Generally speaking, although a shepherd cares for his sheep, he still takes advantage of his flock. However, our Great Shepherd was pierced for our transgressions and gave His life for us His sheep. God is not only a Good Shepherd, but also beyond comprehension. Truly, no one compares to Him. Pay attention to what Psalm 23 wrote about our Good Shepherd.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1). We really need to know who God is in our lives. These days, do not focus on what God can do for us. Focus on who God is in our lives. We may pray and ask, but above all, know Him for who He is, not just His work.
As a shepherd, God provides for us. When we know His characters, we lay a solid foundation of faith. If our faith is firm in Him, we will not be shaken. People who make God their Shepherd will lack nothing because:
1. If something is lost, as long as it is not because of sin, there must be an eternal value.
People who are safe with God will not stumble and fall. Worldly treasures might be taken away, but gratitude flows from the heart.
2. If something is lost because of sin, as long as we repent, it will be replaced.
Our Lord is patient and slow to anger. This truth is not to test God, but to be grateful that He is compassionate, gracious and wants to give us another chance. As long as we repent and want to be formed by Him, God will replace what is lost. Regret our sins and our past, but do not regret our future and life. God is not yet finished with our lives.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters,” (Psalm 23:2). Just like sheep that lie down first instead of grassing in the green pasture, make sure our hearts lie down and surrender to God every morning before breakfast. Our relationship with God must begin in the morning when the grass is still green and fresh. God died not only to redeem our sins so that we may enter Heaven; He died because He wanted to restore relations so that we would greet Him day and night. Just as we cannot drink liters of at once to meet our daily drinking needs, He leads us beside quiet water to drink sip-by-sip. Follow Jesus closely and daily.
“He refreshes my soul. He guides me?along the right paths for His name’s sake," (Psalm 23:3). If we drink the Word often, our soul will be refreshed, and we only want to do His will. If we want to do God's will and build intimacy with God, then our soul will be refreshed. Our minds will be clear, brilliant ideas and unexpected solutions arise. He is guiding us along the right paths for long distance and long term. We may not be able to see all of God's plan, but we can choose to obey when guided and closely pursue God, not from afar.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me," (Psalm 23:4). When we walk in this life, if we fail and make mistakes, God will make room for our mistakes. He disciplines and corrects us through His staff, but He also defends us with His rod. Even though we stumble we will not fall because following God does not have to be smooth sailing all the way. Try hard, be willing, and be open, then God will teach us.
“You prepare a table?before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup?overflows,” (Psalm 23:5). Life in God is specific, and He cares so much for us that He also sees how we consume the Word. As when Moses led the Israelites, God gave specific instructions about their food. Here's how to eat at home at times like this:
1. Finish a lamb: eat not in a hurry, enjoy it together with family.
2. Eat unleavened bread: focus on bread, not on yeast. God wants us to talk about a future full of hope instead of the negative situation nowadays that weakens faith. Focus on constructive and positive things. Talk about the God that prepares a table, not the enemies.
“Surely Your goodness and love?will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the?Lord forever," (Psalm 23:6). This is God's promise if we live according to His word: God will dwell in our home forever. These days we often forget the goodness of God. We focus more on the problems of life and the reality around us. Let's build an intimate relationship with God, our Good Shepherd.
Excerpted from Ps. Philip Mantofa's sermon