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Well this morning we're gonna be looking at Psalm chapter 23 which is arguably the most well-known passage in the entire Bible and there's a lot happening in Psalm 23 so before we go too far I want to lay out the main idea of the chapter otherwise it's easy to get lost in all the details so here's the big idea here's the main idea of Psalm 23 Psalm 23 shows us the endless care of God for his people what we're gonna see in Psalm 23 is the endless care of God for his people David loved writing about the endless care of God for his people that although God created the universe he cares about the details of our lives he's concerned about our day-to-day lives even the little things in our lives that bring us trouble and difficulty the Lord cares about all of those things now the way David teaches us about the care of God for his people is through an illustration and the illustration is of a shepherd with his sheep and our lack of understanding our lack of practical experience with sheep make it challenging for us to understand the great comfort that Psalm 23 has for us I don't know if there any secret Shepherds here this morning but my guess is that none of us have a lot of experience raising sheep none of us have spent time shepherding sheep and I think the lack of practical experience with she makes us makes it difficult for us to understand the comfort of Psalm 23 and the potential offense of Psalm 23 throughout history as people have read Psalm 23 they have sensed great comfort and many have sensed great offense and the offense is tied to the reality that if Jesus is our Shepherd then that makes us sheep and I want to be clear there's absolutely nothing wrong with sheep sheep are wonderful but if we're being compared to sheep some people take offense to that now why are people offended by the concept that we are sheep well there's a few reasons one is is that sheep are famous for following each other they are relentless when it comes to copying each other and blindly following each other a couple weeks ago I read in an article about how in the Pyrenees Mountains which are between Spain and France they are introducing or reintroducing brown bears into the wild and unfortunately there are a lot of shepherds and sheep in those mountains and so the story was about how there was one brown bear that began to chase one sheep and as a result the entire flock 209 sheep began to run and they ran and they ran and they ran and they ran and then eventually one by one each of them jumped off a 650 foot cliff to their death one after another after another that's a bad day if you are a shepherd and I also read a story about how in Turkey there was another shepherd who had 650 sheep jump off of a cliff but only 400 of them died the reason the other 250 did not die is because they landed in a giant pile of wool a soft pile of wool and it saved it actually saved their lives and if you go online you can read story after story after story about how sheep will follow each other off a cliff so they're famous for blindly following each other they're also famous for getting themselves into horrible situations they are willing to take huge risks for only a small reward for example oftentimes sheep will get stuck in thorn bushes they'll find a little bit of grass at the bottom or in the middle of a thorn bush and they will charge full speed ahead and they will get themselves stuck in a thorn bush just for one mouthful of grass which requires a shepherd or someone to come and get them out or makes them easy prey and if you go online you'll also see many examples of the types of situations sheep get themselves into I wanted to show you a few pictures just to kind of get your mind going but here here are some situations sheep find themselves in here's the first one this is not a good situation stuck in a fence or here's another fence but a sheep is stuck in we can keep moving I don't know what his plan was there you can go to the next one here stuck in a tree if you want to go to the next one on a mountain I mean they will find themselves in horrible situations they'll just wander away and they'll take they're willing to take big risks for little reward which makes them very vulnerable or they require a lot of care sheep require an incredible amount of care from what I've read it seems like they require the most care out of any livestock not because they need more food and water but because they have so many self-destructive behaviors like jumping off cliffs like getting themselves stuck but they also will find themselves in what's called the caste position I don't know if any of you have heard of this before but there's something called a caste position and this is true sometimes a big strong healthy sheep and what they'll do is they will roll over and they will land on their back they'll find a nice warm place in the ground to the lay down then their feet will start to come off the ground then they panic lose their center of gravity and they roll over on their back so here's a picture of a caste sheep and when they get into this position sometimes they can get out but oftentimes they cannot and if you're in this position when they're in this position because they're not meant to be on their back the gases and their stomach get all messed up and they become bloated and within just a couple of hours if it's hot they will die on their back because they can't get up or if a predator comes they're not exactly looking all that fierce in that position it's almost as if they're served up on a platter for their predator for a bear to come or a lion or a wolf to eat them they're also famous for wandering that sheep will wander they're creatures of habit so they will follow the same paths over and over again but they also wander and when they wander away they can almost never wander back this is the idea of a lost sheep and so they will wander away then they forget where they are at and they struggle to get back and so sheep require an incredible amount of care and so throughout history people who have been familiar with sheep they probably love sheep but they don't like to be compared to sheep we tend to think in our pride we don't blindly follow people we tend to think I I don't have self-destructive behaviors I don't take big risks for dumb rewards small rewards I don't find mice I don't find my life in danger all that often because of my own decisions and so people will they will resist this comparison so the challenge for us is to do exactly what David does and what David does in Psalm 23 is that he does not fight the idea that the Lord is his shepherd and he's a sheep he doesn't fight it rather but rather he rejoices in it he rejoices in the care of God David just knows I have self-destructive behaviors there are things in my life that I do that are not very smart that aren't very wise there are things that I do that put put my life in danger my soul in danger there are habits that I have there there are times when I find myself in a very vulnerable position and what David is doing is that he's not arguing with that reality but rather he's rejoicing in this reality that he has a good shepherd that the Lord actually cares for his life that sheep need a shepherd because they have a lot of needs and David says the Lord is my shepherd he takes care of me he leads me he guides me he gets me out of trouble and what he does in Psalm 23 is that he puts on display some of the benefits of the Lord being his shepherd and so my hope this morning is that when you is that when we leave we will rejoice in the reality that the Lord is our Shepherd that will say I can't believe what a shepherd we have I mean this isn't what a what a wonderful thing to know that we have someone who cares about our soul now what are some of those benefits well there are many benefits but for the sake of time I just want to highlight two the first is contentment and the second is comfort comfort and contentment let's start with the first one which is contentment this is what it says the Lord is my shepherd I have what I need he lets me lie down in green pastures he leads me beside quiet waters now in verses 1 & 2 we find a description of what I believe every human heart really wants it is a description of what every human heart is really looking for now what is it it is called restful contentment I think deep down if you look at your heart and you look at your life I think this is what we're all looking for restful contentment Jesus talks about this in Matthew chapter 11 he says come to me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest take up my yoke and learn from me because I'm lowly and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light and the appeal that Jesus makes to the world he made it then and he's still making this appeal today as he says come to me and you will find rest for your souls come to me and you will find real life come to me and the the thirst of your heart will be satisfied the Bible paints a picture of the human heart as being restless the human soul is at conflict with itself and first Peter chapter 2 it says dear friends I warn you as temporary residents and foreigners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your souls so what's what is waging war against your soul is it Satan what's the great enemy of your soul is it Satan and demons is it the world well those things certainly are threats to our well-being don't get me wrong but Peter says it is your own natural desires that are waging war in your soul the greatest threat you have to your life as yourself the greatest threat to your soul is your own natural desires this is why there's so much internal conflict this is why there's so much commotion this is why we are unsettled it's because we want and we want and we want we see this when we say I want this and I want that and I want her and I want him I want it all together right now proverbs 27 describes the desires that the natural desires of our lives as being never satisfied this is what it says just as death and destruction are never satisfied so human desire is satisfied the heart is filled with endless desires that create chaos in the soul and as a result create chaos in the world in the appeal that the Lord Jesus makes is come to me and you will find rest come to me and you will find life in the boast of Psalm 23 from David is that I have found this rest in the Lord I have found this rest in the Lord he has found this restful contentment now there are two phrases in these first two verses that point to this type of restful contentment look at verse 1 he says the Lord is my shepherd I have what I need here's the phrase I have what I need I have what I need or literally in the Hebrew language it means this I shall not live perpetually wanting more I'm not gonna live in this perpetual state of more and more and more and more and more now what do you call that you call that satisfaction David says the deepest longings of my soul had been met by my shepherd the deepest longings of my heart had been met by God himself this is the picture of green pastures in quiet waters he says he lets me lie down in green pastures green pastures is a good source of food in quiet waters that equals water that is easy to drink and so he's saying the hunger and thirst of my soul has been satisfied by my shepherd so he's boasting this is a statement he's rejoicing in this reality he's saying the Lord is my shepherd I have what I need the second phrase that points to this restful contentment is that he lets me lie down he lets me lie down this is a reference to being a sheep when you read this David is writing as if he's a sheep he's using all these Sheep analogies to help us understand the relationship between God and himself now David was a sheep or a shepherd he had a lot of sheep and he knew what it was like to take care of sheep but now he's writing from the position of a sheep and from what from what I understand about sheep is that sheep cannot lay down unless for condition our met the first one is fear sheep cannot lie down when they're afraid they cannot rest when they're afraid does that sound familiar to you isn't it hard to rest when your heart is filled with anxiety and uncertainty isn't it hard to rest when things feel like they're out of control sheep will not lay down if they are afraid so for a sheep to lay down their fears must be dealt with the second condition is friction if there's relational conflict relational friction sheep have a hard time laying down and see among chickens there develops what's called the pecking order and among sheep I love this it's called the ramming order there is such a thing as a ramming order where men and women male and female sheep they will compete in fight all day long for the right to eat in mate now that sounds like every reality TV show that's ever been made that people are competing for the right to eat in mate and it's hard when you have relational conflict to rest isn't it I mean when you if you get into a fight with your spouse doesn't that hang with you all day I mean if it's not resolved if there isn't peace it just wears on your soul if you're in conflict with your roommates or someone at work or a child that that type of conflict creates unrest in your soul so sheep when there's all this fighting that is taking place they can that they have a hard time resting and laying down the third condition is fleas sheep cannot lie down if they have fleas because of their thick wool they're a prime target for fleas and lice and so sheep if they if they are infested with fleas and lice they're literally being bugged that's what's happening and they cannot rest they cannot relax and we even use that same type of language we say man this thing is bugging me this thing is bugging me I cannot believe what this person said to me I can't believe what this person did to me and we replay these things in our minds over and over and over and over again and then we begin to think okay this is what I should have said and the next time I see him this is what I'm gonna say so this isn't talking here about fear but it rather it's talking about anger and when the human heart is angry it is it is it is so devastating to the soul it is hard to rest when you're angry with people when you're in conflict with people the fourth condition is food sheep cannot rest when they are hungry they don't have a good source of food this is the primary reason why sheep wander it's that they're looking for food and what David says here he's boasting remember he's making a boast the Lord is my shepherd the Lord is my shepherd I have what I need he lets me lie down in green pastures he leads me beside quiet waters and David here he's not saying I'm never gonna come into a situation where I'm afraid again that's not what he's saying I'm never gonna have relational conflict again I'm never gonna have anything bugging me again or I'm never gonna be in a position where I'm hungry that's that's not what he's saying but what he's saying is that the solution to these issues in my life they're all wrapped up with the Shepherd that I can turn to the shepherd to deal with my fear I turned to the shepherd to deal with my conflict I do I turn to the shepherd to deal with relational difficulties and my anger I turned to the Shepherd to be fed so he had confidence in his Shepherd so he says I can lay down I can rest because I have a shepherd who cares for me I have a shepherd who's watching over me I have a shepherd who has my best interest in mind you know it makes a world of difference when you're actually walking with the Lord Jesus Christ it just makes such a huge difference to have the truth in mind that he's with me I mean I can't tell you how many times I'll be in a situation where I'm afraid or I'm angry and I'll just say this I'll just say Lord you heard that didn't you you heard what he said to me what she said to me you saw what they did can you help me carry this Lord can you help me deal with this and it just makes a world of difference in your inner person when you recognize you have a shepherd who's watching over your soul a shepherd that you can turn to this is why David is boasting he's boasting in his restful contentment because of his shepherd and in the Bible restful contentment is a joyful satisfying life-giving experience and this becomes the foundation restful contentment becomes the foundation for self-control it is the foundation by which we can look at the world and say no we can look at our desires and say no because our souls are satisfied in our Shepherd you know the longer I follow Christ and the more I shed by Shepherd people I try to lead people as a pastor the more there's a phrase that has become so scary to me we ready for this scary phrase it wasn't scary years ago but now when I hear people talking like this when I hear people using this as a justification it it really bothers me it makes me afraid are you ready for it there it is because I want to it's one of the scariest phrases in the world because I want to why are you doing this because I want to know not everything that flows from that is bad that's not what I'm saying we have a lot of right desires that God gives us but this phrase when you you sweep all the dirt away from the root system this phrase is the root system of virtually all the chaos in the world because I want to why did you commit adultery sweep around get rid of the dirt because I want to why did you commit murder why are you doing drugs why are you in immoral why are people exploited why is there abuse why is there rape why is there greed why do these things fill our world it is because inside the human heart is on a quest for restful contentment they're looking for life and satisfaction and they believe that it is found in fulfilling their desires and so this quest for life justifies because I want to it's because I want I just want to do it that's why I want to look at this I want to I want to spend my money this way I want to do this I want it I want to I want to I want to and when that is the justification for your behavior and it's not checked by anything else it is incredibly scary see discontent sheep wander because they're living in a perpetual state of want they're unsatisfied with provision of the Shepherd's so they have to hop the fence go looking for greener pastures better pastures it is a heart that is filled that is filled with desires that have not been met the deepest desires of their life have not been met so they're on a quest for life you know can I tell you the difference between content people and discontent people I mean what's the difference well there's a lot of differences but it's all wrapped up in what they believe there are some major differences between what content people believe in discontent people believe now what are they well here's here's just a couple first content people believe their natural desires are liars people who are content in the Lord Jesus are people who can examine their internal desires and they can say they're liars my heart is filled with lies generating from the very essence of who I am this is the nature of the flesh now what does that even mean well this is what it means it means that content people believe our natural desires make us promises that they can't keep the natural that the natural desires that just fill my heart day after day after day after day after day after day some of them were right some of them are if you're a Christian some of them flow from the Holy Spirit flow from the Word of God but many of them because I still have this body of death this flesh in me many of them are lying to me Ephesians chapter 4 this is what the Apostle Paul says he says but that is not how you came to know Christ assuming you heard about him and were taught by him as the truth is in Jesus to take off your former way of life now we got to pause for a second he says take off your former way of life what is our former way of life what is it like he says this the old self that is corrupted corrupted this word has a picture of rottenness to be corrupt here it means that you're rotting the old cell that is rotting it is corrupted now what is the source of corruption the source of corruption internal corruption of the former way of life the old self is deceitful desires it's because my heart is filled with lies deceitful desires these desires promise things that they cannot deliver so Paul says that is the old way of life don't live that way anymore he says and what you need to do is be renewed in the spirit of your minds and to put on the new self now what's the new self like the one created according to God's likeness and righteousness and purity of the truth see the Lord Jesus shed his blood to save us from the old way of life so that we don't have to live according to our old master we don't have to live according to our own corrupted desires but we can live in the power of God's Holy Spirit he wants us to live a new life and see the old life believes this equation that fulfilling my desires equals life I get what I want therefore if I get what I want I will experience real life so we chase down every desire and the greatest quest of our life is just is just to set up comfort and pleasure and from every angle every position in our life everywhere we turn comfort comfort convenience comfort comfort pleasure comfort comfort everywhere you turn that is the old life that is the old way of living and I think it's obviously this is a testable statement you know people who have comfort comfort who fulfill all their desires in every way they find it to be hollow and empty at the bottom Luke Luke 12:15 says this Jesus gives us warning he says then he said to them watch out be on your guard against all kinds of greed why your greed is a liar he says you got to watch out of all forms of greed why because life does not consist in the abundance of your possessions there's a lion in your heart that says get more stuff you'll you have more life and Jesus says that is a lie that is a lie a person said this about our culture I thought it was pretty good they said we buy things that we don't need with money that we don't have to impress people that we don't like this is the American culture we just start acquiring possessions with money that we don't have to impress people that we don't like and the Lord Jesus is the solution to this problem it's not wrong to have possessions it's not wrong to have comforts it's not wrong to have money none of those things are wrong but it is wrong to try to find your life in them it is wrong to try to dig deep into your possessions and your things and your reputations to try to find life you're looking for life where there is no life the Lord Jesus he is the solution to the deepest desires of our heart David is rejoicing in this so content people believe their natural desires are liars content people believe our natural desires make us promises they can't keep and number three content people believe they were created for God content people are people when they look at the world they look at all that the world is and all that the world has and then they look at Christ and they say I want Christ that's what I want my deepest desire is I want Christ John 4 says this is what Jesus says in the meantime the disciples kept urging him rabbi eat something but he said I have food to eat that you don't know about he says there's a different type of life that I'm living there's a different type of satisfaction that I have the disciples they don't get it so they say the disciples said to one another could someone have brought him something to eat Jesus says my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work he says real life is not found in things or reputation or people it is found and walking with God it is found in obeying God and see David and Psalm 23 is boasting in the fact that the Lord is his Shepherd and that he has found restful contentment in him and knowing him and walking with him and serving him and obeying him and here's my question for you just look at your life for a moment can you make that same boast is is the Lord Jesus the deepest desire of your life are you finding your life in him are you finding your life and walking with him and obeying him and trusting him if not God wants to God wants you to be able to make that boast he wants you to see the Lord Jesus as the source of Wrath restful contentment so number one is contentment number two his comfort the comfort of the shepherd verses 3 and 4 this is what it says he renews my life he leads me along the right paths for his name's sake even when I go through the darkest Valley I fear no danger for you are with me your rod and staff they comfort me now when I read verses 3 and 4 there's a lot of incredible truths like he renews my life that's what he does what does he do he renews my life he tracks me down I wander away what is the Good Shepherd do he comes and he gets me he takes care of me I mean I could talk about this all day long but there is one question that immediately jumps out to me that we got to be able to answer we have to be able to answer this question if we're gonna follow the shepherd here's the here's the question if the Lord is my shepherd why would I go through the darkest valleys they see the question if the Lord is my shepherd why would he ever take me through the darkest valleys see the assumption that David makes is that or isn't that the Lord is my shepherd therefore we always skip the valleys we always skip anything scary nothing hard we just go the nice easy slow incline where there's no pain or difficulty or no challenges that is not as he says the Lord is my shepherd and the shepherd will lead me into the darkest valleys he's gonna lead me into trouble he's gonna lead me into scary places and valleys dark valleys would be very scary for sheep they would be scary for a lot of reasons but that's primarily where predators would hide they would hide behind rocks or cliffs in the valleys where you can't see so they would say I can't see what's around the corner she couldn't see what's around the corner and so they would be scared or thieves would be there all kinds of trouble would happen in the valley but a Good Shepherd would take their sheep into the valley now why why is the Lord Jesus if you follow him why will he take you into scary places why will he do this well look at verse 3 it says he leads me along right paths for his name's sake some say he leads me in the paths of righteousness he is so committed to me the Lord Jesus is so committed to me he loves me so much that he's gonna make me like himself if you're a Christian he is committed to seeing his image in you he wants to look at you and see himself he wants to see his righteousness in you because of the grace of God and what Christ has done for us on the cross we have a positional righteousness so when God sees us he sees us as forgiving and totally righteous but now that we have this position he says now be righteous and the Lord Jesus would never lead us away from righteousness but rather right into righteousness and what you need to know is that righteousness often runs right through the darkest valleys that the right life the life that the Lord has for us will lead us right into the darkest valleys which requires us as sheep to trust the site of our Shepherd see because if sheep are going through the darkest Valley it's not like a big open field where you can see everything if sheep go through the darkest Valley what they have to bank on what they have to trust is the size of the shepherd the leading of the shepherd and it is very Dane or it is very hard for us as human beings to trust the sight of someone else to follow someone else when we can't see what's around the corner a couple weeks ago I was with my family we were getting some groceries and we got our groceries and we were walking back to the car and we had to park kind of far away and my four-year-old son Jett he ran up to me and he says dad he goes he was dead I'm gonna hold your hand and he says and I'm gonna close my eyes and he says you just need to lead me to the car so I am holding his hand and he's squinting real hard to close his eyes and he says dad are we okay okay I said yeah we're okay we're okay and so we went for a little while and I said okay okay Jed now it's time to switch so I said I said Jett I'm gonna hold your hand and I'm gonna close my eyes and you need to lead us to the car and he goes no dad don't do it no no no no I said no we're doing it and so I hold his hand and I closed my eyes and we're walking and after a while we I bumped into a car I mean I didn't like I was a parked car we were all right it wasn't a moving car but I looked at Jett I said yet what happened and he goes dad I told you I'm closing my eyes and so the the image I had was like oh no busy parking lot and we're both walking blindly and it's not a good idea but it's scary because there's there's a sense like oh I'm trusting the sight of my four-year-old son but he's not watching and let me tell you let me tell you what the Lord Jesus does this is what he does he takes your hand and he says I'm taking you somewhere I'm taking you somewhere and oftentimes we don't get to see where we're going isn't that what happened with Abraham Abraham and the book of Genesis that the Lord called Abraham said you leave him where are we going he goes I'll tell you when we get there and that's what the Lord asks of us he says I'm not I'm not talking about Lee living a completely irrational dumb life that's not what I'm saying but his word requires us to grab his hand and he says do you trust my sight do you trust my plan for you because our initial excuse would be oh no no no no I can't see what if there's a predator what if there's thieves there what if there's danger there and he says well I'm your Shepherd I know where I'm going so our job isn't to have that all figured out our job is to follow him and David again he's just rejoicing I am following the Good Shepherd I am following the one who loves me who cares for me who has good for me now if you follow the Lord into the valley which looks like obedience what will you find in the valley well certainly righteousness you're gonna live a righteous life but this is what you'll find you will find that the best food in water runs through the valley David was a shepherd in the Middle East a very dry place and if you're trying to take care of a bunch of sheep that eat food and need water you at you you'd have to think about how do I take care of the Sheep basically in a desert how do I do this if there weren't always green pastures everywhere well oftentimes Shepherds would take the Sheep into the valley for shade you got to get out of the Sun that's one reason but oftentimes Shepherd Shepherds knew where rivers were running they would run through the valley and if there was water there then stuff would grow there'd be food and so they would the Shepherd's would lead their sheep into the valley and they would find shade and refreshment and they would find food and they would also find a good source of water and I believe if you follow the Lord Jesus into the valley I'm not saying that everything's going to be easy but you will find the most nutritious food there you will find real nourishment for your soul and what you see in the in the in the scriptures is that when you trust the Lord and either something terrible happens to you that don't understand or you actually obey the Lord Jesus and it makes your life horrible do you under you know that that often times in the Bible obeying the Lord Jesus makes your life circumstantially way worse do you know that sometimes we think no no no if I follow Jesus life is good it's good in a sense it's good in the sense that you have restful contentment in your soul and sometimes you have wonderful circumstances but sometimes it's very challenging in millions of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout throughout history have followed the Good Shepherd into the valley and what they have found is that God's Word and God's Spirit takes on a whole new dimension this week I finished a book called the hiding place I'm sure many of you are familiar with it but it's a story of Corey Tim boom who lived in Holland and she was helping to save the Jews during World War two when the Nazis were killing them and so she opened up her home and hid Jewish people in her home to save their lives and I just finished this book and it is an incredible book I would recommend everyone reading it but it's it's an incredible story about how Corey Tim boom and her friends and her family followed the Lord into the valley and it ruined their life it was terrible I mean all I mean her dad died in prison her sister died in a concentration camp the same one that she was in and what I'm gonna read here is the experience that she had getting to Raven's brook which is a concentration camp and the point is in the valley you may find very difficult and challenging circumstances but what you will find is that God's Word and God's Spirit takes on a whole new a whole new dimension it says this morning call it Ravens book Brooke came half an hour earlier than at vod's by 4:30 a.m. we had to be standing outside in the black pre-dawn chill standing at parade attention in blocks of 100 women 10 wide 10 deep sometimes after hours of this we would gain the shelter of the barracks only to hear the whistle everybody out fallen for roll call barracks 8 was in the quarantine compound next to us perhaps as a deliberate warning to the newcomers who were located the punishment barracks from there all day long and often into the night came the sounds of Hell itself they were not the sounds of anger or any human emotion but of a cruelty altogether detached blows landing and regular rhythm screams keeping pace we would stand in our 10 deep ranks with our hands trembling at our sides longing to jam them against our ears to make the sound stop the instant of dismissal we would mob the door of barracks 8 stepping on each other's heels in our eagerness to get inside to shrink the world back to understandable proportions it grew harder every day even within these four walls there was too much misery too much seemingly pointless suffering every day something else failed to make sense something else grew too heavy but as the rest of the world grew stranger 1/3 one thing became increasingly clear and that was the reason the two of us were here why others would suffer we were not shown as for us from morning until lights-out whenever we were in ranks for roll call our Bible was the center of an ever widening circle of help and hope like wave Cluff clusters around a blazing fire we could be gathered around it holding out our hearts to its warmth in light the blacker the night grew around us the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the Word of God who should who shall separate us from the love of Christ shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword may and all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us I would look about us as Betsy red watching the light leap from face to face more than conquerors it was not a wish it was a fact we knew it we experienced it minute by minute poor hated hungry we are more than conquerors not we shall be more than conquerors we are life at Raven's Brook took place on two separate levels mutually impossible one the observable external life grew every day more and more horrible the other the life we lived with God grew daily better and better truth upon truth glory upon glory sometimes I would slip the Bible from its little sack with hands that shook so mysterious it had become to me it was new it had just been written and I read that book and I thought to myself sometimes obedience if you read the scriptures sometimes obedience makes your life more difficult now that's an extreme example but here's the here's the point - the point is that if this promise that the Lord is with us if that promise holds true at ravensbrück in a concentration camp it will hold true in any situation in your life and I'm not saying if you follow the Lord you end up in a concentration camp I'm saying that as sheep we must be willing to trust the plan and the site of the shepherd this is what it means to be Christians and God used Betsy and Corrie and her family and friends to advance the kingdom of God an incredible darkness and unfortunately the cultural norm in our country is to avoid doing anything difficult at all the normal Christian life we think to ourselves if it is hard and scary we skip it and by skipping it we skip out on growth if we don't go through the valley we will not grow we will not have the nourishment in our soul that we need the cultural norm is that because it's hard to share our faith with people we don't we won't obey God with our money we don't change our schedules to be in fellowship we aren't willing to sacrifice any of our hobbies our comforts our conveniences for Christ we won't pray we won't read the Bible we don't go to church regularly because it's not convenient and what we're doing is we're skipping the valleys we skip the valleys and we forfeit the grace that God wants to give us in the valleys and I'm I want to be clear I'm not saying that God's Way is always the hardest way or the scariest way that's not what I'm saying but what David is rejoicing in this is what you gotta think what is he rejoicing in he's rejoicing it not that he's not gonna go through valleys he says the Lord is with me I can follow the Shepherd into the difficult areas of life that he will give me the grace I need to do what he wants verse 4 says even though I go through the darkest Valley I fear no danger why for you are with me you are with me and when I read this I can't help but think about the Lord Jesus that David knew of Yahweh God as his shepherd but in Christ we see that the Lord Jesus he is the Good Shepherd John 10 says this I am The Good Shepherd the Good Shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep a hired hand will run away when he sees a wolf coming he will abandon the Sheep because they don't belong to him and he isn't their Shepherd and so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock it's a pretty clear picture Jesus says I'm the Good Shepherd there's a lot of people who are like Shepherds but when trouble comes to the Sheep okay you're a shepherd think about this you see some of your sheep out in the field and here comes a pack of wolves he says the hired hands you know what they say to the wolves enjoy your lunch here you go they run away because they don't love the Sheep and the Lord Jesus says not with me he says I don't just risk my life for the Sheep I freely lay it down for the Sheep I died for the sheet and it's interesting because the Lord Jesus is referred to as the very Lamb of God he's the Shepherd of our souls but he became the Lamb of God do you know why he did it to make you a sheep among his flock he did it to include you into his family it says that the Lord Jesus died in your place that he died that the Shepherd actually laid down his sheep the Shepherd became a lamb and took the sacrificial death that we all deserve for our sin and he did it to make his sheep among his flock so that he might be our Shepherd now just to close a couple questions I want you to think about is this as is Jesus your Shepherd is Jesus your shepherd when Jesus looked at the world it says that he felt compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd he looked at the world he said they're like sheep wandering away left to their own devices and they're harming themselves and he says listen I'm the Good Shepherd I am The Good Shepherd and in a sense Jesus is a shepherd of everyone but in a more real sense he is a shepherd to those who hear his voice he says I know my sheep and they know me they follow me this is why you have to become a Christian if you're not a Christian you are harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd that's what Jesus says and to become a Christian is to come under the care of the Lord Jesus so I'll ask you are you a Christian what does it mean to become a Christian you got to repent of your sins I acknowledge that you deserve the wrath of God acknowledge that you deserve hell and put your faith alone in what the Lord Jesus has done for you on the cross that the Good Shepherd lay down his life for you to pay for your sins and if you do that you come under his care the second question is this is are you consciously obeying Jesus are you consciously obeying Jesus the tendency of our culture is to reduce Christianity down to a moral and when you do that you rip the gospel of all of its power in your life when you reduce Christianity down to being a good person you you take the very life out of the gospel of course living the Christian life means you will be a moral person but it is so much more than that it's about following the Lord Jesus it's about consciously obeying him it's about doing what he says and when we distribute it so much of our intimacy with God and so the question is are you consciously obeying him do you look at his word and do you do it are you as your heart set on actually obeying Jesus and you don't has anyone here ever done the 30 day challenge it's the whole thirty challenge anyone done this okay there's two okay better than all the other services I guess but if you're not familiar with hole 30 what it is is that it's a 30 day challenge where you just cut everything out of your diet it's designed to help help you lose weight and cleanse your body and I read on their website this is what some of the requirements are this is what they say they say avoid for 30 days do not consume added sugar real or artificial no maple syrup honey agave nectar coconut sugar date-date syrup and the list goes on do not consume alcohol or tobacco no grains no wheat rye barley oats corn rice list goes on no beans this includes all kinds of beans black red Pinto Navy white kidney lima peas chickpeas lentils peanuts no peanut butter and it keeps going on no dairy this includes anything that even looks or smells like dairy this is no goat cow or sheep's milk products like milk cream cheese kefir yogurt sour cream ice cream fro frozen yogurt and then they say this they say as a general guide they said if anything tastes or smells good spit it out because it's not acceptable during the whole xxx diet that's the that's basically what they say they don't say that but that's the the essence what is being communicated now what if I told you this I'm doing the whole 30 diet but imma have a few additions okay now will hear my additions I will eat pizza drink beer tacos burritos cake and brownies that's it I'm doing the whole 30 diet don't even suggest that I'm not if you do I will be very angry at you I'm doing the whole 30 diet but I just have a few of my own little you know things now on day 27 I've gained 15 pounds and I look like garbage what would you say what would you say to me I'm doing the whole 30 diet what would you say you would say nope and that's just obvious how does this relate the Lord Jesus has terms for following him here are the terms if anyone would come after me he must deny himself take up his cross and follow me that's what he says you gotta obey me and if we say well that well I get it but I need to have a few thing this thing well I do it my own way you know relationships my way money my way fellowship my way prayer my way and then we wonder why is God not more real to me it's the same reason I put on 15 pounds I'm not doing the whole 30 diet and so I just want to invite you and encourage you to obey Him make your make your heart set get your heart set I'm gonna obey Him well it's scary yeah it is this doesn't mean do stupid things you know I'm gonna go out and preach everywhere every day I'm gonna get a megaphone and just preach all day long to people it says preach the gospel I that's not what it I'm not saying you do the dumbest stuff you can but just obey Him do what he says and he will change your life you will meet God you will know God and I believe over time you'll have the same boast as David the Lord is my shepherd I have what I need that sets you free sets you free to live a completely different life let's go ahead here in close Lord Lord Jesus we just thank you that you are the Good Shepherd of our souls that you you Lord you died and for us you died because our sin demands death you took our death on the cross and now because of what you've done Lord Jesus we can call you our Shepherd that when we stray you come and get us that when we send you discipline us you're not the hired hand that runs away at the sight of trouble but you are completely committed to us so we praise you for that I just pray Lord if there are people here this morning who don't know you that don't have you as their Shepherd they're harassed and helpless if they've gone to church their whole life or this is their first time Lord I pray that they would turn to you that they would recognize that their sins demand death and they would call out to you to save them and I pray for us Lord who have known you for a long time I just I ask God to help us to obey you god help us to never make excuses but give us a heart and undivided heart to obey you Lord even when it's scary even when it's hard even when we can't see around the corner help us to trust you we pray in Jesus name amen.
Pastor Dan Rude continues our series on the Book of Psalms. Dan examines how lasting peace and contentment are only found in our good shepherd, Jesus Christ.