The Abundant Provisions of God (Psalm 23:1-6)Dr Daryl Miller, October 26, 2016
Part of the Out of Human Experiences series, preached at a Midweek Meeting service
WEDNESDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 26
Title: The Abundant Provisions of God
Text: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Ps. 23:1).
Scripture Reading: Psalm 23
Psalm 23 is perhaps the most familiar and best-loved portion of God’s Word. Small children memorize the words before they can read. Many people facing crises or even death have repeated the words.
The words in their original setting comprised a confession of God’s abundant provisions. It was David’s testimony to the reality of God in every experience of his life. David was a shepherd, and he believed that if the shepherd provided abundantly for his sheep, how much more God provides for his people. Let us notice God’s wonderful provisions for life.
I. God provides a relationship in life (Ps. 23:1).
A. An amazing relationship. The great name for God, Yahweh, is used. It depicts the fact that a holy God will associate with sinful humanity.
B. An analogous relationship. The word shepherd depicts a comprehensive and intimate metaphor of God relating to people. The ancient shepherd lived with the sheep and experienced an intimate relationship with them.
II. God provides the necessities of life (Ps. 23:1?–?3).
A. God provides the material necessities of life (vv. 1?–?2). The shepherd led the sheep to tender green grass, a rare sight in Judea. He provided waters that were at rest. He gave daily sustenance to the sheep by his intimate care. God provides the necessities of life for those who trust him. We need only ask him for “our daily bread.”
B. God provides the moral necessities of life (v. 3). Sheep are dumb animals that need close supervision. Often they stray from the shepherd and trespass on the property of others. The shepherd of necessity has to guide the sheep. God provides moral guidance for his people. God leads us in the paths of righteousness. In these days of moral confusion, we need to follow the true Shepherd.
III. God provides strength through life (Ps. 23:4).
A. The inevitability of danger. In the experience of living, there are deep and dark ravines where wild beasts and robbers hide, ready to pounce on the sheep. Danger is an inevitable experience of living. The expression “valley of the shadow of death” (v. 4) describes the dangers of life. The Hebrew term refers to all dark and bitter experiences, one of which may be death.
B. The availability of the Lord. God’s provision of strength does not come through removal of dangers. The presence of the shepherd banishes fear. The sheep know that the shepherd has the equipment to care for the sheep. “Thou art with me” is a statement that offers comfort in every experience of life. Life’s most strengthening experience is the awareness of God’s presence.
IV. God provides fellowship with him forever (Ps. 23:5?–?6).
A. A friend in life (v. 5). Old Testament scholars contend that the image of the shepherd changes in verse 5 to a host. Whatever the psalmist intended, we do know the truth remains the same. God pictured either as Shepherd or gracious Host provides a loving friendship. Verse 5 vividly portrays God’s lavish hospitality to his people.
B. A friend through eternity (v. 6). God’s people are portrayed by the psalmist as living with their Friend forever. The terms “goodness” and “mercy” suggest the steady kindness and support that one can count on between firm friends. These qualities endure forever.
Are you burdened with life’s experiences? If the Lord is your Shepherd, God has abundant provisions for you. You dare not live another moment without a commitment to the Good Shepherd. He will lead you through life’s journey and will take you to a glorious destination.
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