-known passage. Perhaps, other than John 3.16, Ps. 23 is the best known passage in the Bible.
The Lord moved in a marvelous way in my own heart as I prepared and delivered the message. I thought I would share some thoughts on this psalm in a series format. I may even link the sermon manuscript to the blog at the end of the series.
The first five words really set the tone for the entire psalm. In fact, I would argue, if you grasp the impact and meaning of the first five words of this psalm, the rest of the psalm falls beautifully into place.
The first five words of this psalm are as follows: The LORD is my shepherd . . . .
A few brief words about this opening phrase and declaration.
First, David is busting at the seams to tell others, as witness and missional flare, whom his shepherd is. David exclaims, My shepherd is the LORD! It is as if David is shouting, in joy and awe, Look, look my Shepherd is the LORD. Can you believe it? Isn’t it amazing? Isn’t it wonderful? I can’t believe how blessed I am!”
Of course, David’s enthusiasm is meant to be contagious. He isn’t being a “ball-hog” here, saying, Hey, he’s my Shepherd, butt out! No, in exclaiming the grace he’s experienced in having God as his Shepherd, he is inviting others, inviting us to experience the watch and care of this Shepherd.
Notice too, in translations the word Lord is in all capital letters. A large case “L” and small caps “ord”. In the Old Testament, this signifies the use of the divine name, YHWH (Yahweh). This is the divine, covenantal, personal name of God. This is the name, whereby he revealed himself, to the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and to Moses as the burning bush in theophanic glory.
This leads us to a personal question. Who is your shepherd? We all have one. It is not a question of if you have a shepherd; but rather, who/what is your shepherd.
For David, his Shepherd was the matchless, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, creator, sustainer, redeemer, everlasting, merciful, wise, just, gracious, long-suffering, loving, compassionate, incomprehensible, unsurpassable, amazing, holy, righteous, eternal, living God.
Not a bad shepherd to have!
Who is your shepherd? Is he your shepherd?
In the next posts we will look more closely at this opening phrase, then the rest of Psalm 23.