The Lord Is My Shepherd 
Psalm 23:1

The title of my message this morning is “The Lord is My Shepherd” and our scripture comes from Psalm 23. You may want to open your Bibles and find that scripture.

God helping me, I intend to preach a series of messages on the 23rd psalms. Today we're going to be looking at verse 1. In a moment, we'll read the entire psalm, and the entire series is going to be dealing with the subject: "The Lord Is My Shepherd."
Psalms 23 is one of the most loved chapters in the Bible. David spoke intimately of his relationship with the Lord. He was the sheep while the Lord was the shepherd. The shepherd's provision, protection, preservation and presence is clearly highlighted. 

Throughout the Psalm the idea is that we are totally reliant on and should be content in the shepherd's care and that everything we need comes from Him. 

Someone said that there are only two kinds of sheep that belong to the Great Shepherd: those who are BORED and those who are RESTORED!” If you are bored in your faith, you are certainly not following Jesus with your whole heart, for the Christian life is the most exciting adventure on earth!

How many truly satisfied people do you know? People can have all of the things of this world and not be satisfied. Whether it is in the deepest recesses, whether it be in the stomach, in the heart, or in the mind, there are hungers that people are seeking to satisfy that they can never, ever, really satisfy.

Even when they think they're satisfied, even that satisfaction is dissatisfaction. What I'm trying to say, is that there is a satisfaction that is more than just a play on words, and it's found here in this 23rd psalm.

The 23rd psalm, it's perhaps the best-known passage of Scripture in the entire Bible.    

It's said of the Word of God that it is deep enough that the scholars can come and swim without ever touching bottom and yet shallow enough that a little child can come and drink without fear of drowning. That is certainly true of the 23rd psalm—a magnificent, wonderful passage of Scripture.

This is a psalm of David. David is someone whom most of us can associate with. As we look at his life, he knew what it was like to be a lowly servant; he served as a shepherd of actual sheep. He knew what it was like to be on the top of the social ladder; being the king and shepherd of thousands of human sheep, the Israelites.

He knew what sin was all about; having committed murder and adultery. He was a brilliant fighter, and an excellent musician. Maybe that’s why most of us know the story of David so well, because we can all associate with him in some way or another.

It seems to me, that this story by itself should be enough to peak our interest, knowing that this is the Word of God. When we see that David wrote this psalm through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit our sinful ears are more apt to perk up. 

Many of us, know it by heart, It reads, "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 mine 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"

Let’s pray: Lord Jesus, we thank you that you are our good Shepherd and we can trust you with our lives. Thank you for your Sovereignty. Thank you for your guidance and care in all our days. Thank you that you restore our souls, give us peace, and bring us hope in all of our tomorrows. Thank you for your protection and strength that surrounds us like a shield. Thank you that we never have to fear. Thank you for your goodness and love that follows after us, actually chases us, even when we’re unaware. Thank you Lord, that you’re trustworthy and able, that you are our Refuge and hope.

In You alone is rest and peace. We praise you for the assurance that we will dwell with you forever. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Today we're going to look at the first verse. And it will be a marvel if we even touch on the truth that's in the first verse. We’ll take every word in the first verse and emphasize each word.                       "The Lord," not a Lord, but the Lord.

When David wrote this, the Egyptians had 360 primary gods, one for every day of the year. The Canaanites, in whose land the Israelites came to live, they had many gods. But, David knew there is but one God, Yehovah. The emphasis on the word Lord: the great Sovereignty, eternal God, the One who rules over all, the King that we sing about,.

"The Lord is" (Psalm 23:1)— The great  preacher, S. M. Lockridge, preached on the Lordship of Christ.

When he quoted this Psalm he stopped when he said, "The Lord is" he began to talk about that little word is. He said: "The Lord always has been is, and the Lord always will be is." He was talking about the eternality, the unchangeability, the immutability of our great God. He said, "You can't keep your tenses straight when you talk about our God.

He also said: My Lord is the only one of whom there are no means of measure that can define His limitless love. No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of the shore of His supplies. No barriers can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing. He’s enduringly strong. He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful. That’s my Lord.  Do you know Him?

He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world! He’s God’s Son. He’s the sinner’s Savior. He’s the centerpiece of civilization. He stands alone in Himself. He’s honest. He’s unique. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He’s supreme. He’s pre-eminent. He’s the grandest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He’s the supreme problem in higher criticism. He’s the fundamental doctrine of historic theology; He’s the miracle of the age. He’s the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. He’s the only one able to supply all our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He’s the Almighty God who guides and keeps all his people. He heals the sick. He cleanses the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharged debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meek. That’s my Lord. Do you know Him? 

My Lord is a Lord of knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory. He’s the master of the mighty. He’s the captain of the conquerors. He’s the head of the heroes. He’s the leader of the legislatures. He’s the overseer of the over-comers. He’s the governor of governors. He’s the prince of princes. He’s the King of kings and He’s the Lord of lords. That’s my King. Do you know Him? 

His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you . . . but He’s indescribable. He’s incomprehensible, He’s invincible, and He is irresistible. That’s my Lord.  Do you know Him? 

I’m coming to tell you that the heavens of heavens cannot contain Him, let alone some man explain Him. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hands. You can’t outlive Him and you can’t live without Him. The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree about Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. That’s my Lord. Do you know Him? 

He always has been and He always will be. I’m talking about the fact that He had no predecessor and He’ll have no successor. There’s nobody before Him and there’ll be nobody after Him. You can’t impeach Him and He’s not going to resign. That’s my Lord! That’s my King!  His is the Kingdom and the power and glory, forever and ever and ever and ever. How long is that? Forever and ever and ever and ever. . . And when you get through with all of the ever’s, then . . . Amen!     That is my Lord, do you know Him? Un-quote

"The Lord is my"—and then we could just pull over, and park, and talk a long time about that little word—"my shepherd." Not the Shepherd, not a great shepherd, a good shepherd, He's all of that, but my shepherd.

We could talk about the personal relationship with our Lord. We could talk about the word shepherd and put the emphasis upon the Lord is my shepherd and how He is the One who is responsible for every care that the sheep might have. And, that's where we're going to look: in this first verse and find that the “The Lord is My Shepherd”

First of all, I want us to notice that phrase: "The Lord." I want us to think of our sovereign God, the Lord. Notice that the word LORD is in all capital letters. You see, the reason it is there is to tell us that this word, translated "LORD" is a translation of an Old Testament name for God. That is the most sacred name for Deity that the Jews had, and it is the word Yehovah, and every time you see it in all capital letters, it means "Yehovah."

You can say, "Yehovah is my shepherd," and the name Yehovah is such a sacred name. It was the self-existing, the One who never had a beginning, the One who never has an ending, the great I AM. "Yehovah is my shepherd."

That name was so sacred to the Jewish people that they never spoke the name audibly.

When a Jewish scribe was translating, when he's writing the Scripture, when he would come to the word Yehovah, he would put down that pen and get a brand new pen just to write the name Yehovah, the great awesome covenant-keeping God. The self-existing One, the great I AM, the LORD, - "the Lord is my shepherd"

We need to understand what David is saying when he's saying, "Yehovah is my shepherd."

Evangelist Angel Martinez has a way with words. He said, and I quote "The Lord, the One who made the world and everything that is in it, the One who lit the paper of the sun and put the stars in their places—that's my Shepherd. The One who threw a carpet of green grass upon the earth and tacked it down with the flowers, the One who scooped up the valleys and piled up the hills, the One who took the song of the seraph and robed it with feathers and gave it to the nightingale, the One who took the rainbow and wove it into a scarf and threw it about the shoulders of a dying storm- that's my shepherd. At evening time, He pulls down the shade of the night and shoots it through with sunset fire—that's my shepherd." Un-Quote

So, first of all, as we look at verse 1, we see what I'm going to call the sovereign God; Yehovah; the great I AM; the One who rules the universe.

In John 10, the Lord Jesus unlocked the mystery of the 23rd psalm, when He said, "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11; John 10:14). You want to know who David was talking about? "I am the good shepherd" the sovereign, the shepherd. He is deity; He is humanity.

You see, in the Lord Jesus here's the wonderful thing about our salvation: we have sovereignty and sympathy, a King and a shepherd, a God who is able, a shepherd who is available, a God in the heavens and a shepherd in our heart. "The Lord is my shepherd."

Three times in the New Testament the Lord Jesus is described as shepherd. He is described, first of all, as a good shepherd. In John 10:11, Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd [layeth down] his life for his sheep." Okay, any shepherd may lose his life for the sheep—that isn't what Jesus said. Jesus said, "The good shepherd [lays down] his life for the sheep" (John 10:11).

No one has ever chosen to die but Jesus, because He was the only One who didn't have to die. He said, "No man taketh my life from Me. I lay it down." It wasn't nails that held Him to the cross. It was the silver cords of love and the golden bonds of redemption that held Jesus Christ to that cross.

You say, "It's unthinkable that a shepherd would die for a sheep." It's more unthinkable that God would die for man. Jesus is the good shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep.

When, as the good shepherd, He laid down His life for the sheep, He dealt with the penalty of sin. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), and that's what Jesus Christ paid. Our sin will be pardoned in Christ or punished in Hell, but it will never be overlooked. Unless there's a good shepherd who has died for our sins, we are going to have to face the wrath of an angry God at the judgment with our sins un-atoned. He's the good shepherd.

Not only is He shown in the Bible as the good shepherd—but He's also shown in the Bible as the great shepherd. In Hebrews 13:20, 21 "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect"—that is, "mature"—"in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever."

In John 10, He's called the good shepherd, He died for the sheep. But, in Hebrews 13, He's called the great shepherd, He rose for the sheep. It speaks now of the resurrection.

Isaiah said "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).

He carried our sins to the cross; therefore He took care of the penalty of sin. When He rose from the dead, He dealt with the power of sin. He not only is the good shepherd, but He's the great shepherd—He rose from the dead; but wait a minute, He's also called the chief shepherd. In 1 Peter 5:4, the Bible says, "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."

There you have the ministry of our Lord. As the good shepherd, He died for our sins to take care of the penalty of sin. As the great shepherd, He rose to take care of the power of our sin.

And then, as the chief shepherd, one day, He's coming to take us from the presence of sin. One day, He's coming again to take us home with Him. You see, He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Yehovah is our shepherd.

One of the things that is so beautiful about the Bible are the little signs of inspiration that you find that are really great signs when you see them. For example, you have here Psalm 22, 23, and 24, a trinity of psalms. In Psalm 22, you find the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Psalm 22 is written as if a man were standing at the foot of the cross. Gambling for His garments, the words that He would say on the cross, the piercing of His hands and His feet, the words of His enemies, all of this is found there in Psalm 22, the good shepherd dying for the sheep.

But, in Psalm 23, you find the great shepherd leading His sheep, the One who is alive, risen from the dead.

And then, in Psalm 24, we find the chief shepherd coming for His sheep. You see, in Psalm 24, this is the Lord coming in. In verse 7, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory" (Psalm 24:7-10).

The Lord is my shepherd, if we could just rest in that. That's the only way that anyone will ever have satisfaction of rest. You will never, ever, ever, have even a degree of satisfied rest until you can mean it: "The Lord is my shepherd." It’s only when you say that, that you can say, "I shall not want."

The secret is the Lord Himself. You see, our needs will never be met until they're met in Him. Things will never satisfy us.

So many people misunderstand Psalm 37:4, which says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He'll give you the desires of your heart." They think that means, "If I love Jesus, I can have a … whatever." That isn't what that means; what that means is when you delight in the Lord; the deepest needs of your heart will be met.

The desire of your heart is Jesus. That's what your heart yearns for; that's what you were made for. The Bible says it is in Him that "we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28) in Him. We'll never be satisfied apart from Him, 'till you can say, "The Lord is my shepherd. It's not what He gives me, but He Himself."

Let me show you what David did. David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, took the sacred name Yehovah, and he welded it to another name: Yehovah my shepherd. There are seven times in the Bible where the name Yehovah is conjoined to another word to make a new name for God? Let me give them I trust they will bless you.

1. Yehovah Raah
Psalm 23—Yehovah Raah, Yehovah my shepherd.

2. Yehovah Jireh
Genesis 22—Yehovah Jireh, The Lord will provide.

3. Yehovah Rapha
(Exodus 15)-Yehovah Rapha, The Lord that heals

4. Yehovah Shalom
Yehovah Shalom, The Lord our peace.

5. Yehovah Tsidkenu
Yehovah Tsidkenu, "the Lord our righteousness."

6. Yehovah Shammah
Eze. 48, Yehovah Shammah, TheLord ever-present.

7. Yehovah Nissi
Exodus 17: Yehovah Nissi, the Lord our banner.

Those are seven names for deity. Are you ready for a blessing? Now, you can understand a little bit what David meant when he said, "The Lord                [Yehovah] is my shepherd" (Psalm 23:1).

Listen: "The Lord is my Shepherd"—that’s Yehovah Raah— "I shall not want" that’s Yehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide. "He restoreth my soul" that’s Yehovah Rapha, the Lord that heals. "He leads me beside the still waters. He makes me lie down in green pastures" That is Yehovah Shalom, my peace. "He [leads] me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake" That's Yehovah Tsidkenu; that is the Lord our righteousness. "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies" That's Yehovah Nissi, the Lord our banner. "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, then shall the Lord hold up a banner before him." "I will fear no evil: for thou art with me" That’s Yehovah Shammah, the Lord ever-present.

What David was saying is that the Lord is all of the above.

Now, a question: Is the Lord your shepherd? I'll give you a clue as to how you can find out. Is the shepherd your Lord? That's the way. You see, the only way that you can say, "The Lord is my shepherd," is for you to be able to say, "The shepherd is my Lord." Not everybody can just stand up and quote the 23rd psalm and claim it for their own.

There are some unbelievers who are not part of the sheep. If you're not part of the sheep, it's impossible for you to say, "The Lord is my shepherd." "The Lord is my shepherd" only if you can say, "The shepherd is my Lord."

When you get saved, you come into the almighty hand of an Almighty God. "Yehovah is my shepherd"  

Some years ago, at a family function, one of the family members, who happened to be a famous person, was asked to recite a poem. He asked if there was anything special that his family would like to hear. After a moment’s pause, an old preacher said: "Could you, sir, recite to us the Twenty-third Psalm? He paused for a moment, and then said: I can, and I will, upon one condition; after I have recited it, you, my friend, will do the same."

The old preacher said, "But I do not have the art of speaking clearly and well, with correct enunciation like you do. My speech is not as clear as yours. However, you wish it, I will do so."

Impressively, the man began the psalm. His voice and his intonation were perfect. He held the family spellbound; and as he finished, a great burst of applause broke from everyone.

Then, as the applause died down, the old preacher arose to his feet and began the psalm. His voice was not so remarkable; his tone was not good. And when he had finished, no sound of applause broke out. There was silence in the house, but one thing was noticed about the family, there was not a dry eye in the room, and many heads were bowed.

The young man rose to his feet again. His voice was all shook up and his head was bowed down. As he laid his hand upon the shoulder of the old preacher and said to the crowd: I reached your eyes, and I reached you ears, but he reached your hearts.

The difference is just this: I know the Twenty-third Psalm, but he knows the Shepherd."

And all I want to know is do you know the shepherd?  Amen!

Alter call!!

 When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible on-line, please click here and may you be blessed by the song, "The Lord Is My Shepherd."