The LORD is My Shepherd

“The LORD is my shepherd…” (Psalm 23:1).

In the coming days we will be studying the 23rd Psalm together. There is a reason why this is one of the most beloved and well known psalms and passages of scripture. Even those who are not part of the church have heard of and know of this psalm.

So what is the big deal? Why is this one of the most important psalms? What does this psalm teach us about who God is and who we are?

That’s what we’re going to find out in the days to come.

“The LORD is my shepherd…”

The Hebrew language had multiple ways of referring to God. When the English Bible translates the word “Lord”, there are two primary Hebrew words that is translated into English as Lord.

  • When you see “Lord”, the Hebrew word that is being translated is elohim. This Hebrew literally means God or god.
  • When you see “LORD”, the Hebrew word that is being translated is YHWH, or yahweh. This word literally means “I am who I am.” This is the self-designation that God proclaimed to Moses when Moses asked who he was supposed to tell the Israelites sent him to free the Israelites. This word is so holy, so revered, that Jews never even pronounced the name. Whenever they came to this name in the Hebrew Bible, they would utter, elohim.

Our text declares that the LORD – YHWH is our shepherd. The LORD who created the heavens and the earth with the utterance of a spoken word. The LORD who is the ruler over all time, all history, and all eternity. The LORD who is above all. That LORD is our shepherd.

Our God is not just your run of the mill gods of the world. Our God is the LORD. There is none like him. He is the King of kings, LORD of lords, and the only living and loving God.

Most importantly, he is your God; my God.

“The LORD is my shepherd.”

Now, that’s saying something!!!

Obedience…What’s the First Word That Comes to Mind?

“This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand” (Exodus 13:9).

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word, “Obedience?”

I am sure there are many responses from all of you, but I would be shocked if “Joy” and “Delight” were what you were thinking. If you thought those words, let me know! Because you’ve got it right.

The context of the verse for today comes from the Exodus. The Israelites just escaped Egypt. They are free. It’s after they’ve experienced the Passover and the mass exodus out of Egypt that Moses commands the Israelites to observe the Passover every year as a memorial and a reminder of all that God did for them.

Don’t miss the order: the command for obedience and observance comes only after salvation. The Jews were set free. They had already crossed the Red Sea. They’ve already seen the Pharaoh’s army drowned. They’ve already seen God’s love and protection for them through the first Passover.

Only after they’ve experienced salvation, does the call for obedience come up. Obedience is the response of the saved, rescued, and the redeemed. Obedience reminds us of God’s awesome salvation.

Obeying God, his commands, and his word is not how we gain access to God. Obedience doesn’t earn us a spot in God’s kingdom. Obedience is the response of those who have already been saved.

We obey, not to gain God’s favor, but because we have already been favored through the salvation purchased for us by the cross, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our obedience is our joyful and willing response because of all that God has done for us.

So the next time you think about obedience? Think “Joy” and “Delight” because Christ has already done the work of salvation.

Bad Company Corrupts Good Character

“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Be wise who you give your ear, heart, time, and mind to.

If you are around the wrong people long enough, if you listen to the wrong things long enough, pretty soon what is wrong will seem right while what is wrong will seem right.

Be wise who you give your ear, heart, time, and mind to.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, there are several things you can do to protect yourself from error.

First, commit to weekly worship. We need a weekly reminder of who God is and who we are. We need a weekly recalibration that takes place as we listen to God’s word preached. This is not an option. We need to worship. God is not the one who needs to be worshiped. It is we who need to weekly hear and eat from God’s word.

Second, commit to a daily reading of God’s word. God’s word is the greatest weapon against falsehood, error, and sin. We read God’s word because we need it. This too is not an option. God’s people need God’s truth found in God’s word.

Finally, surround yourself with people who have committed to submit to God and God’s word. Be with those committed to God-honoring character.