by Canon Jim House
Psalm 23:1 encourages us. We all want things: most of us have had a lot of wants and needs; but if the Lord is to be a shepherd to you, you cannot have wants. We must tell ourselves, “Self, stop wanting, stop desiring, stop needing.” We’re like little children: “Papa, papa, can I have this, I need that…” Our heavenly Father looks down and see us; but He wants to be a Shepherd to us, someone who protects and takes care of the sheep. The sheep of a good shepherd have no needs: they have green grass to eat, a place to lie down, water… every need is met. If you want to say, “the Lord is my shepherd”, you have to say, “I shall not want”.
Our Shepherd is great
Isaiah 40 gives us a picture of our Shepherd – the Shepherd of the whole world and the universe.
Verse 10: He wants to come into your life and circumstances with a strong hand.
Verse 11: We’ve seen pictures of Jesus going to find the lost sheep, with a small lamb over His shoulder – He’s found one that went astray; that’s a picture of us.
But verse 12 says, “He has measured the waters in the hollow of His hands”. I’ve been on cruise ships across the Atlantic… He holds all the waters of the earth in the palm of His hands. Our Shepherd is very great, beyond our comprehension and knowledge. As sheep, we don’t see the big picture, that God is in control: Jesus cares about you and me.
He asks more questions: verses 13-14. We need to think about these, because they’re beyond us.
Verse 15: Whatever we’re going through, Jesus looks down and says the nations are as a drop in a bucket. My boat has two buckets, 5-gallon containers; if I put a drop of water in one of them, it’ll evaporate within 15 minutes. God is saying the nations mean nothing to Him: He’s in charge; the nations can rage against Him and it doesn’t matter.
Verse 27: Why are we questioning? Has God forgotten us? Has He turned His back on the earth or on you? Even Jesus cried out, “My God, my God. Why have You forsaken Me?” He did this for us, He walked before us. We’ve come to this place in our lives: “Lord, why haven’t You answered my prayers? Why did You forget about me?” He’s our Shepherd.
Verse 28: God isn’t up there asleep; He’s not tired. “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases their strength.” Is that where you are? Are you out of work? depressed? Are your children struggling? Have you forgotten God?
Psalm 23:2: If you can get over wanting, He will make you lie down in green pastures, He will lead you beside still waters.
Verse 3: God wants to refresh us; the key is to be content, stop wanting, and stop being fearful of what’s going to happen to you. You have a Shepherd who is taking care of you.
Don’t be afraid – trust God
Verse 4: The Lord is using our trials and tribulations to bring us closer to Him. You must come to a point where you say, “I’m not going to fear evil”.
John 10:10: Let’s choose the abundant life: it comes through walking through the valley of the shadow of death and fearing no evil. This is maturity. If you have needs, cry out to God. If you can’t handle it, call your priest or pastor: he’ll help you, stand with you, believe with you, trust God with you. It’s time to stand up and tell the devil to leave us alone, that God has brought us an abundant life, and spit at fear in the face.
God wants victory in your lives. He’ll bring you to a nice grassy area with a stream, where you have no wants; and as you mature and walk through the valley of death, you’ll be able to say, “I don’t fear: what can the devil do to me?” Sometimes He has to beat me with His rod; that’s ok – I know He loves me. I prefer the staff: He can gently direct my path and stop me from going where I shouldn’t.
I was about to receive $2.2 million from our Federal Government; but I realized that I, my family and my company didn’t really have any needs. The Lord said, and my wife said, this isn’t right, we’re not taking this money. I said, “We’re going to trust the Lord and let Him be our provider; we’re going to let the Lord direct our paths. I’ve already been through this trial and missed it; this time I’m going to do right: I’m going to turn it down and put my whole trust in the Lord.”
Lord, I break every spirit, every demon of hell that’s trying to rob and steal from us, that’s trying to destroy us. Lord, we put our trust in You, we draw on You, the Good Shepherd, the great Shepherd who takes care of His flock. We look to You to bring peace and blessing in our lives. In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.