Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Psalms: Week Four

This past Sunday Neal spoke to us about Psalm 23. You can listen to the sermon here. What follows are my notes from the message.

From Psalm 23 we learn three things about the shepherd.

1. The Shepherd's Person

Psalm 23:1 > Our shepherd provides for all of our needs - we should be content in what God's given us.

John 10:11 > Jesus is the good shepherd

Isaiah 53:6 > We all, like sheep, have gone astray

Sheep are very easily led. They have great hearing, sight, and sense of smell. People also tend to be easily led. That's why we need a good leader.

An example of a good leader/shepherd (video Neal shared).

2. The Shepherd's Provision

Verses 2-5
Sometimes we have to be forced to rest. A sheep will not rest until four criteria have been met: Fear (danger), Friction (relationship issues, turmoil), Fleas (annoyances), Famine (hunger).

Restores my soul - rescuing a sheep that has become stuck (has rolled onto side and cannot get back onto its own feet) which is often due to laziness, being loaded down, or being too large. It has to be picked up/rescued by the shepherd and set back down on its feet again.

3b - What if we lived our lives in order to lift up the name of Jesus?

4 - Just because we're following God's leading doesn't mean that there won't be storms (valley of the shadow of death). Sometimes where God wants us to be means going through turmoil.

Our rod is God's word. It protects our lives and is also used for discipline. Our staff is the Holy Spirit that comforts us.

5 - Anoint head with oil - oil used to set apart (as in a king), protection/healing (from diseases).

3. The Shepherd's Promise
Verse 6 - Goodness and love/mercy will follow me all the days of my life.
Neal quoted out of Phillip Keller's A Shepherd's Look at Psalm 23. He was talking about how sheep have good quality manure that can help regenerate grass in derelict soil. "In other words goodness and mercy, goodness and love had followed my flocks. They left behind them something worthwhile, productive, beautiful and beneficial to both themselves and others and me. Where they had walked, there followed fertility and weed-free land. Where they had lived there remained beauty and abundance. And here's the question that now comes to me very pointedly. 'Is this true in my life? Do I leave a benediction and a blessing behind me?'"

Do I bless the things I'm involved in?

Would people be shocked to learn that I am a Christ follower based on their experiences with me?

I really enjoyed the breakdown and the poignant questions at the end. Do I really make a difference for the better in the things I'm involved with? Does my behavior demonstrate love and mercy to others? These are questions I should constantly ask to evaluate my effectiveness.

During the message I was reminded of another video on this book. I have to attach it because it's awesome.

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