The Lord is my Shepherd – part 2

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Last week we focused on the first three verses of Psalm 23, and today we are going to deal with versus four to six. The one thing I want to remind you is that this Psalm is written from the perspective of how the sheep sees the shepherd. David in writing this Psalm sees so many similarities between people and sheep. Also, the way good shepherds care for their sheep is similar to how the Lord takes care of His people. David wants the people of God to know you are not forgotten, dismissed, or disliked. Yes, all of us have gone astray, but we are thankful our Heavenly Father sent His Son to retrieve us. We are truly grateful to the Lord for loving us the way He does. 

We read in verse four, “even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and staff they comfort me.” During the spring and summer, the shepherd takes the sheep to the hilltops where the best pastures can be found.  In order to get there, they have to travel through the valley before going up the mountain. When traveling through the valley, it can appear to be dark because the mountains block the sun from shining in the valley. This is where predators will lurk around looking for an opportunity to grab a sheep. This can create a tremendous amount of stress for the sheep if they don’t trust their shepherd. The sheep have no fear because the shepherd knows how to use his rod and staff to protect them. The rod is a weapon the shepherd uses to throw at a predator that attempts to attack a sheep. The staff has two purposes, one end has a slight curve to reach out and pick up a sheep that is cast down. The other end is used by the shepherd to help guide the sheep through the valley. This is done by having the staff touch the sheep to move them in the right direction. As a child of God, you have to know the Lord is present in your life wherever you are. Also, you have weapons at your disposal to fight off the enemy. Your rod is the Word of God, and these Words have power against the enemy to keep him at bay. You also have a staff, which is the Holy Spirit, which comforts and guides you. There have been times life was getting difficult, and you were feeling you couldn’t go on, but the Holy Spirit lifted and guided you. When you are at your weakest is when the Holy Spirit is at its strongest. 

In verse five it says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Once the sheep reach the hilltop the green pasture is the table of food, and the predators are all around. However, they will not come near the sheep, because they are protected by the shepherd. The other thing the sheep have to deal with is nose flies, these flies want to land in their noses and lay eggs. If this happens it becomes a great agitation to the sheep, so when these flies are around they are constantly moving their head to keep them away from their noses. To put the sheep at ease the shepherd pours a mix of olive oil and spices over their heads. The oils keep the flies from being able to get into the nose of the sheep. You have been presented with a prepared table before you in the presence of your enemies. Now you have a choice, whether to focus on your enemies around you or on the blessings presented on the prepared table. Also, you are faced with various things that are trying to attack you and become an agitation. However, when you call on the Lord for help, He will give you a fresh anointing to combat those things trying to agitate you. 

In verse six we have the conclusion of the Psalm, “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.” David wants you to understand once the Lord is your shepherd, His goodness and mercy will always be available to you! Also, wherever you go there should be evidence left behind the Lord is your Shepherd. Why, because the goodness and mercy you received, are also made available to those you have come in contact with. You know the blessings of the Lord are upon you. Therefore, you will be dwelling with the Lord throughout your whole life, because you are in His presence and care. Continue to walk in your blessings!