‘Truth for Truckers’*February 23, 2014* Psalm 23 “Our Savior the Good Shepherd’s Psalm”
The Good Shepherd’s Psalm is the recognized title of this, the most familiar of the Psalms, but, it also could be called the Psalm of Freedom for the Good Shepherd provides each and every need of His sheep thereby giving them great freedom. Jesus said: ‘I am the Good Shepherd, the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11). One Bible teacher divided the Psalm into two sections utilizing the theme of freedom showing four distinct freedoms provided by the Good Shepherd in (v.1-4) and in (v.5, 6) the Divine Host provides His guest with two additional elements of freedom.
The first of these supernatural gifts from our Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, is The Freedom from Want (v.1) Jesus, in John 15 as the True Vine is our Divine Source of supply for all our need both temporal and eternal, and it is in an through Him that we find the fulfillment of our every ‘want.’ Secondly, in (v.2a) ‘He makes me to lie down in green pastures’. The Freedom from Worry is demonstrated by His supplying us with a place of spiritual rest and satisfaction. The ‘Green pastures’ illustrate not only a desired place of comfort but they also picture a place of beauty that fully satisfies the physical needs and desires of the soul/spirit.
In addition, The Freedom from Worry is given as it applies to the direction we should take, for ‘He leads me beside the still waters’ (v.2b). This promise from our Divine Shepherd guarantees His guidance of our lives in the quiet, peaceful paths that are located ‘Beside the still waters’. Then David says: ‘He restores my soul: He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.’ The Freedom from Decline is underlined here in these blessed statements of (v.3). The renewal of the inner man is a day by day experience as we ‘Abide in the Vine/Word’ (John 15:4, 5, 7) and receive our sustenance and spiritual direction from the Lord Jesus Christ in whose righteousness we find our own worthiness.
‘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.’ (v.4) The Freedom from Fear of Death is one of the most comforting of these blessings listed in this Psalm, for death is the most feared of all events if viewed without the Lord Jesus Christ’s continuing presence and promise of eternal life. Death merely becomes a doorway we must pass through in order to receive the blessings of heaven and the blessed eternal presence of the LORD. But, not all will pass through this doorway, for there will be those Believers who will experience the rapture at the end of the age and ‘Meet the Lord in the air...and so shall we ever be with the Lord.’ ( I Thessalonians 4:17)
‘Thou prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.’ (v.5). The Freedom from Insecurity is emphasized in these three phrases as they carry with them the facts of victory, comfort and abundance, providing safe and secure surroundings for life. And finally, in (v.6) The Freedom from Separation is focused upon: ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.’ These two attributes of God literally pursue the Believer guaranteeing the continual presence of the LORD which is beautifully described in the latter part of the verse: ‘I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.’
This security described here is eternal. There is no possibility for the Believer to lose these blessings that the Lord secures when He saves us. Ephesians chapter 1-3 gives the Believer a list of at least twenty-four eternal spiritual blessings!
The Psalm of Freedom rests upon our God’s promises which are wonderfully described here by the sweet Psalmist and Shepherd King David, who alone was capable of giving us this compact and blessed picture of the Lord Jesus Christ’s abundant life which He so freely promised to those of us who believe: ‘I am come that ye might have life, and that ye might have it more abundantly’ (John 10:10)
Chaplain L.E.Wolfe www.btmi.org I-85 Exit 35 SC McPilot Stop in, and please pray for our ministry!