Message Recap – 5/13/11 – Psalm 23: Part 1

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

There are many verses that we as Christians know so well that they lose power because of familiarity. But they are powerful. So we are going to study one of the most famous passages in the whole Bible, one verse at a time.

Psalm 23 is positional for the most part. It's about who God is, what He's done, what He's given us and what is available to us. It's a very poetic scripture, but it has a very real, meaningful, powerful and relevant application to our lives. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that the people we read about in the Bible were just that - people. David (the guy who wrote most of Psalms) was just a guy. He made mistakes, he had hopes and dreams that he didn't see fulfilled.

We will start in the first verse, Psalm 23:1:

The LORD is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

Here's a question: what do you want? We all understand the difference between wants and needs. Things like food, clothing and shelter are needs. Love, peace, a sense of purpose, freedom and hope are deeper, emotional needs.

Then there are wants. Like a new Walkman (doesn't everyone want one?). More stuff. More junk food. A nicer car, a bigger house, the newest electronic device. We all want to win. We want success, fame and recognition.

What is God saying about want in this scripture? Is He saying it's wrong to want? That wanting something is offensive to God? Or is He saying that you already have everything that you need?

The answer is both. At different times and in different ways, the answer is both.

Check out James 4:1-3:

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

James is talking about two things. Getting jealous and scheming to get things that we want from people, and not having what we want because we don't ask for it. Wants aren't necessarily bad – God gives some of them to us to help get us where we need to go. But others are destructive.

The key to Psalm 23:1 is “The Lord is my shepherd.” The one I trust, the one who cares for me, the one I follow. My life is not based on wants or led by needs. It is led by God's guiding hand.

When you allow God to lead you, everything you need is provided and He guides you away from the wants that are harmful or ill timed.

Sometimes we think that God is just being mean or trying to deprive us of something awesome when He's actually just warning us of the dangers of life, "That's dangerous! That will burn you! Don't touch it!"

Don't buy into the lie that "You will not surely die! Go ahead and touch that, it won't hurt you." Sound a little familiar? That's what Satan told Eve in Genesis 3:4. Here's a hint: listening to Satan didn't turn out too well for her.

When you allow God to guide you, He will protect you from dangers like a parent watches over a child and keeps them from harm.

When you step outside of God's guidance you start indulging in junk. And it never satisfies! You may get tired of it, but you never get satisfied.

It's like when you eat junk food. You never get full, you just get tired of eating – yet you still keep eating! The junk of life is the same way.

When we go outside of God's shepherding and indulge in the junk food of life, there is never satisfaction or fulfillment. Lust, greed and selfishness are never satisfied.

Take a look at what Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13:

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

As Christ is leading you, you can do all things! Even when you have some needs, even when life isn't perfect, you can learned to be content through Christ.

When we allow God to guide us our needs are met. It's His promise! When we follow His plan, not our own, we find that we have all that we need. There's satisfaction and contentment. We've dropped the junk food.

When the Lord is your shepherd He will guide you to exactly the right place at exactly the right time to find all that you need. He will lead you to a good place! Trust Him!

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Jenn said...

Good stuff

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