Confidence in Our Great Shepherd | Psalm 23

The Life of David

In Psalm 23, David gives us a glorious view of God from a sheep’s perspective. From this Psalm, Oren Martin shows how God’s people experience His never-failing faithfulness, care, deliverance, provision and protection because the LORD is “My Shepherd.”

Oren MartinNov 19, 2023

In This Series (16)
Salvation is Here | Luke 1:26-38
Timothy "TA" AteekNov 26, 2023
Confidence in Our Great Shepherd | Psalm 23
Oren MartinNov 19, 2023
Leaving a Legacy | 1 Chronicles 28-29
John ElmoreNov 12, 2023
When Life Is Painful | 2 Samuel 15-18
Timothy "TA" AteekNov 5, 2023
What to Do When Stuck in Life | Psalm 40
Oct 29, 2023
How God Rescues Us From Sin | 2 Samuel 12
Timothy "TA" AteekOct 22, 2023
How to Stop Sinning | 2 Samuel 11
John ElmoreOct 15, 2023
Your Confidence, Treasure, and Counsel | Psalm 16
Jonathan LinderOct 8, 2023
Does God Really Love Me? | 2 Samuel 9
John ElmoreOct 1, 2023
God’s Better Plans | 2 Samuel 7:1-17
Timothy "TA" AteekSep 24, 2023
What's The Meaning of Life? | 2 Samuel 6
John ElmoreSep 17, 2023
Living in God’s Will | 2 Samuel 5
Timothy "TA" AteekSep 10, 2023
Trusting God When Wronged (and Trusting God When Wrong) | 1 Samuel 24
John ElmoreSep 3, 2023
Dealing with Other’s Success | 1 Samuel 18:1-16
Timothy "TA" AteekAug 27, 2023
God and Goliath | 1 Samuel 17:37-47
John ElmoreAug 20, 2023
Syncing Up With God’s Plans | 1 Samuel 16:1-23
Timothy "TA" AteekAug 13, 2023


In Psalm 23, David gives us a glorious view of God from a sheep’s perspective. From this Psalm, we see how God’s people experience His never-failing faithfulness, care, deliverance, provision and protection because the LORD is “my Shepherd.” In whatever season of life we find ourselves in, we always have what we need and therefore can cultivate contentment and thankfulness (Romans 8:32). And though He doesn’t promise to protect us from difficulty, the LORD does protect and provide for us through it, and we can look to the cross of Jesus Christ to know God’s love for us in it (Romans 5:8). Finally, in light of the New Testament, the Christian’s confident confession, “the Lord is my Shepherd,” finds richer and deeper meaning in Christ, the Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for His sheep, knows His own, speaks to them, and keeps them through their hearing and following Him (John 10:11, John 14, 27).

Key Takeaways

  • Learning from David
    • As God’s people, we enjoy:
      • Confident contentment in our Good Shepherd (Psalm 23 1-3)
      • Confident security in our Good Shepherd (Psalm 4-6)
  • Looking through David
    • The believer’s confident confession, “the Lord is my Shepherd,” finds richer and deeper meaning later in Scripture. Passages like Ezekiel 34 and Zechariah 11-12 look forward to a day when a shepherd will come and do what the previous shepherds failed to do because of their sin. In fact, a future Davidic shepherd is so closely identified with God that we may ask, "will this shepherd be human (from the Davidic line) or divine?” The New Testament answers this question with a resounding, “Yes!” The One born in the line of David is the very Son of God, the Word who became flesh (John 1:14), the one John identifies as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
    • What do you need? What you need, you can find in Christ.

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • Can you confidently say with David, "the Lord is MY Shepherd?" How do these words bring comfort and confidence to you in this season of your life?
  • If He is your Good Shepherd, where do you see His provision for all that you need?
  • Are you being nourished by His Word? If you are, what are you learning? If not, seek Him through His Word and ask Him to nourish you today (start by rereading Psalm 23!).
  • What protection do you need in your current difficulties? Are you doubting his care, love and ability to help you? Where can you look to find assurance of His love (reflect on Romans 5:1-11)?
  • Where has God placed you to reflect and glorify Him?
  • Where do you currently see His goodness and mercy chasing you down?

Good morning, church family. My name is Oren Martin. I serve on the Equipping Team. That dreaded call came Friday at about lunchtime that our beloved Timothy Ateek could not preach, so here we are. We've been going through the life of David. Last week, we heard David's famous last words. Today, we're going to be hearing what one of our elders, Todd, just prayed through, Psalm 23, perhaps David's most famous psalm. Let me pray really quickly and ask for God's help.

Father in heaven, we lift up our eyes to the hills. From where does our help come? Our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. So, Lord, we pray that you would help us. By your grace for your glory in Christ we pray, amen.

In a wonderful, classic little book called The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer begins this book on God's attributes by saying the most important thing about us is what comes into our minds when we think about God. Now, maybe you know Scripture. Maybe you've sat under good preaching and teaching. You've read good books. You have wonderful Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who encourage you with God's Word.

Maybe you've even memorized Scripture, and you know verses like "God is love" or "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His steadfast love endures forever." Or maybe it is one of the prayers we just read as we sang. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created…" And it goes on and on and on.

But what about when a loved one dies or when you get that diagnosis or when you've parented your kids to the best of your ability… Yes, not perfectly, but faithfully you've parented your kids, and they still show no signs of interest in the gospel. Or you look at your savings just dwindling, and you don't know if you have enough to get you through the month or through the end of the year, or you don't get that job or that sale or that relationship you've wanted.

Or maybe it's what my wife experienced for years of wanting children, of month after month after month of taking a pregnancy test and seeing that you're not pregnant, and you so want children. What is your view of God in those moments? Psalm 23 is a song of confidence. It's a psalm of comfort. In this psalm, David gives us a glorious view of God. You notice each line, virtually, starts with "The Lord" and "He" and "He" and "He" and "He" and "You."

The psalm is radically, deeply God centered, because it tells us about who our God is. Up to this point in the Psalms, David has portrayed God as King, as Shield, as Avenger, as Judge, as Rock, as Creator, as Savior, but here he says, "The Lord is my shepherd." So, this morning, I want us to consider two things from this psalm. I want us to see that as God's people, we enjoy confident contentment in our Good Shepherd, and we enjoy confident security in our Good Shepherd.

1) As God's people, as God's sheep, we enjoy confident contentment in our Good Shepherd. These are found in verses 1-3. Look at verse 1. "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake."

It's very important that David begins with those two words the Lord. David knew the history of God's people. He knew the history of Israel. He knew that this name the Lord goes all the way back to Moses and his encounter with God at the burning bush. God speaks to Moses out of the bush that was burning yet not consumed, and God tells him he's going to deliver his people out of the hand of the Egyptians and into the land of promise that he promised all the way back to Abraham.

Moses asks God, "Who shall I say sent me?" and God tells him, "You tell them I Am sent you. I Am Who I Am. I am the Lord." That is God's covenant name. The God of the universe…yes, Creator…but the one who has condescended, who stoops down to be with his people, to be with his people as he delivers them from Egypt into the Promised Land.

He knew God's faithfulness to his people, but David also knew something even more precious. David knew God's faithfulness to him. In other words, David knew the Lord. David knew God's promises, that God called him from his family to be king of Israel. David waited for years and years and years, and those weren't easy years. He was waiting for Saul who ended up going crazy. As he devolved into sin, he was chasing and pursuing David and wanting his life, because Saul wanted to be king.

David experienced a lot of difficult circumstances…being on the run, chased by Saul, chased by his own son trying to take the kingdom from his father. David knew God's promises. David knew God's deliverance. David knew God's provision. David knew God's protection. So, David could say, "The Lord is my shepherd." That's amazing.

In fact, Charles Spurgeon says the sweetest word in this psalm is my. Isn't that amazing? We often go to the other things. My. You see, David could say, "He's not just the Lord; he is my Lord," because David knew he was the sheep. He knew what it was like to need provision, to need protection, because he needed rescuing and leading.

Friends, that's us this morning. Do you feel the significance of these two words, my shepherd? If the Lord is your shepherd, then you have everything you need. You may not get everything you want, but from a good, loving, and omniscient Father who knows what is best and does what is best for you, he gives you what you need…protection, provision, guidance, comfort, and hope.

Can you imagine a better shepherd? The New Testament goes on to show us places like John, chapter 10. Jesus stood and said to his disciples, "I am the Good Shepherd." He identifies himself as that Good Shepherd. How? Because he, the eternal Son, the eternal Word, John 1 tells us, became flesh. He lived the life we could not live. He died the death we deserved to die for our sin against him, an infinitely holy God.

He fulfilled the law. He fulfilled all righteousness. He obeyed in our place. Every temptation, every trial, he met with obedience and success because we couldn't. He didn't do it because he was bored; he did it for us and our salvation. He was put to death not for his sin but for ours. He died a substitutionary death for our sins. Because of his righteous life, he was raised to show that sin and death had no hold on him. He was raised from the dead by God, by the Spirit, in triumph over sin and over death so that he can say, "I am the Good Shepherd. I provide what you need."

You think about Romans, chapter 8, that says, "If God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him freely give us all things?" In other words, if God has provided what we most need, don't worry about the lesser things. Jesus says in Matthew, chapter 6, "If God clothed the grass of the field and the birds of the air, don't you think he knows what you need? Don't be anxious about your life."

If the Lord is your shepherd, friends, you have everything you need. This is what Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burroughs… If you've never heard of that name, he wrote a wonderful little book called The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. Now, I understand it's the Sunday before Thanksgiving week and we're going into the holidays. I recognize that in a room this size there are probably many in here who don't feel thankful.

Maybe in recent days or weeks or over this past year you've suffered a lot. You've had health struggles. You've suffered the loss of loved ones. You've suffered financially. You've suffered relationally. Let's just be honest. It can be really hard in seasons of life to be thankful. What do we do in seasons and days and holidays of discontentment?

What I would say to us is to remember and to rehearse the gospel. That's what we do. As British pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, don't listen to yourself, but preach to yourself. We can often listen to those thoughts of "I don't have this" and "I thought by this age I would be married and have 2-1/2 kids." (That's the estimate. Maybe not literally.) "And I would have this job, and I would have this nest egg, and I would be financially secure," and all of these kinds of things.

We can begin to sink down into despair, criticism, complaining, and grumbling. Lloyd-Jones says, "Don't listen to yourself. Preach." Rehearse God's Word. "If God gave his only Son for you, will he not also with him freely give you everything else you need?" The answer is "Yes, he will." We must rehearse the gospel and remind each other of this gospel, that God has given us what we most need in Christ, and he has guaranteed it with the gift of his Spirit.

David goes on. It's not just that he provides but also how and with what he provides. Look at verse 2. "He makes me lie down in…pastures." I skipped a word on purpose. No, it says, "He makes me lie down in green pastures." In other words, God is not stingy. He provides exactly what you need. As Jesus says, when he's modeling for us how to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread."

God has always, in the history of his people, given them what they needed as he led them through the wilderness into the Promised Land, providing for them day by day by day with manna. Maybe you've experienced this. Think about the hungriest you've ever been. Maybe it's going to be in about 30 minutes. You're like, "All right." Now think about the best meal you've ever had. Now put those two together and think about the best meal at your hungriest time.

Have you ever had that feeling? When I was a college pastor at a little school called Texas A&M University, I had a college student who fasted for 40 days. At the conclusion of the 40 days, we had actually gone on spring break on a short trip to a college campus up in the Northeast to share the gospel and do on-campus evangelism at a couple of universities.

I remember about the middle of the week he had his first meal in 40 days. I just remember, as he was eating, the look on his face. Then came the ice cream, and the look on his face was priceless. I mean, just a look of fullness and satisfaction. It lasted for a little while until he realized he overdid it, and then he was in a corner for the rest of the night in a fetal position because his stomach hadn't had that good of food in 40 days.

Anyway, in that moment, in that window of time, I've never seen someone so satisfied with food. The fullness and satisfaction of that moment… I mean, just think about it. It doesn't even compare to the fullness God has provided for us. How needy we were under God's just judgment for our sin, and God gave us exactly what we needed, a righteous substitute, the Lamb who came to take away our sins, as John the Baptist confesses him to be when he sees him.

In addition to that, the countless number of ways God has cared for and provided for you and me is simply staggering. It's mind-blowing. We're not even aware of most of the ways he works behind the scenes to provide for and to care for us. I was reminded of this this week in reading through the book of Esther. If you've ever read that book, it's interesting. One of the biggest debates in scholarship of the book of Esther is that the word God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, in those chapters.

There has been debate over the history of the church, but it's specific. It's purposeful. Why? The seeming absence of God is to make a literary point: when God seems most absent, he is actually most present, working behind the scenes to move history along toward his redemptive ends. Maybe you're in here this morning, and you feel that. You feel the absence of God.

Can I just remind you from God's Word that when God seems most absent, he is assuredly working in ways you can't see and may never see, but he is working. As he is moving history along toward their appointed ends, the summing up of all things in Christ, he's conforming us into the image of Christ along the way, giving us exactly what we need.

Now, you may ask, "Okay. So, he provided for David green pastures. What about us today? We're not literal sheep. I don't go feed out in pastures. How does the Lord provide for us?" Well, as grass would be food for the sheep, a regular way, a wonderful way that the Lord nourishes his people is through the provision of his Word.

Why do we need this kind of provision? Well, in a number of ways. We may be led astray with false teaching. We may think God is out to give us our best life now. That's what it's about, so amass all the wealth, all of the things you need today. We may be enticed by the things of this world or we may fear or doubt during various seasons of life. There are so many voices out there in our world that are stoking up fear, anxiety, and discontentment, heaping burdens on people, and the nourishment the Lord gives through his Word is perfect.

It's actually what Psalm 19 says. "The word of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul." When God's Word works in our lives by his Spirit, he keeps us on the path until we make it to the end. This is why it's so vital to soak in the pages of God's Word, to soak your mind and your heart and your life in it, to have friends, your closest brothers and sisters in Christ, who remind you of God's Word.

When you gather into your Community Group, to not waste the time talking about… Yes, we want to talk about the little things of sports and weather, and so on and so forth, but to make use of that time, knowing that the days are evil, we might speak God's Word. We might gather around God's Word. If we're not gathering around God's Word, then what are we gathering around? To gather around God's Word because we so desperately need to hear it, to direct our eyes away from the shiny things of this world to God and to the hope we have in him.

David goes on and says, "He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul." It's important to note David's context here, speaking of the life of a sheep. This is not peacetime; this is wartime. Sheep were vulnerable. Sheep were always susceptible to attack, to starvation. So David says, "He leads me beside still waters." Note still waters. That imagery is significant because water oftentimes in the Old Testament is not peaceful; it's chaotic. There's judgment.

Think about God saving his people, Noah and his family, through the waters of judgment in Genesis or God saving his people from the hands of the Egyptians and delivering them through the waters of judgment in the Red Sea into the Promised Land. Here David says, "My shepherd leads me beside still waters," waters that aren't chaotic, waters that aren't full of judgment, waters that are still, waters that bring life, waters that bring peace. "And he restores my soul."

It's important to note that God doesn't promise to protect us from difficulty, but he does promise to protect us through difficulty. Do you see the difference there? It's the shepherd's responsibility to come to the sheep in the midst of dire, vulnerable circumstances, to pick it up, to feed it, to rescue it. Some of you may not know this from looking at me, which is weird to say, but I was a Future Farmer of America through high school in which I raised pigs and turkeys.

One time, after a hurricane, my buddy and I went up to the barn to check on our animals, and his sheep (if you know this, sheep are notoriously, well, not smart) was lying on the ground with a wire over its head. All it had to do was this, and it would be out. Did you see that subtle movement? It was like this. The sheep just laid there. So, my buddy Troy basically just barely moved something and helped his sheep up. That's what a shepherd does.

Well, as finite and feeble and, as David knew, as many mistakes as a shepherd makes… A shepherd is not perfect. David by no means was perfect. We've known that through the life of David. Listen to these words by Martin Luther. "God is a thousand times more willing and ready to do everything that is to be done for his sheep than is any faithful human shepherd."

He is all-knowing. He is all-powerful. He is good all the way down. He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and he knows what you and I need. Let that truth soak into your mind and heart so that the next time you're tempted to doubt his care for you, to doubt his love for you, to change you, you can take him at his word.

Again, how do we know? Memorize verses like Romans 5:8. "God demonstrated his own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners (while we were in our greatest need), Christ died for us." Where do you look to assure you of God's love for you? Do you look to relationship? Do you look to an experience? Do you look to your bank account? If you look to any other thing except the cross of Christ, you're looking to the wrong thing.

God has displayed his love for us in that while we were still in our sin, Christ went to the cross and died the death we deserved to die. It's an objective fact that God has accomplished in history so that we might be assured and might rest in his love. How needy we are of his restoration. How needy we are for contentment. David needed it. Think about his own life…his sin with Bathsheba, using his power and position to commit adultery, and then to cover it up, to murder her husband Uriah the Hittite.

We have that wonderful psalm in Psalm 51 where David says the only thing he can do is plead, "Have mercy, O God. Have mercy. Pardon me. Cleanse me. Create in me a new heart. Restore to me the joy of my salvation." David knew he needed God's provision, and God gave it. And, friends, God gives it to you and me. If it were not for God's faithful commitment to forgive and to restore his people, we would have no hope.

Not only does he restore us. David says, "He leads me in paths of righteousness…" Now, at the sheep's level, a shepherd leads his sheep away from danger to places that are good, but at the personal level, in our relationship with the Lord, the Lord our shepherd leads his people in right paths. This has a moral dimension. Where we are God has placed us sovereignly and strategically to reflect him and his righteousness.

Every decision we make…how we parent our kids, how we steward our singleness, how we steward our marriage, how we submit to authority in our jobs, in our life in the church…God has placed us there to reflect him. Where do I get that from? Well, it comes from those little words: "…for his name's sake." That's why God has placed us where he has placed us: for the sake of his name.

If I were to ask, "Why did God save you?" what would be your answer? God saved you for the sake of his name. God is working in you for the sake of his name. Thankfully, God has given us everything we need for the sake of his name, to live lives that are transformed. He removed our heart of stone. He gave us the heart of flesh, as Ezekiel 36 says.

He wrote his law on our hearts. He has given us his Spirit and cleansed us so that now we have the gift of a Spirit who indwells us, who's the down payment of our inheritance to come. In the meantime, the Spirit is creating new desires in us so that we want to and will follow him in paths of righteousness. That's the mark of a Christian.

That's a great prayer to pray. "O God, lead me in paths of righteousness for your name's sake." That's a great prayer to pray for our church. "O God, lead us as a people, committed to one another, committed to you because of your commitment to us in Christ. Lead us for the sake of your name." Not the name of Watermark. Who cares about Watermark? We want to be a people who care about the Lord's name. If we're not, let's just close the doors. (I do love the name Watermark, by the way. Please don't come talk to me afterward. Penultimate; ultimate.)

2) We can enjoy confident security in our Good Shepherd. We see this in verses 4-6. Verse 4 says, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…" In Israel, valleys were considered dangerous places for sheep. We often don't think of valleys as dangerous places. We often want to get to the valleys, especially in August in Dallas. We want to get to a valley where things are cool and shady and nice, not 176 degrees.

But this was not the case for sheep. Valleys were dangerous. That's where sheep were vulnerable. They wanted to get to a high place, a place of visibility and protection. The psalmist says that even in the valleys, the worst places, the most vulnerable, dangerous places, he will fear no evil. Now, you might see a footnote in verse 4 at the end of the shadow of death. Mine has a number 6. When you look down at the bottom of your Bible…

Maybe you're new to the Bible. This is how it works. It gives you an alternate translation to get at the fuller sense of the meaning here. It says, "Or the valley of deep darkness." So, there's a spectrum, in other words. Yes, it could mean death, and it does ultimately mean death, but it could also mean any kind of darkness, any kind of suffering.

This could mean walking through a dark valley, like Job, and suffering, losing children, losing belongings, yet Job said, "The Lord gave and the Lord took away; blessed be the name of the Lord," and he worshiped him. An important thing to see is that this song is not only for the dead. This song is for the living. No crisis, no suffering, no difficulty is to be feared. Why? Those precious little words: "…for you are with me…" That's why David can make that assertion. "Because you're with me."

When I was 18 years old, the summer after I graduated high school, my father, after a two-year battle with AIDS, was in his final moments. About midnight, we got a phone call, and it was my mom. She told my sister and me, "It's time to come up to the hospital. The time has come." So we went to the hospital and sat by my father, who was a wonderful father, my best friend. We sat by him, and we read Scripture. We read Psalm 23. We sang songs, hymns that he loved.

We were with him. There are few greater joys in this life than being with my father in those last moments, assuring him of God's love and being with him at his bedside. Then came that moment. The moment came when it was time to go to a place where we could not be with him. He had to go to a place that we could not go.

Our only hope and his only hope in that moment were these precious words: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…" Christian, if you are trusting in Christ this morning, the Good Shepherd travels with us through every trial, even death. The good news is he's the only one who can.

At the end of our lives, the only thing that matters is whether or not the Good Shepherd is with us and guides us to our final home with him. All the success in this life, all of the possessions, all the popularity, all of the flashy things that allure us and that we can set our attention on and that capture our affections cannot and will not go with us on that final journey, but the good news is there is one who can and who will so that you don't have to go through that valley alone.

There's a warning here as well. If you are here this morning, and you have not turned from your sin, and you have not placed your faith, your trust, and your life in the loving arms and life of Jesus, then Scripture says you will go through that valley alone to a place that Jesus and the New Testament describe as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, a place of eternal destruction, of punishment, away from the presence of the Lord.

Friends, that's a terrifying place, so I plead with you this morning if that's you. Today is the day of salvation. Today can be the day where you give yourself to Christ, that you receive him as your Lord and your Savior. He will forgive you of your sins, and he will give you the gift of eternal life so that you don't have to go through that journey alone. If that's you, I pray that you would come to the front at the end of the service and talk to one of us so we can show you how to have a new life in Christ.

Not only is this shepherd a companion to David; he's also a commander. Do you see the shepherd's tools David has here? "…your rod and your staff, they comfort me." There's basically a twofold purpose of the shepherd's tools in his tool belt, so to speak. There's one of defense, and there's one of discipline. A shepherd knows he must always be prepared to defend vulnerable sheep from attack, and not just that, but to gather his sheep so they make it to the end.

For the sheep, there is security in these things, because defense and discipline protect us from ourselves and from others, from danger. We understand from Scripture… First Peter 5 says we have an adversary, Satan, who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. We don't fight against flesh and blood, Ephesians 6 says, but against principalities and powers of darkness. Satan is a real enemy, and he wants to destroy your faith. He doesn't want you to make it to the end.

Jesus, as our Good Shepherd, has what is needed. He says, "I am the Good Shepherd. My sheep hear my voice. They follow me, and no one will snatch them from my hand." Do you see that? Jesus will keep us. How does he keep us? Through our following him, just like 1 Peter 1 says. He guards us. He keeps us through faith. What a gift.

In the New Testament, God has given us pastors, elders, teachers, and the church to both guard from bad teaching and to gather under good teaching and preaching and shepherding and care so we can make it to the end. Do you see in these words that David gets deeply personal? "…you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me…you anoint…" You see that in verse 5. "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."

This is a picture of not just surviving but thriving. Again, this is in the midst of wartime. Have you ever seen the series Band of Brothers? There's a scene in Band of Brothers where… You have the Battle of the Bulge and a skirmish. Within that is the Siege at Bastogne. Basically, Germans are trying to come and take enemy territory, and they have this small little ragtag…you might guess it…band of brothers who occupy and keep them from doing so.

There's this scene where these Americans are getting shelled by bombs and gunfire. They had dug out foxholes and covered them with trees and branches and all kinds of things to protect them from shrapnel and fire and all this kind of stuff. Imagine if they popped out of their foxholes, set out a table and a nice tablecloth, lit some candles, put some plates on, and just started enjoying a nice dinner.

That would be nuts, but this is the picture here. "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…" Who does that? The Lord. That's how powerful he is. To have peace and protection. Not only that. He purifies us. "…you anoint my head with oil…" This was to guard off annoying things like insects but also to bring healing and restoration, purification.

The New Testament tells us that God has something else to anoint us. It's his Spirit who indwells us. He guides us and fills us and leads us in paths of righteousness for God's name's sake. If that's not enough, David goes on and tells us there's also satisfaction. He says, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…"

In fact, this word follow is not strong enough. It's "Goodness and mercy will chase me. They will hunt me down." David personifies these qualities of God to make a point. They will pursue us because God will pursue us. They will chase us. They will hunt us so as not to allow us to wander off. God is so unwaveringly committed to us that he's pursuing his people so that no one will be lost. Jesus says not one will be lost.

A couple of years ago, my wife and I were watching a TV show (don't judge me), Jimmy Fallon. He was interviewing this new actor, and this new actor was talking about this first movie he had just made. He was out at a restaurant, and he noticed off to the side, across the restaurant, there was this little-known singer named Sting of the Police. This guy was like, "He's a legend."

He was like, "I noticed that Sting gets out away from his table, and he starts walking toward me. He comes and says to me, 'Look. I just saw your movie. Great work. I just wanted to say I really enjoyed what you did.'" Now I remember this guy's response. He said, "Jimmy, Sting came to me. Sting came to me! Sting doesn't come to me; I go to Sting." Friends, in an infinitely greater way, God has come to us. God has chased us. God has pursued us.

In the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem us from the curse of the law, and he gave us his Spirit so we might call him Father, so we're no longer slaves but sons. Friends, God has come to us. God doesn't come to us; we go to God. The problem is we can't in and of ourselves. We are dead in our trespasses and sins. Yet the good news of the gospel is that God has come to us in the person of his Son. Let that move you and stir you. This is our hope.

As we close, I just want to say one more thing. As believers in Christ, our confident confession is that the Lord is our shepherd. These are wonderfully true and comforting words. "The Lord is my shepherd…" As we keep reading from Psalm 23, these words find richer and deeper meaning in light of Christ in the New Testament.

Passages like Ezekiel 34 speak of a time, because Israel's shepherds have gotten so sinful… Instead of feeding the sheep, Ezekiel says, they feed themselves. Because they failed, God says, "I will come, and I will feed my sheep. I will give them what they need." He says this over and over and over. "I will do this, and I will do this. I will be their shepherd, and I will feed them."

Then he says at the end of Ezekiel 34, "And he will feed them. My servant David will feed them and lead them." We're faced, as readers… It's kind of weird. Which one is it? Is it going to be God who's going to be the shepherd or is it going to be David who's going to be the shepherd? Then we come to the New Testament, and the resounding answer is yes. This one, the Word, the eternal Son, took on flesh. He was tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.

He was born from the line of David. He gave his life for ours so we could find abundant life in his. At the end of the Bible, in Revelation, chapter 7, it gives us this wonderful picture of Christians at the end of their lives who have gone through suffering, hardship, and difficulty. It gives this wonderful picture of these believers in Christ.

"Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

It's interesting that Psalm 22 is followed by Psalm 23. Have you ever noticed that? The psalm that begins in chapter 22, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" as Jesus cries those words on the cross as he dies for our sin in our place… He cries, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" and God forsakes him to death. He came, and for the joy set before him endured the cross, and he was forsaken to death.

It's only after that psalm that we read, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want," because we see in Christ both the Lamb who was slain, who by his blood ransomed people for God from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation, and we see our shepherd, the one who was not abandoned, who was raised from the dead, who says to his disciples, "Though you all will leave me, my Father will not leave me." So, he's both sheep and shepherd, and he is the only one qualified to give us what we need.

Friend, what do you need this morning? What you need you can find in Christ. Isn't that good news? This is what every Christian can confidently say. "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." Every spiritual blessing we have in Christ because we have his Spirit. Every trial conforms us more into the image of Christ. Every loss reminds us that to die is gain because we live in Christ. We triumph not because of our work but because of his so that we could say, "The Lord is my shepherd; therefore, I have everything." Let's pray together.

Lord Jesus, I'm reminded of your words in Matthew 28 where you call your disciples and commission your disciples to go into all the nations and to make disciples by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and by teaching them to obey all that you've commanded.

When we think about our own lives, as the gospel has reached us, and we think about that commission that's given to us, as your disciples, that the gospel go to the nations where people don't have access or resources of the gospel, we can often become anxious and despairing and wonder, "How can that be? How is that going to be possible?"

We come to those precious words, Lord Jesus, that you say to your disciples and you say to us: "Lo, I will be with you even to the end of the age." Lord Jesus, that's our hope. Our only hope and confidence and comfort is that you are with us by your Spirit to the end of the age. So may we live our lives in confidence, saying, "The Lord is my shepherd; therefore, I shall not want." In his name we pray, amen.