Greetings in the Lovely Name of Jesus:
We return to our study of the most familiar passage in the Old Testament: Psalm 23.
Psalm 23 is presented from the standpoint of a shepherd and should be expounded accordingly. David considers himself as the sheep, Jehovah as His shepherd. His personal shepherd. What a wonderful role reversal.
So let's dig in.
II) The Sovereign Shepherd.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."
While we do not know definitely when David was inspired to pen these words, one truth is certain. David had surrendered the sovereignty of his life to the Good Shepherd. He had done what anyone who becomes a real Christian does; he ran up the flagpole of his heart the white flag and surrendered to the God of Glory. The one who is sovereign over heaven and earth is worthy of our surrender.
Let me pause here and mention this Doctrine of the Lord's Sovereignty. It should be apparent to all bible students that the Sovereignty of God is wound through the revelation of His word from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22: 21. He reigns, He rules. While many have resisted; disobeyed and defiantly shook their fist at the God of heaven, He will have the final say in all matters.
I don't believe in the "Fickle Finger of Fate"; a statement popularized on Rowan and Martin's Laugh In TV show of the early 70's. I do believe however, in the Lord's Sovereignty David did also. Through all of life's trials, (And he had more than his share) he could say The Lord is my sovereign Shepherd and because He is; "I shall not want."
That brought contentment to his soul. I have found from personal experience that when a soul will surrender the control of their life to the Almighthy, contentment of the heart comes as a result.
III) The Sufficient Shepherd.
There are seven (7) phrases in the Psalm that speak to the sufficiency of the Shepherd. We will look at each of them in greater detail but for now we lump them together and hold to the fact that our Shepherd is sufficient for the needs of His sheep.
As a shepherd David knew first hand the sacrifices, difficulties, privation and hardships that came with tending sheep. Yet he boldly declares "I shall not want". The original Hebrew is even more emphatic "I want nothing."
Oh that you and I might get to that settled place of contentment that this man enjoyed.
Many Christians really struggle in this culture of materialism and self centeredness with contentment. As Dr. Rogers put it one time "We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't even like. We try to keep up with the Jones, but when we finally catch up with them, they refinance." How true.
Please realize that contentment is a state of the soul and not the body and can only be found by surrendering our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. He is sufficient for all our needs.
I would suggest three areas of our souls that properly surrendered to the Lord Jesus will bring contentment to our soul. Let's briefly look at each one.
1. A Settled Mind.
For those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord you can have a settled mind. As you grow more mature in Christ you become more settled about eternity as well as the present. As I have grown older things that disturbed me greatly in my youth have become less significant now.
It is a proven fact that you can only think one thought at a time. Your brain works somewhat like a computer and your processor might be quicker than others; but it's still one thought at a time.
We are taught time and time and time again to fill our minds with the Word of God and the Word will certainly settle our thought process. I have a favorite verse for this and it might help you when you battling the virus of double-mindedness: Isaiah 26: 3 "Thou will keep him (that's you; that's me) in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed (locked onto would be an adequate description) on thee."
2. A Surrendered Will.
You have the ability to rationalize, you also have the ability to make decisions based upon your intellect. With decision in place, our will is surrendered to that decision. That is called the volitional portion of your soul.
Perhaps you will agree that you vocationally do some things you don't enjoy doing; but being fallible and fallen human beings, we have too. For example; I sometimes fore go that piece of pecan pie when I would really like to have it. But I surrender my will to pass on the calories.
A Surrendered will in the spiritual realm always promotes contentment in our soul. Always. Look at David as an example. David did not write many psalms like the 51st Psalm. And why is that? Psalm 51 was written as a direct result of his disobedience to the Will of God. You might want to read it sometime. This was a time in his life (some scholars believe at least a year) when he tried to cover up his sin but it could not be swept under the carpet. I would definitely conclude he had no contentment during this period. And neither do we when we get to places like that in our lives.
A Surrendered Will to the Lord Jesus lets us say "The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing"
3. Secured Emotions.
Have you noticed yet, the mind; the will and now the emotions? That is the triad of your soul. You are a triad being: body/soul/spirit. Yet your soul is triad as well: rational/volitional/emotional.
You can only think one thought at at time; you can only surrender you will one decision at a time; but the emotions, well that's totally opposite. Have you ever been an emotional wreck ?How about being burnt out/stressed out/bent out of shape? They come on like an avalanche,
There were many battles of the Civil War. The greatest battle that history remembers is Gettysburg right? Our emotions are our Gettysburg. Emotions are thieves that rob us of contentment.
How do we stop our emotions from reigning havoc throughout our soul?
Go back for a moment to the two other compartments of our soul. The mind/the will. When things have gone totally haywire with our contentment we must go back to our mind and settle it on our Lord. We must go back to our will and surrender it afresh and anew to Him. That will
begin to reverse the process. That will begin to bring calm where there were storms. It will work. It has worked for countless other Christians and it will work for you. You can have contentment again in your soul.
You can say and mean it; you can say and experience it: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."
He is my Sovereign Shepherd; He is my Sufficient Shepherd.
Till Next Time.