This is a copy of my message to the church this coming Sunday, July 18, 2010.
“The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll not want”
To our Great Shepherd of the flock, THE LORD GOD who is present this evening. To my family that continues to support me in all my activities. To the leaders of this congregation present this evening who committed themselves to serve God and to shepherd our congregation with spiritual food and to my fellow brethren in Christ who continue to inspire me, Good Evening!
Tonight, I feel very happy that God, at my young age, gave me the opportunity and the privilege to deliver His message to you.
At the same time, I feel very nervous since tonight is my first time to deliver a speech to the church.
To speak before the church in the pulpit is entirely different with public speaking in school.
Once you stand here in this pulpit you will be talking about God’s message, His guidance and admonitions for you tonighrt are what you’re going to hear and not mere opinions and superstitions. Public speaking in school deals with current issues, reporting in class about a certain topic, and you will be talking about your own opinions regarding issues and concerns assigned by teachers.
God’s message for us this evening is about comfort, protection and hope. Our text for this evening is found on Psalm 23:1-6. It is also about the Lord, David the psalmist called his Shepherd.
As a young Christian, I think and feel that David the psalmist composed the most beautiful, perfect and elegant psalm I ever heard. As a young child, I remember my Dad as he always sang this song at home, in church, and even while he drives the car as he brings me to school or when we go out for a trip. As I grew up, this song made me realize how super supportive God is to us as we daily face the challenges and discomforts of life. He is always there to comfort us when everything seems to be going wrong in such a way that He always makes sure that we are on the right path of life that leads to Him and His righteousness.
When David composed this psalm, he was already the King of Israel. Yet, he remembered his youth when he was but a young lad tending the sheep in the green pasture of the prairie. He had all the time to commune with God and found solace and comfort in his solitude even while he faced the dangers of the wilderness.
Tending the sheep seeing to it that the flock was comfortable as they lied on the grass, where some were eating, sleeping, playing and while sitting beside him. Thus, as he remembered all of these, he began to sing the “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want”, accompanied by his harp.
If we will read and study the song, we will notice how passionate and emotional David was in communing with God. He felt God’s comfort and protection.
He was confident and assured that in his every day activities, God was always there to guide him. In times when he and the flock were in the midst of danger, God was always there to rescue them from vicious wolves and vultures.
How wonderful it is to be with God.
As can be seen from the psalm, David shared with us three assurances.
- I. Comfort
“He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters” –verse 2 –
Verse 2 talks about how God gives comfort to David affording him relaxation of mind and focus to his chores. When we say COMFORT, it means:
- To show sympathy to a person;
- To encourage someone who suffers from trials, burdens, coldness of spiritual life, etc.;
- To give hope;
- To ease the grief of sorrow.
- The mother’s words of love and help comforted the crying girl.
- My father makes enough money for us to live in comfort.
- Our brothers and sisters are the first persons to give us comforting words.
As Christians, it is our duty and responsibility to encourage our brethren who feel discouraged and hopeless in their faith. We must help them regain their joy, happiness and faith in God. We must edify them by singing and praying for them. This is our job and commitment to God.
Elder James said, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him, Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working. ” –James 5:14-16-
- II. Protection
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.” –Verse 4 –
In line with comfort, verse 4 talks about protection. Protection means:
- The act of protecting, or condition of being kept from harm; defence;
- A person, place, or thing which we value and as much as possible we prevent it from damages.
- Protection of God is:
- i. Encouraging – Isa. 41:10; Isa. 50:7
- ii. Seasonable – Psalms 46:1
- Protection of God is afforded to:
- i. The oppressed – Ps. 9:9
- ii. The Poor – Ps. 14:6; Ps. 72:12-14
- iii. The Church – Zec. 2:5
- On the other hand, God’s protection cannot be found on:
- i. Idols – Isa. 46:7
- ii. Man – Psa. 146:3
- We have policemen for our protection from syndicates.
- We have the Armed Forces of the Philippines to protect us from conquerors and foreign invaders.
- At home, our father is the defender of our home and family. He is the door, the roof and the building of the family.
- Biblical examples of God’s protection:
- Peter when he was imprisoned – Acts 12:4-7
- Paul when he was preaching the word of God in the synagogues in Corinth – Acts 18:9-10; Acts 26:17
- Daniel when he was in the Lion’s den, an angel of God came down to shut the mouth of the Lions – Daniel 6:22
The Shepherd’s rod and staff were common tools for tending the flock. At the same time, they were weapons of defense from grave threats post by vicious wolves out to eat the sheep.
As Christians, we can see how God protected His prophets and apostles in their ministry. They put their trust in the Lord that they would always be kept safe from harm and danger. They prayed and they never lost their hope and faith to Him.
God is always here for our loved ones. Take the case of Daniel. We can see how God saved Daniel’s friends when they were sent to be burned (Daniel 3:19-30). In verse 25, we can see how Jesus Christ protected them.
God is always here to protect us from temptations and dangers coming from forces that are beyond our control. God knows that on our own, we cannot successfully defend ourselves from the challenges that we meet. But He also sets us towards his church where we can meet the comfort and protection that we need.
- III. Hope
“Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me and all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” – Verse 6 –
Verse 6 talks about hope. Hope means:
- A feeling that what one desires will happen;
- A cause of hope; a person or thing that gives hope to others.
- It is the assurance of things we hold on as Christians. It is our faith that will lead us to eternal life, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Our Hope is in God (1 Peter 1:21), in Christ (1 Tim. 1:1), and in God’s promise and that is Eternal Life (Titus 1:2; Tit. 3:5; John 3:16).
We can obtain hope through: God’s Grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16), God’s word (Ps. 119:81), Patience and comfort of the scriptures (Rom. 15:4), the gospel (Col. 1:5 and verse 23), and through faith (Gal. 5:5).
As Christians we were taught from the beginning about Christ through God’s words (Rom. 10:17). Realizing what God had done to save us; we responded to His invitation by believing and submitting ourselves to Him. We confessed Him before men as a proclamation of submission and we were baptized into His death, burial and resurrection for the remission of sins in His name by means of water immersion. The Lord guaranteed that if we will remain faithful until death, we will receive the Crown of Life or Eternal Life with Him.
How wonderful will it be to see Him face-to-face in the fullness of His glory. We will be able to talk to Him. We will inherit mansions of gold, lands and riches, and other gifts He will give us.
The Lord is indeed our shepherd. He is always there to provide comfort, protection and hope of eternal life. He never left us alone. He is just a prayer away from you.
As words of encouragement, we must hold on to God. Let us be faithful to Him as He Himself is faithful to us. Let us remember, that in our daily lives, we have a Shepherd who is always there for us.
I would like to share a short situation to you:
In game 7 of the NBA Finals, fourth quarter, Boston Celtics lead with only 4 minutes left in the ball game. The championship is on the line. The teams were very nervous. The whole season was on the line and the pressure was strong on Kobe and the rest Lakers.
Surprisingly, after 2 minutes the Los Angeles Lakers were leading in the score sheet. They protected there lead by their strong defensive play. They comforted and encouraged each other to boost their morale that enabled them to create big plays. By the last 20 seconds of the game, they were leading with 4 points until the buzzer sounded. The result, the 2010 NBA Championship trophy was given to them.
A coach once said, “Never Give In, Never Give Up. Have faith that you will win and you will never lose.”
I leave these questions to you:
Do you feel comforted by God? Do you feel protected by God? Are you encouraged to continue your faith and not lose hope? If yes is the answer to all of these, then God is shepherding you. If not, then, think again, what is it that you are not doing why you do not feel God as your loving Shepherd.