Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Six Simple Verses

This is the outline that I developed for the lesson that I taught on the 23rd Psalm last night.  The lesson was well received and I find it fascinating that teaching these lessons is much easier than applying them.  I'm a work in progress.

King James
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

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.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever

The Message
1-3 God, my shepherd!  I don’t need a thing.  You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.  True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.  Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.

5 You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.  You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.  I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

These six simple verses are well known and probably the first bit of scripture many of us memorized as children.  Knowing the 23rd Psalm is almost second nature.  Like knowing your birthday or your SSN.  In fact, I never really gave it much thought until I became an adult and really, truly understood what it meant to have a shepherd.

I think that before we can appreciate the Lord as our shepherd, we have to first view ourselves as sheep.
I have never viewed myself as a sheep.  Probably because sheep aren’t very smart.  Some say they are quite dumb.  They are always trying to wander off and go their own way, they get lost easily, they are relatively helpless and totally dependent on the shepherd.  They make the shepherd’s job very difficult – it’s a 24-hour a day job. (Isaiah 53:6 6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all)

Why do we need a shepherd?  Scripturally, sheep are the natural prey for lions, leopards, bears and wolves.  (1 Peter 5:8 …because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour) That is the enemy’s number one job:  to devour us – the sheep.
If coyotes came upon two sheep and killed one and began to eat it, the second sheep would not have the sense to run away and try to save itself.  It wouldn’t understand the danger.  It needs the shepherd.  Sheep have no claws, no sharp teeth, no horns.  They can’t climb trees or squirt mace like a skunk.  They can’t fly away.  They are helpless without the shepherd.

We are helpless without our shepherd.

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