There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
Friday, February 5, 2021
There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
PART 2Jack Davis
“O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” Song of Solomon 2:14
“Let me see thy countenance.” Shall we not always be facing Him? Faith in His promises will bring us face to face with Him. Glory to God, forever. What a sweet privilege is our’s to look upon Him with dove’s eyes, by heart revelation from His Word. With the eyes of understanding focused by faith on Jesus, our affections are set on Him. Looking unto Him as the author and finisher of our faith, we are divinely strengthened to go on and run with patience the race set before us.
He also invites us to “Look with Him” and greatly enjoy His point of view. In S.O.S. 4:8 the lover representing the Lord not only says “come with me,” but also “…look from the top…”. So many distractions vie for our attention today. Many problems arise that seem insurmountable. But they all grow strangely dim and pale into insignificance in the light of His glory and grace. As we look unto the Lord He seems to always be giving us visual adjustments setting our sites on the eternal, spiritual and heavenly.
The light that shown from heaven transformed Paul’s life, for it not only got into His hands and feet but penetrated his heart first. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” II Cor. 4:6.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the spirit of the Lord” II Cor. 3:18. Is there any wonder that He says, “Let me see thy Face?” His delight is to transform us as we look on Him. Seeing Jesus by heart revelation gives us a comely countenance in His sight.
“Let me hear thy voice.” Why pray? Love requires it. In the book of Job we read that the wicked spend their days in wealth and say to God, “Depart from us; for we desire no knowledge of thy ways. What is the almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit should we have, if we pray unto Him?” Job 21:7,13-15. In other words, what’s the use? The wicked are deceived by material wealth, and come to this sad condition of thinking they are independent of God, Many righteous are also being deceived today by materialism. If a problem arises the thinking seems to be, oh well, we’ve got what it takes to handle this one.
“The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers” I Pet. 3:12. “The effectual fervent prayer off a righteous man availeth much” James. 5:16b. Therefore we believe that according to God’s Word that prayer is still beneficial. We know by experience that God will answer prayer.
Paul admonished Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…” I Tim. 6:12a. The saints at Philippi were encouraged in standing fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel – Phil. 1:27. How is faith’s fight fought? In the mind, from the mouth, from the head or from the heart? The Scripture makes it very clear that it is not done by human might, nor against human foes. It is evident that the saints of God do their best fighting on their knees or faces before the Lord.
Jesus said, “Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation,” and “Men ought always to gray and not faint.” Can we scripturally refuse to pray, and at the same time obey God’s Word? Can we reject and neglect our prayer life, and at the same time truly follow Paul as he followed Christ?” Why is so much recorded of our Lord’s and our apostle’s prayers? Who is able to afford to disregard Phil. 4:6,7 and still be a winner? Are we not taught to be careful nor nothing, prayerful about everything, and thankful in all things?
That victorious company of saints, made kings and priests unto God are not only to be leaders in worship, but also have been powerful faithful prayer warriors.
Who can and who should pray? Shall we count on human intermediary to do our praying? What relationship, how intimate is our fellowship to be enjoyed with our dear Lord when we neglect this high privilege? The channels of communication must be kept open, “In the secret inner chamber, thou wilt whisper what thou art.”
On whom do we call when our soul is overwhelmed, when trouble arises, catastrophe comes. Where do we look? Who is the first person we want to talk to? Certainly we are prone to want the one we are most familiar with, that is best able to help, the one we trust the most.
Oh, how can we earnestly contend for the faith unless we are in current and constant communion with the rightful object of our faith, the author and finisher. The greatest faith is often exercised in the most simple prayer. It has been wisely said that the prayer of faith is not overcoming our Father’s reluctance to undertake for us, but rather a laying hold of His willingness.
Paul puts emphasis on prayer in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit has the responsibility of keeping us in a prayerful attitude. We by faith must expect this and yield to Him that allowed it. Grieve not, quench not the Spirit. He is the one to keep our prayer life in continual exercise of fellowship with our Father. The whole armour of God is put on and held in place by faith. This wonderful protection is all utilized, activated, exercised by the prayer of faith. “Let me hear thy voice.”
THE PREPARATION TIME
Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, Kansas
Jesus said, “Watch therefore for ye know not what hour your Lord may come... Therefore be ye also ready for in such an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 24:42, 44.
The word “watch” in the Gk. language means “prepared, adjusted” (which means: “to bring to a better state or position).” These are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples before He went away to heaven. These words must be very important to us, and we need to heed them especially right now. We are living at the end of this Age, and more and more we feel the nearness of Christ’s return.
The preparation for the coming of the Lord is the Lord’s work in us. Psalms 10:17 says, “Lord, Thou hast heard the desire of the humble heart, thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.” In order for God to work in our lives, we must first have a “desire “ toward Him. We must want the preparation to be done in our lives. It seems that the first step in this preparation is for us to realize we can never be an overcomer in our own strength. We must have the Lord’s help.
Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good wok in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Who started this work in us? The Lord Jesus Christ. The word “perform” means in the Gk. “To fulfil completely.” Who will perform this work? Our Lord. I like the word “you.” This speaks of the individual person. And, it is definitely “a good work,” which God is doing “until the day of Christ.”
Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” God is doing the work, preparing us, strengthening, energizing, and creating the longing and ability to fulfill His purpose for His good pleasure. Jesus said in John 14:2, I go to prepare a place for you, and I will come again and receive you unto myself.” Some people envision Jesus up there in heaven doing a lot of work trying to get the mansions ready for us to live in in heaven, but truly, when He went to the death of the cross, and gave up His life for our sins, it prepared a way for all who believe to live in heaven with Him.
Every day, we should walk with God, believing, trusting Him to do His work in us, giving up trying to be good and let God do that work in us. Surrender your will, and give it all to Jesus, and He will prepare you for the courts of heaven and the beauty of reigning with Him. This work goes on until the Father calls us home to be with Him.
Apostle Paul is such an example of this teaching. II Timothy 4:6-7. Paul was “ready.” The work of the Lord in his life had prepared him for what was ahead. He was ready for whatever God allowed. He wanted God’s work in him to be fulfilled in completion. Note, he “...was ready to be offered.” He was poured out as a sacrifice.
Remember the old song, “Is Your All On the Altar of Sacrifice Laid?” Verse 7 gives us three illustrations of an overcoming life - “fight,” “finished,” and “kept the faith.” These three things are very important to be happening in our lives, if we are to be totally prepared for our destination in heaven. I Timothy 6:12, says “Fight the good fight of faith.” Be a VICTOR! “Finishing my course” is very important also. God has laid out a course for each of us to fulfil. It may seem we will not be able to go on and finish it, but as we yield to God, He will strengthen us to be a winner in the race. Keeping the Faith is so important. The Lord equips us to be a guardian against error, which is very important in this later time we live in.
How can we be prepared? By taking in more of God’s Word, yielding to the Holy Spirit, being obedient to God’s will, and continuing to study the Word, and stand steadfastly for it.
A “Christian” “Godly” Nation
A preface to this article. I want it to be clear that I do not hate this country. I am very grateful that God privileged me to be able to live in this country where we have freedoms that many in the world do not. However, I think it is very important that our patriotism for our earthly country be under subjection to God. God has shown grace and favor to our country for a long time, but that does not mean that we can claim some special place because of something we have done.
I believe that the idea of “A Christian nation” or “Godly Nation” is a deceiving distraction of Satan on the Church of Jesus Christ in America. On the surface, it might appear to be a “good” thing, but when Satan offers us something that appears to be “good,” we are at our most vulnerable, because the only way to discern the true nature of what is being presented is to turn to God’s Word. Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. You can read in Matthew 4 how Jesus responded. The idea seemed “good.” Jesus could just take over the rule of all the kingdoms of this world and bring in justice and peace. That was not God’s way, and it would require giving glory to Satan. If Satan were to just attack directly by bringing persecution, the church would turn to God in true worship and looking to God for deliverance.
This idea of America being a “Christian” or “Godly” nation has no basis in God’s Word. What we find in this dispensation is a church which is made up of individuals that are redeemed by the blood of Jesus, from every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. Everything in the NT, especially the letters of the Apostle Paul, written specifically as instruction to The Church (every born again person), is written as to individuals and assemblies. As Jesus walks among the candlesticks (Rev 1:13), He is judging The Church, not the nations. There is certainly judgment coming for the nations, but the candlesticks do not represent any nation, they represent the Church (people from every nation).
We find ourselves in danger of becoming self sufficient and believing that we must make sure that this remains a “Godly” nation. If we just vote for the right person, or if we just get the right judges, or just write the right laws, we will maintain a “Godly” nation, and we can then boast in that. Our attention is distracted from our heavenly citizenship towards a kingdom here. God is working today in the lives of individuals that make up the church. There is no imperative in the Bible for us to create a “Godly” nation, and there is no promise of a “Godly” nation. That was God’s working with Israel. There will be no truly righteous nation until Christ is reigning over this world as He will in the end.
Notice that I place “Godly” in quotation marks, because we are also equating a nation that does things in a certain way to being “Godly.” What is the measure for this? Is it getting rid of abortion? Is it getting rid of same sex marriage? Is it having the ten commandments in all of our government buildings? What other things? God’s Word speaks of individuals as being righteous, because of the righteousness of Jesus, not because we managed to keep the Law. When we think we can alter our own behavior to be righteous, that is called self righteousness and stinks in God’s opinion.
God’s Word makes it very clear that we cannot measure up to God’s righteous standard on our own. Romans 3:19-20. The Law given by God was not able to be obeyed by His chosen people Israel, and not by the Gentiles. Only the life of Christ makes it possible for us to be considered righteous. Romans 3:21-22. Why do we think that those that are unbelievers will be able to live godly and righteously? They cannot.
There is a real desire to want to live in a society that is structured according to God’s Word, and that can be considered “righteous.” We want to live in a place where we have freedom to worship as we see fit, and proclaim God’s Word without retribution. This desire is not bad in itself, and that actually has been somewhat the situation in our country for many years, as we have had an unbelievable amount of religious freedom. However, there is nothing in God’s Word that would lead us to believe that we should be trying to create this kind of society. In fact, quite the opposite. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. If everything is easy, and there is nothing against us, we will become complacent and fail to grow spiritually; which is exactly what is happening in our country.
Paul lived in a perverse nation that was definitely not Christian. Not one time does he mention anything about changing that nation to a “Christian” nation. Not once does he write about our role in making sure society is structured according to God’s Word. Why do we think we are smarter than Paul or the Holy Spirit that inspired what he wrote.
Many take OT scriptures and misapply them to our current situation, believing that God promised us something that He did not. 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” This is often used to refer to our nation, and yet it has nothing to do with our nation. God did promise a land and a nation to Israel, and He will fulfill that promise one day. He did not make a similar promise to us, because our promise is of a heavenly kingdom. This is why Paul reminded Timothy that he needed to be “rightly dividing the word of truth.” Jesus tells us clearly where our kingdom is. John 18:36. Philippians 3:20 tells us our citizenship is in heaven. It certainly is good to humble ourselves and pray, but not for the reason listed in 2 Chronicles.
Satan is a master of misdirection. He puts something up for us to see, and makes it look like something that really is good (a Christian Nation). “Look over here,” while keeping us from paying attention to what really matters. It is not possible to work on creating a “righteous” “Christian” nation while also building an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and bringing the lost to Jesus. The fight that ensues only turns people away from Jesus. The leadership of our nation is God’s business, and He will arrange it as necessary to accomplish His sovereign will. Daniel 2:20-21, Daniel 4:17.
So, what do we do? What has God called us to do? Philippians 2:14-16. Our lives are to reflect the life of Christ that is in us. It is to bring a light that points others to Jesus. Trying to prove ourselves more righteous than others is not doing that. Showing love to others (Christians and non-Christians) is how we do that. John 13:35. 1 Thessalonians 3:12. Praying for our nation and for it’s leaders (whoever they are) 1 Timothy 2:1-4. Submitting to God’s will even when that means leaders that we don’t like.
THE FOUR BEASTS OF DANIEL 7
God gave Daniel this prophetic vision when he was an old man. He wrote every word and told the sum of the matter. The kingdom of Babylon was still in existence, except Belshazzar was now king (V. 1).
Vs. 2 & 3: the vision appropriately came to Daniel at night, for it is of Gentile times which are the darkest time for the Jews. He saw four winds of heaven, they strove upon the great sea. Winds in scripture speak of spirits (sometimes good and sometimes bad). Four is the number of the world, so it is world spirits. They stove upon the great sea, speaking of unstable conditions. Sea in scripture speaks of the Gentiles where as land speaks of Jews in prophetic language. God sees Gentiles as unstable, being toss to and fro. The spirits stir up these Gentile world powers. Four great beasts (beasts speak of unredeemed humanity) come up out of the sea, moving one after the other. So beastly people come up out of the Gentile world system, different one from another and they differ in deterioration and operation, but all are beasts.
V. 4, “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.” This is the Babylonish Empire, (that head of gold in Negbuchadnezzr’s dream image). To begin with Nebuchadnezzar was very much like a lion, greedy, vicious and sinful (a beast spiritually) before he experienced becoming a beast literally. This empire had eagle wings, the ability to soar over other nations and capture them. Daniel beheld until the wings were plucked, this was the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity when he was living in the field like a beast and eating grass like an ox. God certainly plucked his wings. Then he was lifted up and stood on his feet as a man, God restored him out of that condition. Daniel had to know what God was talking about up to this point. But all the rest would be future to Daniel.
V. 5, “And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.” The bear represents the Medo-Persia Empire. One side is raised up higher then the other. Persia was stronger than the Medes in this duel Empire. A bear is slow and methodical and strong. The three ribs in its mouth represent three nations they devoured (Babylon, Lydia and Egypt).
V. 6, “After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.” A leopard relies upon its craftiness and its speed, it is a very fast animal, its speed is greater than the lion and the bear. This represents Alexander the Great as his army overcame the nations by swiftness. It had four wings as a fowl, which is a deterioration, not the wings of an eagle, which is much stronger then birds wings. Birds flutter but do not soar as eagles. Alexander did not soar like Nebuchadnezzar, relying on speed instead of strength. Have you ever watch sparrows flutter over here and the over there. That is how Alexander defeated these armies. He would divide his army in divisions to be in a lot of places at the same time. That is how he conquered. The beast had four heads. After Alexander the Great’s death, the kingdom was divided among his four generals. These four kingdoms were “Syria, Egypt, Greece, Asia Minor (or Rome). “Dominion was given unto it,” God gives dominion to whom he wills. Rom. 13:1, “the powers that be are ordained of God.” God was in all this, He uses the unregenerated people to discipline his people, the Jews. Everything God does, is for a purpose. When He tares down a nation or lifts up a nation, its for a purpose, the providences of God. They are not haphazard, unplanned situations.
V. 7, “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.” Rome began to gain power and defeated all the other generals. They were one time friends, but one general Augustus Caesar began bring them down and defeating them. He was still in power when Jesus was born. About 395 AD the government split into two divisions (Eastern and Western) Rome the western and Constantinople the eastern. This forth beast, the Roman Empire was never conquered. It deteriorated from within by sin and loose living. We see this happening in America today. People can cry for revivals, but unless God changes the way government feels about corruption there can be no change. We might help a few people, but there is NOT going to be a world wide revival, for the Word of God tells us that things will get worse instead of better.
There are eight descriptive statements concerning the fourth beast: (1) dreadful & terrible, (2) strong exceedingly, (3) had great iron teeth, (4) devoured, (5) break in pieces, (6) stamped the residue or people with its feet, (7) was diverse from all the beasts before it, (8) had 10 horns. It was diverse especially as it deteriorated which is represented by the legs and feet of the image of Daniel 2. Rome was great and terrible and broke nations in pieces and stamped the residue with its feet.
Rome certainly threaded upon the Jewish people and stamp the remnant of the people of God with its feet. Notice the semi-colon after the word “it.” Even though it was put there by the translators, it is in a good place, because the rest of this is at a later time. The first portion of the Roman Empire comes right down to the semicolon. All of this is history as far as we are concerned, but the remainder of V. 7 is future. Which we will consider in the next issue.
One last comment on the difference between Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image of Ch. 2 and this vision of Ch. 7; both were God-given and God-explained, yet the view is so different. The stately impressive image of Ch. 2 depicts world rule from the human view, while world dominion as seen in Daniel’s vision of wild beasts is the divine view. Man sees the kingdoms of this world as great exhibitions of human’s extraordinary ability. God look upon them as being bestial in character, brutal and terrible. It is the true picture. In both visions we see the final overthrow of all earthly kingdoms by the second coming of Christ to earth and setting up His everlasting universal kingdom.
To be Continued
Debra Isenbletter, PastorSpringfield, Missouri
Vs 15: “So, they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.”
This verse shows a three-fold submission. The submission of Jonah. The submission of the sailors. The submission of the sea. We see the Sailors, the Sacrifice (Jonah) and the Sea.
Jonah has said “take me up” (1:12). “So, they took up Jonah.” (1:15). They “took up Jonah” in obedience to Jonah’s word and the “took up Jonah” in obedience to God’s will. This is their submission. Jonah does not struggle, he submits and he is silent. This is Jonah’s submission. This is a picture of the submission of Jesus. Jesus submitted in every way. He submitted to His Father in the Garden. He submitted to the soldiers who arrested Him. He submitted to the soldiers who abused Him. He submitted to those who examined Him. (high priest, scribes, elders). He submitted to Herod who mocked Him. He submitted to Pilate who sentenced Him. He submitted to His God, who judged Him. Jesus was silent He had said all that needed to be said.
In the midst of this submission we see the Sacrifice. They “cast him forth into the sea.” Jonah had said “cast me forth” (1:12), so they “cast him forth” (1:15). They did not resist God’s will and Jonah did not resist God’s will. Did Jonah realize that this was not his will but God’s will? Whether he did or not we see his complete surrender and acceptance. They threw Jonah into the “tempestuous” (1:12), the “raging” (1:15) sea. The sea pictures both judgment and death. Jonah is swallowed up by the sea, by the wrath of God and the will of God. He has surrendered himself to God’s will. He has sacrificed himself for others. He has accepted his own death. What a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ!
We see the submission of the sea: “and the sea ceased from her raging” or another rendering is “the sea became calm.” This is the first miracle but not the last miracle. The word “ceased” here means “to stay still.” Here it means “to stand still, to stop moving.” The sea was subject to the Will of God and the Word of God. It is interesting that the storm started because of Jonah an stopped because of Jonah. Jonah is a sign in so many ways. His disobedience and his obedience is a sign. His suffering and his sacrifice is a sign. What ceased was the “raging” of the sea. The word “raging” can be translated “anger, indignation, wrath.” The “raging” speaks of the intensity of the storm and also pictures God’s judgment in progress. The “ceasing” pictures God’s judgment completed. Through the storm God had proved He was “the God of heaven that made the sea.” (Psa.89:9; Psa.107:29). In the same powerful way, Jesus proved that He was “the God of heaven that made the sea.” He proved this when He “rebuked the wind and the raging of the water” (Luke 8:24). At His Word the storm stilled.
Vs 16: “Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord and made vows.”
In this verse we see the sacrifice the men made. It was based on their Fear and their Faith.
Their Fear: “Then all the men feared the Lord exceedingly,” Then shows when. It was after the storm stopped. It was after the miracle. It was all the men that feared. They were all witnesses to this miracle. They can picture all those that choose to believe, the “whosoever” that Paul speaks of in Romans. The “whosoever that believeth” (Rom.10:11); the “whosoever” that “shall call upon the name of the Lord” (Rom.10:13). The provision was for all these men to be saved. They all feared (to stand in awe of, to reverence). They had all feared because of the mighty storm. Now they all feared because of the mighty miracle. Fear can be transformed from terror to awe, and from awe to reverence for God. They feared the Lord (Jehovah), they knew who to fear. They feared the God of Creation. They feared the God of Jonah. They feared the God of Grace. And they feared exceedingly (greatly, tremendously, decidedly, mightily). They were overwhelmed! They were overcome! They were overjoyed! Vine’s says this verb implies the psychological reaction of fear. It was not simple fear, it was reverence. Their fear brought a different kind of submission, and submission that offered willingly a sacrifice. This shows that when God manifests His power, there will be a reaction, there will be a response. When Israel saw God’s power over the Egyptians they feared and believed (Exo.14:31). When the world sees God’s power the whole earth will fear and stand in awe (Psa.33:6-8). This is the type of fear that leads to faith.
Their Faith: “an offered a sacrifice unto the Lord and made vows.” In their faith we see two things: their offering (Praise) and their obligation (Promise).
Their Offering shows their Praise: They “offered a sacrifice unto the Lord.” They knew they needed to offer a sacrifice and it was immediate, it was voluntary and it was a thanksgiving. They knew who to offer their sacrifice to. It was not to their own gods. It was to the God of Jonah. We do not know what was sacrificed or how they sacrificed, but they did offer sacrifices. They sacrificed what they had, they sacrificed what they could, and what they sacrificed was enough. It does not say God did not accept their sacrifice, I believe He did, that it was accepted. Whatever it was, it was a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. One commentary said that if there were any goods left on the ship, that an offering of grain or oil or pure water would have been appropriate. What is most important is their willingness to offer a sacrifice and the thanksgiving behind the sacrifices. Paul tells us that through Christ we “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually,” he said that this sacrifice “is the fruit of our lips,” that this sacrifice is “giving thanks to his name.” (Heb.13:15). There is nothing burdensome or complicated or difficult about that type of sacrifice.
Their Obligation shows their Promise: They “made vows” (unto the Lord). Along with their Praise was their Promise. The word “vows” is plural, there were many men there that day and there were many vows made that day. Each vow may have been different. Each vow may have been made according to each man’s faith and circumstances. Some men may have had little faith. But each man made a vow. They could have vowed to offer better sacrifices. They could have vowed to serve the Lord. We do not know what they vowed but even though they were Gentiles, the Lord would accept each vow made.
To be continued
Part 1By Vicky Moots
“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 are 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.”
“The Lord is my shepherd” implies that we are sheep and in need of a shepherd. Sheep are not able to take care of themselves. They are defenseless and not very smart. They need a shepherd to guide them and keep them from going astray and getting in danger. They must be led to food and water.
Isaiah 53:6 confirms this when it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way…”. David admits in another Psalm, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant…” (Psalm 119:176). David realized, through his own mistakes, his weakness and inability to be in control of his life, just like one of his sheep, and asked the Lord to Shepherd him. We all need to come to that realization.
This Psalm reveals to us, through David’s own experience as a shepherd boy, the important relationship between a shepherd and his sheep, and the need of the sheep for a shepherd. The sheep must learn to trust the shepherd and to know his voice. We will see as we study this how to apply it to our own lives spiritually.
Psalm 23:1a: “The LORD is my shepherd.” “The LORD:” David did not say “a” lord, but “the” LORD, the One and only Lord. “Lord” means “the Eternal One,” “Jehovah God.” LORD is all capitalized for it shows that He is the One who is over all and has complete authority.
A “lord” is “a person having great power and authority over a group of people; a master.” But “the LORD” is the One who is supreme ruler over all others.
The origin of the word “lord” literally means “bread ward or keeper,” the one who is responsible for giving out the daily portion of bread to all those under his authority. The Lord is also our “bread ward or keeper” and gives us our daily bread.
David then says “is;” not “was” or “will be,” but “is,” right now, my shepherd. He is the “I Am”, present tense!
Hebrews 13:20 tells us that He is the Great Shepherd of the sheep. In John 10:11, Jesus declares that He is the Good Shepherd that gives His life for the sheep. But David makes that relationship very personal when he says, “My Shepherd.” He was saying that the same Lord that is high and lifted up cares abut me.
David understood the love of a true shepherd for the sheep, for he was a shepherd himself. He knew also the responsibility of a shepherd: to lead, provide and protect his flock. He knew his sheep by name and loved and protected each one, and even risked his life for them when he had to fight off a lion and a bear.
David realized he needed someone to lead, provide and protect him also, and he claimed the Great Shepherd as his own. He knew the Shepherd’s voice and followed Him.
We can claim the Lord as our Shepherd too when we become His sheep by saying “yes” to His voice. He has spoken to us by His Word and called us to Himself, saying, “Come unto me…and I will give you rest.”
Have you heard Him calling your name? He wants to be your Shepherd too. He is not only a Shepherd, but He is the Door to the sheepfold, as He said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…”. Say “yes” to the Shepherd’s voice today if you have not done that and enter in through the Door into the safety of the sheep fold.
Psalm 23:1b: “I shall not want.” This means that we will not lack anything or be in want, as He will provide all our needs. The Apostle Paul tells us in Phil. 4:19, “But my God shall supply all our need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
That is the responsibility of the shepherd to supply all the needs of the sheep. A shepherd knows exactly what each individual sheep needs. Our needs are also met through Jesus Christ, our Shepherd. In fact, Jesus, Himself, is all that we really need. Claim Jesus as your Shepherd today, and let Him meet your needs.