Trust

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Trust

Psalm 23 “A psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 23 ESV
A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23 KJV 1900
A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 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. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Introduction: Introduce, Discuss overview of Sermon series,(praise, wisdom, lament, royal, history, thanksgiving).
I hope you realize that these categories are very flexible, and by no means are they comprehensive of all of the different genres of psalms.
There are also others, there are imprecatory psalms, where the psalmist is calling down curses on his enemies—you can look into those, some of them can be very difficult to read and understand.
The point of all this is that I hope as you read through the psalms in the future, I hope you start to recognize these patterns. I hope you start to recognize these styles. As you read through these psalms I hope you ask yourself, “what style” of psalm is this that I’m reading? what genre is it? what types of emotions does this psalmist want me to feel? are there other psalms that have similar themes to this one?
We’ve only gone through 7 or 8 different psalms, but you can apply these ideas to all of the psalms.
where we’re going from here, (philippians)
But for today, we’re going to finish up our series talking about psalms of Trust.
I had planned to go over two separate psalms today. I wanted to look at psalm 23, and psalm 91. but by the time I got through writing what I wanted to write about psalm 23, there was just so much to say that I ran out of time to be able to talk about psalm 91.
so maybe we’ll dive into psalm 91 on tuesday during bible study. I encourage you to join us on tuesdays, it’s a great opportunity to get a much deeper dive on the scripture that we talk about on sundays
but for today, I want us to read through and experience psalm 23.
Psalm 23 is the most influential passage of scripture in the entire Old Testament.
It’s possible, that it’s the most influential passage of scripture of the entire bible. In terms of the passage of scripture that more people know and recognize than any other, this one takes the cake.
It’s the Psalm that is found in movies, It’s in rap songs. It’s recited at funerals.
It’s recited beside hospital beds.
And I think the reason this psalm is so compelling is that it encapsulates God, and who he is, and what he wants for us so succinctly, in 6 verses.
There are books upon books written about this psalm, to the point where I don’t even know if I feel like I can give you a sermon on it.
-because there’s nothing I can say about this psalm that hasn’t already been said.
-And nothing that has already been said about this psalm already comes close to the magnitude of the psalm itself.
-In other words, this is one of those places in scripture where the words of the psalm speak for themselves. You don’t need me to tell you what it means, you know what it means.
-So as we’ve been doing throughought this series, rather than try to understand it, rather than try to explain it, I want us to experience it.
Psalm 23:1 ESV
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
As we experience this psalm, I want you to imagine yourself in the wilderness. not necessarily as a sheep, but as someone who needs a shepherd in the same way a sheep might.
-Like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness.
-This wilderness is foreboding. It’s intimidating. It’s full of chaos, and evil. It’s the type of place where on our own we would have a very difficult time surviving.
-and we’re going to do a little bit of psychology here, what you’re going to do is you’re going to give that wilderness a name.
-You’re going to name that wilderness after the thing that is causing you pain.
-In your mind I want you to label that wilderness. This is the wilderness of grief. This is the wilderness of anxiety. The wilderness of my own doubts and insecurities. The wilderness of my fear.
-And I know you have one. I have one. It’s that part of your life that you avoid going to because it’s a scary place to be.
-We don’t want to think about our loved ones who have died, our failures. We don’t like to think about the enormous pressure we’re under.
-But I want you to go into that wilderness, label it that thing.
-and as you’re in that wilderness, I want you to know that you have a shepherd. The Lord is your shepherd. I shall not want.
The word there for want, or some bibles might say “lack” I lack nothing.
-It’s a really hard word to describe because it means nothing. It means the lack of a thing. In Genesis chapter 8, in the account of the flood the same word there is used to descrbe the waters receding from the earth.
-The waters weren’t there anymore, the waters were no more.
-Here in our psalm, we have the negative version of that. I don’t have nothing. I don’t lack. I don’t desire for anything.
-And that’s important because it’s not saying I have everything. It’s saying I don’t have nothing. It’s not saying I’m full, it’s saying I’m not empty.
-I’m here in this wilderness, but I have a shepherd, I have a caretaker, And I’m not empty. I might not have everything. But I have what I need, precisely because I have God as my guide.
-Having that shepherd in the wilderness is the difference between having nothing nothing and having something.
Psalm 23:2 ESV
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
-I don’t want you to understand makes as meaning forces, or compells. Rather I want you to understand the word as meaning causes. He causes me to lie down. the shepherd is doing the leading, he is doing the action, and what we are doing is following our shepherd.
Psalm 23:2 NET
He takes me to lush pastures, he leads me to refreshing water.
Psalm 23:2 NLT
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
I think what we’re getting here is imagery that reminds us of the garden of eden.
-God creates all of the universe out of darkness. His spirit was hovering over the abyss, over the darkness. And from that darkness he brings forth things that are good.
Genesis 2:5–6 ESV
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—
So God creates the earth, he causes the plants to grow but there’s no one to work the land, no one to cultivate it. It’s a jungle. It’s a wilderness.
-And out of the dust God forms a man, and then God plants a garden in the east. an oasis. In the midst of the chaos, in the midst of the wilderness God puts a place of life. And he takes the man out of the wilderness and places him in the garden.
-That’s what we’re getting here in psalm 23. God is taking you out of the wilderness, and placing you in a position of safety. In green pastures. Beside cool streams.
-God is providing for you in the midst of the wilderness.
He’s giving you a place where you can finally say *sigh* It is good.
Psalm 23:3 ESV
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
He restores my soul.
The NIV says he “refreshes” my soul
the New Living says he “renews my strength”
-When you’re in that wilderness it feel like sometimes, you’re just tired.
-When you’re living in fear, or anxiety, or grief. Or you’re dealing with stress. You’re dealing with failure, one of the things that can happen is that in the midst of all of the things you’re dealing with you just get tired.
-God I’m tired of always feeling this way. I’m tired of fighting my enemies. I’m tired of this sin that I keep dealing with. I’m tired.
-What God wants to do is to scoop you up out of that wilderness, and set you down next to a stream. Where you can just take a minute, get a cool drink of water. And just rest.
Matthew 11:28 ESV
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:29 ESV
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
A renewal of your soul.
That’s what God wants for you. God wants you to rely not on your own understanding, not on your own strength. Not on your own ability to know and choose good in evil. But he wants you to rely on him. To follow Him. To allow Him to be your shepherd.
-Psalm 23:3
Psalm 23:3 ESV
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for his name’s sake.
-He is the shepherd. he is the one who gets all the glory and praise.
Psalm 23:4 ESV
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
He’res what’s interesting about verse 4. Verse four is the first point in the psalm where there becomes any sort of hint of evil or darkness.
-Up until this point it has been nothing but shepherd and pastures and streams, and everything has been great.
-But here in verse 4 we’re reminded that even though we’re with our shepherd by the stream. Even though we’re in the garden planted in the east. That wilderness is still out there.
-We walk in its shadow.
If we go back to our creation account. You’ll notice that the universe start out as darkness. It starts out as nothingness. It starts out as the great abyss, and God creates something good in the chaos.
The earth was formeless and empty, and Darkness was over the face of the deep. and God said let there be light, and the light was good. And he seperated the good light from the darkness.
-God didn’t abolish the darkness. The darkness is still there. And God didn’t call the darkness Good.
-What God did was create something Good in that darkness.
-Here in our psalm we walk in the valley with the shaddow of death, the shadow of darkness still hovering over us.
-But we’re not afraid.
-Because we’re with our shepherd.
Your rod and staff they comfort me.
The rod is a symbol of God’s guidance. It’s a tool used by the shepherd to guide his sheep from going astray.
-The rod is also a tool used to fend off wovles.
-And the staff is a symbol of the shepherd’s authority.
-We get images of the staff of Moses, leading his flock of israelites through the wilderness.
-We can have comfort in knowing that our god is leading us.
Psalm 23:5 ESV
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
-A lot of people here in verse 5 will say that the imagery being used is shifting.
-At first we were imagining a shepherd laying us down beside the stream, and now we’re picturing being at a table somewhere. Maybe we’re in the temple. Maybe we’re in the palace with a king.
-As we’re working through this psalm, I want to encourage you, in your mind, to stay in the green pastures beside the stream as we envision this table.
-The word for table here, can have the meaning of table like we imagine. But the same word can also be used to describe a mat that is rolled out. Or an animal skin, or a blanket that is rolled out on the ground.
-It’s a picnic blanket.
-We’re here with our shepherd, he’s brought us out of the wilderness, he’s placed us by the stream.
-The wilderness is still out there, the shadow of death is still there, but in the midst of that we are guided by God. We are protected by God.
-And we’re cared for by god. We’re sustained by God.
-In full view of the enemies. In full view of the shadow of death, in full view of your wilderness.
-God sets up a feast for you.
its almost like god is taunting your enemies.
-satan wants to trap you in your grief, satan wants to trip you up in your marriage, he wants to cause you to stumble into sin
-and god says not to day. nope not today.
today i had other plans. I was planning on having a picnic. so satan, grief, pain, death, anxiety youre just going to have to wait.
-The psalmist says “You annoint my head with Oil.”
There are two different hebrew words that we translate as “Annoint”
One of which is the type of annointing that you hear about when you’re talking about annointing royalty. Annointing a king. that’s the same word where we get the english word Messiah, which means God’s “Annnointed” one. God’s chosen one.
That’s not what this word here is. The word here in psalm 23 in the most literal translation means “Grease” or “fatten”
-Why do we translate it as “annoint” instead of “fatten” well first off, when you move from one language to another sometimes the connotation of words gets lost.
-In English, in our culture, if someone says “hey I’m gonna grease your forehead” you’re gonna go eww.
-Could you imagine? You go over to someone’s house for dinner, you’ve got your flowers, maybe a bottle of wine you brought over.
and you ring the doorbell and they’ve just got a tub of crisco, come on in, we’re gonna grease you up.
-and so yeah, Your bible isn’t going to say that because you’ll miss the point.
-You know what the probably the closest paralell we have?
Ladies have you ever had a spa day? where you go in and they put all of that goopy stuff on your face, and the cucumbers on your eyes, and all that?
-That’s probably the closest parallell we could think about.
-In the pressence of your enemies, in full view of the shaddow of death, God takes you out, he sets you up by the stream, he lays out a blanket for you, he prepares a feast for you.
He sets you up with a spa treatment, and your “cup overflows” so here you are with The Lord with your shepherd, and not only are you getting the spa treatment and a picnic by the creek, but you’ve got a nice glass of red wine.
In the presence of your enemies.
Psalm 23:6 ESV
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
-Do you trust God that much?
-Do you trust God enough that when you’re in the middle of your wildernes. Your grief, your anxiety, your marriage struggles, your financial struggles, your sin, when you’re in the middle of an all out attack. And you’re hemmed in on all sides do you trust God enough to let him be your shepherd?
If you guys remember back a few months ago when we went through the book of Exodus
We talked about the four different layers of viewing scripture.
And we talked about the pyramid, where at the base layer you’re looking at what the text says. you’re just trying to understand what it’s saying.
-And when you’re looking at poetry that’s what we’re doing here, we’re experiencing the poetry, we’re trying to put ourselves in the psalm, and envision the imagry that the psalmist is painting here.
And then when you go up a layer from that, up from the “literal” layer of the pyramid then you start looking at the moral level. The application level.
-that’s where we ask ourselves “how does my behavior need to change after reading this passage of scripture”
-And one thing that I think is abundantly clear from this psalm is that this psalm encourages us to put 110% of our trust in God.
-To the point where we say God You are my shepherd. You provide for all my needs, you provide my sustenance, you provide my protection.
-And if you remember the pyramid method you go another layer up and then you start asking “how does this psalm point us to Jesus?
-How does this psalm direct us to Christ.
-Christ is our shepherd.
John 10:11–16 NET
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not a shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and runs away. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. Because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep, he runs away. “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold. I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice, so that there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Jesus is the shepherd, Jesus is the object of this psalm. Jesus is the one we put our trust in.
-Which brings us to the top of the pyramid.
-The top layer of the pyramid, once we’ve figured out what it means, once we’ve applied it to our lives, once we’ve asked the question, how does this point me to Jesus, the top of the pyramid, is what does this psalm say about God.
-What does this psalm say about our salvation, about our faith, about eternal things.
-The example we get from this psalm, and all of scripture is that’s God’s desire for you is to be in intimate relationship with you.
From Genesis 1 all the way to the Book of Revelation, the entire story of the Bible is the story of God’s goodness and mercy following us. Some Bibles there in the end of Psalm 23 say “pursuing” us. God wants a relationship with you so bad, he wants to be your shepherd so bad, that he is chasing you down.
-And all he wants, from you…he doesn’t want your sacrifices, he doesn’t want your adherence to the law, he doesn’t want your good deeds, he doesn’t want your adherence to religious rituals.
-He wants your heart.
-He wants you to put your faith and trust in Him and Him alone, he wants you to trust him
call to baptism.
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