I apologize that our posts have been non existant the past few months. I made a decision to continue my seminary education back in August. That pursuit has involved a lot of additional study, class time and writing. Our blog ministry had to take a back seat for a while but hopefully we can resume our normal frequency of postings.
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II) Green Pastures and Still Waters.
Psalm 23 verse 2 reveals the first two truths of the shepherd's care for his flock. "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters."
These words from the shepherd king of Israel lead to the thought of Satisfaction. In shepherd language that is the scene depicted: The repose and refreshing of God's people.
A) Myths regarding Satisfaction.
A myth can be described as a morsel of truth enveloped in a husk of lies. Here's an example:
There is a myth that says all people ultimately go to heaven. The truth is there is a heaven and some people will go there. It is a myth to say all go.
There is equally a myth regarding satisfaction. The myth states that you can find satisfaction for one's soul in the temporal and material realm. In other words, you can satisfy the spiritual dimension of man (his soul) with material and temporal things. You can't.
John D. Rockerfeller was one of the world's richest people. One day he was asked how much money would it take to satisfy him? His answer was simply "One more dollar." He had made a lot of money, dollars meant to bring satisfaction to his soul. But in essence they brought more dissatisfaction.
B) The Truth of Satisfaction.
Satisfaction by definition is an acknowledgement of need met by the fulfillment of that need. In the language of our text, David says that every need of hunger and thirst has been met. Thus, satisfaction is achieved.
1.The Good Shepherd satisfies Soul Hunger.
Hunger is not an acquired desire. It comes standard equipment in mankind. As a shepherd David had learned how to satisfy the physical hunger of his flock. But he is speaking of a deeper reality here.
Humans, as living souls have spiritual hunger. It is placed in our souls by our creator. It is of far greater importance to satisfy this hunger than one's physical cravings.
David says that the "Good Shepherd" maketh me to lie down in green pastures. This pictures sheep who have grazed and are completed satisfied. Their fears are quelled, friction within the flock has disappeared and they fret about nothing. They repose. All because of the Good Shepherd.
Jesus affirms that real hunger originates in the soul. To try a material/physical substitute for the soul's longing will never bring fulfillment.
Think of it this way; if you were to the point of starvation, any food would do; even spinach. Yet for the soul's hunger there is only one absolute and satisfying source: The Lord Jesus.
Satan tempted Jesus in the realm of hunger. "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. To which Jesus replies; "It is written, man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:3-4)
To put this truth in the context of shepherding; the only way we find genuine satisfaction to the soul's hunger is in the Lord Jesus and His Word. We find true satisfaction in the spiritual food that originates with Him alone. After all "He is the bread of life." He gives true nourishment and fulfillment to our soul.
2. The Good Shepard Satisfies Soul Thirst.
David says that the Lord "leadeth me beside the still waters." Some Hebrew scholars have translated this "leadeth me beside the waters of refreshment." The quiet, placid, tranquil waters are exactly what sheep need. The same can be said for our souls.
Philip Keller in his marvelous book on the 23rd Psalm notes that sheep will not drink from roaring waters. Rushing water and fast currents frighten the sheep. It spooks them, it causes them to turn away. It is equally true to say that sheep have limited discernment and will often drink from contaminated potholes or mudholes that prove to be detrimental to their own well being.
A shepherd truly concerned for his flock would often go upstream and damn up a rushing stream to provide a pool of calm and tranquil water where the sheep would come and satisfy their thirst. He would lead them away from places he felt were contaminated.
In poetic language David speaks of the thirsty soul fully satisfied by the Good Shepherd. The Lord Jesus supplies His sheep with water for the soul. It is not roaring or rushing nor polluted. Rather, it is the pure and clear water that quenches the thirst of a seeking soul.
Water is metaphorically used throughout scripture as doing for the soul what literal water does for the body. As sure as water is essential to the body, the living water from above is essential to your soul.
The Samaritan women Jesus encountered in John 4 found living water that was not a stream but rather a fountain or a well springing up within her soul. Everyone who by faith invites the Lord Jesus into their life finds the thirst of the soul met on a daily basis.
Is this not what He promised on the Sermon on the Mount? "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. (satisfied) (Matthew 5:6)
The Psalmist of Psalm 107 states the same truth "For he (The Lord) satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness." (Psalm 107:9)
C) The Choice of Satisfaction.
Built into the statement "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside still waters" is the principle of choice. Shepherds can lead their flocks into green pastures and quiet waters but they cannot make them eat or drink. They must chose. Like the old adage, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink.
Choice is a biblical principle upheld from Genesis to Revelation. Man is called upon to make a choice. Everyone choses where he/she seeks satisfaction in life. You can chose to be like Esau of old and settle for a bowl of soup or you can be like David and find true repose and rest in the Good Shepherd; the Lord Jesus.
Satan parades before mankind the myth that fame and fortune; glitz and glamour; success and power will prove ample satisfaction for life. People are taught to emulate and imitate those who present themselves as successful and fulfilled. In the bestselling book Uncommon, Tony Dungy hits upon this very issue. His take that being is so much more important than doing is right on. The temporal system says what you do will bring you satisfaction. Scripture teaches time and again the issue is who you are!
There was a time when the highest suicide rate in the U.S. was found among teenagers. A recent study however, sees that trend reversed. Today, the highest suicidial rate in America is among those 60 years and older. That is an alarming fact. It tells me that there are multitudes of older people who have never experienced peace, purpose and contentment within. Could it be that many have found that satisfaction is harder to find than an honest politician in Washington?
The #2 Rock N Roll Song of all time according to Billboard Magazines begins with these words "I can't get no, satisfaction. I can't get no, satisfaction." Although written as a somewhat protest to the culture of 1965 their words have proven prophetic.
There is no satisfaction for the human soul apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. He will satisfy any one's hunger and thirst who calls upon His name for Salvation. He's been doing it for a long time now. And He still offers Himself as the Bread of Life and the Source of Living Water.
Most businesses strive for customer satisfaction. I have never found one person who has complained about the satisfaction they have received from the Lord Jesus. He has a perfect customer satisfaction rating.
May I remind you again: Satisfaction by definition is an acknowledgment of need met by the fulfillment of that need. It involves a Choice. It's always been a Choice. I trust you have or will make the right Choice and find true satisfaction for your soul. He provides Green Pastures and Still Water for those who trust HIM!!!!!!!
I wish you a Happy New Year.
Until next time.