One of the greatest sources of comfort
and strength to the Christian is found in the
Psalm or the Shepherd Psalm. There are some that call it the
Valley Psalm and that is rather fitting for it stands between
two hills. The
22nd Psalm is the
psalm of the cross… "My God, my God,
why hast thou forsaken me? …"All they that see me laugh
me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the
head saying, he trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him:
let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him."
Yes, without the cross of Calvary
there would never have been a Shepherd Psalm. There can
be no green pastures or waters of quietness until the
Shepherd has died on the cross. There is only one
good Shepherd and that is the one that has laid
down his life for the sheep.
24th Psalm is the Psalm of Glory, the return of the Saviour to the
courts of glory…
Lift up your
heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors;
and the king of glory shall come in.
Who is this king of
glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in
v.9 Lift up your heads,
O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the
King of glory shall come in."
Yes, two hilltop Psalms.
Calvary, that bitter experience of passing through the valley of
the Shadow of Death. Of being nailed to a cruel Cross.
hour of separation from His Father.
Then the Mt of Ascension. The wonderful
experience of returning to the courts of glory to be
welcomed by the entire host of Heaven. To be united with
His Heavenly Father.
The Valley Psalm lies between. I
like to think of it as the Valley Psalm. For you have the
suggestion of water, green pastures and fertile fields.
The Lord is my
Can you have a more soul satisfying statement
then that? There is something in that statement of David's that
immediately puts one's mind at rest. "The Lord is my
Why, you can just picture the sheep as they
contentedly graze in the green pastures. The sheep do not have a
moment's anxiety for they know that the shepherd is there to protect
them from all harm.
Isaiah 40:11 we read:
"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; He
shall gather the lambs with his arm."
Truly Jesus of Nazareth is the Shepherd of
the Psalm. We call Him the Good Shepherd. And when we allow him to
be our shepherd, then we too will be able to feed as contentedly as
did the sheep of the Psalm. Now suppose we were to read the text
"The Lord is a Shepherd."
Would it mean the same to you?
It was harvesting time and the farmer's
little boy was out watching the men at work, the sun was very strong
and the boy's head was uncovered. After a time one of the workmen
noticed that the boy had fallen face down in the field. He
rushed over to the lad and efforts were made to revive him but it
was all to no avail. It was the sad task of one of the men to take
him to the mother.
"The child is dead," Said the workman
"My child is dead," Cried the mother.
Yes, it makes a tremendous difference when it
It is just like saying,
"Jesus is a Saviour"
But David said, "Jesus
is my Saviour"
What a difference it makes when we are able
to say, "The Lord is my Shepherd."
am the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine."
I was looking through the 'Record' the
other day and noticed a list of appointees from Avondale. As I read
down the list, the names were strange. They meant nothing
to me because they were unfamiliar. How different it is when you know the
person. Yes, we need to know the Shepherd.
"I know my sheep and they know me."
Now the next statement is this...
I shall not want
That reminds me of the prodigal son in
He exclaimed, "I perish with hunger."
As a prodigal, a rebel, he knew hunger, he
knew poverty. But the moment that he decided to come back to
the Father's fold, truly he could say with David
"I shall not want."
St Paul tells us,
"My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in
glory by Christ Jesus."
There are some who do not read this text
properly. They think that God says that he will supply all
their wants. No, God does say that. It would be almost an
impossibility to supply some peoples wants, there seems to be no end
to what they want. Why, you can have a house full of the
provisions of this life and yet have unhappiness.
Psalm 34:10 we read,
"The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger:
but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing."
If you are willing to put God first then the
promise is He will care for your needs. Amid all the sorrow and want
of the world the Lord's sheep are well cared for.
That is a wonderful promise. A wonderful
assurance to the Christian.
He maketh me to lie
down in green pastures
Whenever I read this statement it does
something to my soul. The picture becomes very clear. A peaceful
river, the banks adorned with soft green weeping willow trees. To me
this is one of the most relaxing statements in all of the Bible.
In these days of rush and hurry, we need to relax.
Jesus bade us,
"Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place,
and rest awhile."
God saw that men would need to rest. So he said,
"Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy
work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath
of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt
not so any work."
The Good Shepherd knowing what is best for His sheep, has made an arrangement to supply those needs. Yes, he maketh me to lie down in green
When we put God first, to take a little time in the morning while
our minds are fresh for Bible study and prayer, then we will
experience that quietness that comes to the soul.
He leadeth me
The growl of the bear, the roar of the lion,
is sufficient to disturb the flock and to drive them trembling and
frightened into a panic. And how can we rest so long as we
feel that we are in danger of the claws of the roaring Lion that
"walketh about, seeking whom he may devour?"
In the mortal agonies of the Good Shepherd a
fatal blow was dealt the adversary. In taking the life of Jesus, that
forever sealed the doom of the Devil. For God brought forth from the
dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, and now
He lives to guarantee our safety.
"My sheep, said Jesus, 'hear my voice and I
know them, and they follow me."
Yes, "He leadeth me."
Beside the still
It has been said of sheep that they will
never drink from a turbulent stream, but only from still waters.
Quietness is a characteristic of the truly great.
"In quietness and in confidence shall be your
Yes, in quietness there is a storehouse of
Psalm 46:10 says:
"Be still and know that I am God."
It is beside the still waters that we find
He restoreth my
Did you notice that it says, He restoreth my
"All 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."
Now let us imagine that my left hand is the
sinner and my right hand represents Christ. My Bible represents the sin or sins of this sinner. Alright, I lay my Bible on my left hand
and say, "Now where is your sin?" The sinner replies,
Now I will repeat the last half of the
Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,". I transfer the Bible from my left hand to my
right then I ask, "Where is your sin now?" The answer comes "On Christ of course." Is it on you any longer? "No it is on Christ."
Luke 19:10 says:
the Son of man is come to seek and save that which is lost."
Yes, Jesus restores you and he restores me. And we notice that when Jesus restores, He restores fully and
The thing we notice about the Prodigal Son is the fact
that he was fully restored.
"Bring forth the best robe, and put it upon
Now that is restoration full and complete. I
think that is wonderful. It is just like Jesus to do a thing like
He leadeth me in
the paths of righteousness
Jesus leads us into the right paths, the
path that will lead us to Heaven.
Matthew 7:14 says:
"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is
the way, which leadeth until life, and few there be that find it."
No guide would ever think of leading others
over a way that he himself had not travelled. He must have actually
travelled the route so that no one may question the safety of his
On a busy street corner in a large city, a poor blind man
had become confused in his direction. He was apparently lost. There
was a look of consternation and helplessness on his face. He felt
around with his white cane, but did not seem to be able to get his
bearings. Just than a well dressed lady with a very kind face went
to his rescue. She took him by the arm, said a few reassuring words
and then helped him across the busy street.
Yes, he leadeth me in the
paths of righteousness.
For his names sake
Tampion was the greatest watchmaker in
London, if not in all the world, and a watch stamped with his name
was positive proof of its excellence. On one occasion a man came in
to his workshop and asked him to repair a watch upon which his name
was fraudulently engraved. Before the man's astonished eyes Tampion
took a hammer and smashed the watch to pieces. Then he handed the
astonished customer a watch of his own making. Tampion's name stood
for his character and for the character of his work. He could
not afford to have either jeopardised.
And so it is with our Good Shepherd. His
name means everything to him.
"Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he
shall save." He leads that
He may save. Unless He leads, He cannot save. Where he leads is a saving way. It is
a living way.
His name is "wonderful",
Isaiah 9:6. His ways are wonderful.
"Counsellor". We can depend on his wisdom. No experience that we have
will ever baffle him.
"The Mighty God". Tremendous power to save from every sin.
Father". We will not be left fatherless, the love
of the father and all that goes with that love is assured us.
"The Prince Of Peace". Peace, the very thing
the heart longs for in this world is assured. When we realise what
his name stands for, then we can reverently and devotedly say,
"He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for his names sake."
The valley of the
shadow of death
There is an actual Valley of the Shadow of
Death in Palestine, and every sheepherder from Spain to Dalmatia
knows of it. It is south of the Jericho road leading from Jerusalem
to the Dead Sea and is a narrow defile through a mountain range. The
valley is four and a half miles long. Its side walls are over 1500 feet
high in places and it is only ten or twelve feet wide at the bottom. Many wild dogs lurk in the shadows of the valley looking for prey.
After a band of sheep has entered the defile, the leader may come upon
such a dog. The shepherd skilled in throwing his staff, hurls it
at the dog and knocks the animal down and kills it. Thus the
sheep have learned to fear no evil even in the Valley of the Shadow
of Death for their master is there to aid and protect them from all
There are no mountains without valleys and
no valleys without mountains and the shepherd leads in one as
well as in the other. Yes he is the God of the Valleys.
When we come to the end of the
road there is that dark abyss known as death. David
suggests that it is a shadow, and not the real end of the
way. The Grave is not the final end of life.
"Yea through I walk through the Valley of
the Shadow of death."
We may walk through that shadow but remember one has been before us. The great comfort that comes to us in this
text is that we go through the valley if we allow the Good Shepherd to lead us. He can safely pilot you and me through the
gates of death and bring us out of the dark valley.
I will fear no
evil for thou art with me
Speed Gordon, once a very famous driver on
the Pacific coast of America. A man famous for his skill in driving
and for his profanity, was on his death bed in the delirium of death,
thrust out his feet and clutched at the bedclothes. When asked what
was his trouble he replied,
"I am going down a terrible grade, and I
can't find the brake."
Had the Master been with him he would have
had no fear at this crisis of his life.
The psalmist does not say that
there will be no evil, but "I will fear
no evil." Evil there is and will be, but Jesus has
prayed that we be kept from evil. He knows that if we have been kept
from evil, there will be no fear at the hour of death.
For thou art with
To be assured of the personal presence of Jesus is one of the greatest blessings in the Christians' experience.
"Thou art with me." Have you ever thought what Jesus' presence
means? God assured Moses with these words,
"My presence shall go with thee, and I will
give thee rest."
His Presence will bring rest. David
knew of what he spoke about when he said, "Thou art with me." His sins had been cleansed, and the Shepherd could say of him
"I have found David the son of Jesse, a man
after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will."
Today I am going to ask you something very
personal. Can you say with David "Thou art with me"? If you can then praise God.
D.L. Moody was preaching up in Scotland in
one town where a congregation of some two thousand were gathered to
listen to him, they sang the
23rd Psalm. Mr Moody said, "I have never heard the
Psalm sung as they sung it." He began to wonder how many sang it
from the heart. So he asked for those who could sing it from
the heart to rise and sing it again. He said,
never heard it sung so poorly. There was only about fifty people on
Yes, it is one thing to sing "The Lord Is My
Shepherd", and another thing to believe it. Is
the Lord really your shepherd? If he is, then you like
David can sing "The Lord is my shepherd, I
shall not want". God
is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.