04.26.16 – Shepherd


Stirring the Still Waters of the 23rd Psalm

“He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me…” – Psalm 23:2-4A

If there was ever a beloved Psalm, it is the 23rd Psalm. Because of the comfort, peace and tranquility it has provided to many believers while on the pilgrimage of life, it has described as the “Psalm of Calm.” It was treasured by the early church and put to song as a song of praise to the Lord. Many artists have been inspired to expressively depict the 23rd Psalm through scenic paintings and stained glass. Pastors and authors have even written books solely focused upon these six verses. However, even in light of its popularity, there is a looming danger for all Christians to avoid, and it is the danger of familiarity. Many have memorized this passage and run through it like water without stopping to drink from the still waters found within. Because of this, many spiritual truths are oftentimes overlooked. Here are just a few to consider as we stir the still waters of the 23rd Psalm.

To begin with, the Lord as Shepherd means we are sheep. Sheep are filthy animals. They are easily frightened and get confused rather quickly. They need constant guidance and never learn from mistakes. They are just not the smartest creatures on planet earth. And so for us to be compared to sheep is a fair assessment, because “all we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).

Secondly, God’s path for you includes both still waters and dark valleys. It is easy to give God the glory when life’s path is pleasant. But oh how we fail to give God the glory when the path is dark and rocky! Yet the same Shepherd who leads us beside still waters will also lead us through dark valleys. The Sovereign Shepherd intentionally weaves a life tapestry for us that include both paths. Do not assume the dark valleys are not from the Lord.  Instead, know that God permits valleys as part of your life path to strengthen your faith.

Third, there is the danger of loving the green grass more than the Good Shepherd. It is comforting to know that God weaves paths marked by green grass and quiet brooks of water on your life pilgrimage. These seasons can be filled with peace and tranquility. Yet if you are not careful, you can end up loving the good gifts more than the Giver of the good gifts.  And so you must take every precaution to guard against this particular pitfall on life’s path. The plush green grass might be comfortable, but your affections must be only for your Shepherd.

Finally, you will be most aware of God’s presence while in the valleys. In the first three verses, David talks about the Shepherd. He says, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” He then describes the loving guidance of his Shepherd by saying “He makes me” and “He leads me.” Yet it is only when he expresses the difficulty of walking through “the valley of the shadow of death” that he speaks directly to the Shepherd.  He says, “For you are with me.”  This grammatical change reminds us that our need and dependency on the Lord is magnified all the more during the dark seasons. And it is in those moments that you will be more keenly attuned to God’s presence.

So the next time you are face to face with this great passage, linger a while longer at the quiet brooks of theology that run deep. As you dig a bit further, you might just unearth a few spiritual gems of to help you along the way.


34 thoughts on “04.26.16 – Shepherd

  1. I hate to think of myself as one of those dumb sheep going the wrong way over and over again. I am so thankful for the Shepherd that guides me.God is always there during the good times and the bad trying to lead me down the right path.

  2. I’m so glad that the Lord is our shepherd to guide us and lead us! Without Him we would be led astrayed and He would not be there to bring us back or turn to. Jut like John 10:27 says, ” My sheep know my voice and they follow Me!” So just in these verses we know that if we follow Him that He will lead us through high and low and we need to just keep focusing on Him and only Him, and listen to his voice and we will keep following Him!

  3. This is a great passage of scripture! It is very comforting and inspiring. We do often miss the warnings in scripture. It is easy to praise God during the good times, rather than the good and bad times. It’s very interesting that David changed his grammar and began talking to God in the dark times rather than talking of him as he did in the good times. Thanks for the message Mr. Martin! 🙂

  4. Sometimes we tend to stray like sheep and need Jesus to help guide us back. I’m so happy He can help us back on the right track! This is a very inspiring scripture!

  5. Nobody likes to think of themselves as sheep, but that’s exactly what we are. Without God, we would be completely lost. We can always rely on him, he has our best interests in mind.

  6. God guides is and shows us the true path. We need Him to help is and show is the way. We humans will always be in the darkness if we do not look to Him and let Him guide us. Let us look to Him more often and love Him more and we will find our path lit up better.

  7. God is our Shepherd and we are His sheep. We are often led astray but God is always there to find us. Like the hymn Amazing Grace says, “I once was lost but now am found.” We are lost people but it’s so comforting that we have a Savior we can run to.

  8. We all have a tendency to stray from the right path, but we can take comfort in the fact that out Shepard will look for us and save us from our selves.

  9. It is easy to glance over well known verses and miss their true meaning. As smart as we think we are, we are just dumb sheep who go astray without a shepherd. God has our back even when we think we don’t need his help.

  10. It amazes me to know that when we go astray like sheep God is always there to lead us back on the right path. When we go through hard times it’s so wonderful to know that God is always there to comfort us and for Him to guide us in the right direction.

  11. we are very much like sheep, wether we like to think of ourselves that way, or not.
    God guides us through life even though we, like the sheep, are dumb. alot. when we make a mistake, He is always there to lead us in the right direction and to help us while we are being stupid.

  12. This is very true since we often skip these verses in a hurry and don’t ponder them and find the key points like you have done for us. We need to slow down and get the “still water” and meditate on it. We are obviously sheep for we are dirty and sadly ignorant. We need the shepherd to guide us through ALL of life.

  13. Since sheep aren’t the brightest creatures on Earth and we are sheep, it’s a good thing we have God as our shepherd. He will guide us wherever we need to go if we follow His voice.

  14. God is our shepherd and he will lead us down the best path even though we don’t always understand that path. Sometimes, we think that we know the best way and try to figure everything out for ourselves when we should really be relying on God because he knows what is best for us.

  15. We are God’s sheep and like sheep we are led astray, but God is our shepherd and He leads us back on the right path and brings us back where we belong.

  16. This reminds me of a song. It goes like ,”Jesus is my high tower my light in the dark hour. Without him I could not see” we are blinded with the Lord. Without his guidence we would be lost. It’s wonderful just to know him!

  17. We are humans and we are stupid just like sheep. When we get off the right path we find a wolf in sheep clothing that will lead and fool us down the wrong paths. But God our shepherd will rescue us from a wolf in sheep clothing.

  18. Without Jesus we are nothing. He is there through everything, the good and the bad. He guides us through every trial and tribulation. Jesus is our peace and comfort.

  19. This is very true. We get so used to the verses we just blow through them without really thinking about it. We need to just sometimes take a moment, and look at these verses closer and see even more of the glory of God.

  20. I’ve always loved the example of us, the followers of Christ, being the sheep and Jesus being the Shepard. We are dumb and get lost like sheep. I think lots of times we don’t want to admit it, but we are similar to sheep. We need to trust God to lead us down the right path and He will.

  21. Humans are like an ignorant flock of sheep in comparison to our Saviour. We can easily glance over verses and miss their meanings. We should take more time to learn about our Lord and Shepherd.

  22. God is our shepherd and leads us down the right paths. He helps us through good and bad times. Even though some paths are more challenging than others, God always has a plan for us and everything happens for a reason.

  23. It is very comforting to know that God is our Shepard and he leads us into safety thanks for this great passage Mr. Martin.

  24. I think that we should avoid making any bible verse mundane. Each verse has its own special meaning and truth especially this one.

  25. God is so good in that He continues to bring us back to Him as we stray so often from Him. His love for us shines brightly when we see His hand in all situations, in both dark valleys and still waters.

  26. It is so comforting to know we have a shepherd to look after us and guide us when we go astray. He is always with us and will protect us in times of trouble and then lead us to times of peace.

  27. It is so true that we are the Lords sheep. Sheep really are not smart animals at all and neither are we. God is our Shepard and watches out for us and protects us. The 23rd Psalm is so comforting.

  28. I’m so glad that God is our shepherd. It means that we can always count on him to keep us on the right path. He is the good shepherd that doesn’t mean he won’t discipline his sheep. It means he will discipline and take care of us.

  29. I think it is amazing how no matter what happens a Shepard will always lead his sheep just like God no matter what happens He will always be there for us to lead us through the good and the bad and we mush always follow Him even if we can’t see the end of the path

  30. We are all Gods sheep.we were filthy and lost and he came and rescued us.he will protect us and give us comfort.other times he will lead us through life’s dark valleys to test our faith.God is with us no matter what.through the good times and the dark valleys.

  31. I love this! When I read scripture, I get reminded how dumb I really am. It is so comforting to know that God leads us back from wondering.

  32. This is one of my favorite verses. The Lord’s quiet love and protection is a source of comfort and joy. He is always wanting to protect us and provide for our needs.

  33. We just like sheep in are daily walk. We are weak, lazy, and stupid and God helps us up when were down just like a shepherd.

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