A Song of Faith

Text: Psalm 23


I.         The most famous psalm is a song about faith.

            A.        It weaves in a few brief words the clear message of a special relationship between man and God

            B.        It speaks of trust and security in good times and bad.

II.        Faith in Times of Quiet - Psalm 23:1-3

            A.        The Lord is my Shepherd

                        1.         David declares that God is his ruler, yet one who cares for and is mindful of his lowly creatures - Psalm 138:6

                        2.         David grew up as a shepherd and knew the care a shepherd gives to his flock.

                        3.         But telling to is that David said “my” shepherd.

                                    a.         He saw that he belonged to the Lord

                                    b.         The was an abiding companionship between David and God

                        4.         Today we realize that Jesus is our Lord and Shepherd - John 10:14-16

            B.        I shall not want

                        1.         David was fully confident in the Shepherd ability to care for him.

                        2.         He had no concerns about the present or the future.

                        3.         This was not a trust in his situation as those at Laodicea - Revelation 3:17

                        4.         This was a reliance on the Eternal God - Philippians 4:19

                        5.         Confidence in access to help if the need arises - Hebrews 4:16

            C.        He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters; He restores my soul

                        1.         God gives repose and rest to the weary pilgrim in life - Isaiah 40:11

                        2.         There is work to be done and difficulties to face, yet there are moments of quiet to recover - Psalm 138:7

                        3.         To fountains of living water - Revelation 7:17

                        4.         And we are revived and restored - Psalm 51:10

            D.        He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake

                        1.         We are not left to wander but set on righteous paths - Psalm 143:8-10; Proverbs 8:20

                        2.         God will make the way easier - Isaiah 42:16

                        3.         This God does for His name’s sake

                                    a.         He does not do this because we are so wonderful

                                    b.         He does it because He is wonderful - Psalm 79:9

                                    c.         And this He continues to do - Ephesians 1:5-9

III.       Faith in Times of Trouble - Psalm 23:4

            A.        Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

                        1.         People fear the unknown more than the known because the possibilities are endless with the unknown. And death is the ultimate unknown.

                        2.         Job used the phrase “shadow of death” to refer to terrors of the night - Job 24:17

                        3.         Job also used the phrase “shadow of death” to allude to deep gloom and despair - Job 3:3-5; 10:21-22

                        4.         For the Israelites, it recalled the wilderness journeys - Jeremiah 2:5-6

                        5.         Thus walking through the valley of the shadow of death refers to low points in our lives when troubles, fears, gloom, and despair seem to pile upon us from every side.

            B.        I will fear no evil for You are with me;

                        1.         But despite the environment, David said he would not fear. As Zacharias recognized when he saw the Christ - Luke 1:78-79

                        2.         Pure confidence in the Shepherd - Psalm 27:1-4; 46:1-3

                        3.         It is the words we must remember from Jesus - Matthew 28:19-20

            C.        Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

                        1.         A rod is a switch used to keep the sheep from straying and going where they need to go.

                        2.         A staff is a walking stick, it is used to extend the reach of a shepherd to guide a sheep, but it can also be used as a weapon against something attacking the sheep.

                        3.         Thus David finds comfort in the fact that God corrects him and guides him.

                        4.         God’s chastening

                                    a.         Chastening means God cares enough to want us to improve - Hebrews 12:5-14

                                    b.         It is to keep us out of danger - I Corinthians 11:32

                                    c.         God inflicts for our good - Psalm 119:75

                                    d.         Happy is the person whom God chastens - Psalm 94:12

                                    e.         Jesus states - Revelation 3:19

                        5.         God’s guidance

                                    a.         God’s laws are desirable - Psalm 19:7-11

                                    b.         God’s commands will watch over you - Proverbs 6:22-23

            D.        Thus the Hebrew writer spoke - Hebrews 13:5-6

IV.      Faith in God’s Grace and Mercy - Psalm 23:5-6

            A.        Here the imagery shifts to being a guest in God’s house

            B.        Grace is giving to another what they do not deserve. Mercy is not giving to another what they do deserve.

                        1.         David expresses his awe at God’s generosity

            C.        You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

                        1.         God shows His goodness where others can see - Psalm 31:19

                        2.         But it also indicates that God gives and enemies are unable to hinder Him - Romans 5:8-10

                        3.         Who can interfere with God’s gifts - Romans 8:31-39

            D.        You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

                        1.         Rich gifts are given, more than abundantly than expected - Ephesians 3:20

            E.        Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life

                        1.         God’s grace and mercy will be experienced throughout life

                        2.         It was David’s one desire - Psalm 27:4

            F.        And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever

                        1.         For Israel, the house of the Lord referred foremost to the temple - Psalm 65:4

                        2.         But it was also God’s household, His children, His people - Hebrews 3:5-6

                        3.         Today that household is the church - I Timothy 3:15

                        4.         But the ultimate joy is to dwell in God’s eternal home - Revelation 21:1-4

V.        The ultimate goal for God’s sheep - Hebrews 13:20-21

            A.        Will you enter His pastures and become one of His sheep?

            B.        Will you follow the Shepherd’s voice and trust in His care?