"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Saturday, January 27, 2024


INTRODUCTION – We’ve completed the Trilogy of ROMANS 6,7, and 8 that was beautifully expressed and exposited by the apostle Paul in dealing with the justification, sanctification and glorification of the saints.

Now we continue in this series by examining yet another trilogy of triumph:

PSALMS 22, 23 and 24!

Since I already did a rather in-depth study on PSALM 22 I’ve included the link below. Once you’ve had a chance to read that, you can proceed to the study at hand.

Here in these three Psalms we have the Sacrificed LAMB (PSA 22), the Serving SHEPHERD (PSA 23) and the Sovereign LORD (PSA 24).

His sacrifice is past tense: already completed and finalized at The ALTAR of the ALMIGHTY. For this treatment our readers are encouraged to follow the preceding link to examine what transpired and why it was necessary.

Moving along from the First article of this Trilogy, we come to the Second article:

In present tense, our Shepherd serves us, the sheep of His flock. He Who became one of us (JOHN 1:1-3,14) is now exalted to the position of serving us still, but as the Shepherd as well as the High Priest Who ever lives to make intercession for us (HEB 7:25). In PSALM 22, He served us as the propitiatory sacrifice to pay the penalty for all the sins of the human race. He continues this service now in PSALM 23, ever since He resurrected and ascended to the Father, and to this very day; He feeds His flock in the Holy Revelation of His Word, He leads His flock by the Spirit, He heeds His flock through our prayers.

Then in PSALM 24 we have in the future tense our precious JESUS in the role of the Sovereign LORD and Messiah King coming to visibly rule over all the world from the global capital of Jerusalem, during the reestablished “kingdom of Israel” (aka the Davidic kingdom, aka the Millennial Reign of Christ).

We’ll examine PSALM 23 now, and next time, finish off this trilogy in PSALM 24 before we proceed to a duo of trilogies found in JOHN 12, 13,14, and then JOHN 15,16, 17.

PSALM 23: Three Psalms, Three Tenses

PSALM 23:1
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want

The LORD identifies Himself no less than eight times as a shepherd in the Old Testament (PSA 23:1; 80:1; ISA 40:11; 63:11; JER 31:10; EZEK 34:8,12; ZECH 13:7). The qualities of a shepherd are equitable to those of a good leader. The kings and priests, the leadership of Israel were often referred to as (faithless) shepherds (JER 23:1-2; EZEK 34:1-5).

One shepherd was a “man after GOD’s own heart” (ACTS 13:22). David, the son of Jesse is a type of Christ. And GOD took him from the sheep fold and made him a shepherd over Israel. Jesus Christ lived a humble life and endured an even more humble death, even the death of the Cross (PHIL 2:8)!

From OUTREACH Canada, we have an article by John B. MacDonald that addresses “Eight Qualities of Shepherd-Leaders”.

1. Boundaries – just as a good shepherd will set up boundaries for his sheep, training them (as much as is possible) to know that beyond those borders is forbidden territory. Likewise pastors through the teaching of GOD’s Word, teaches his congregation the safe and true doctrine, warning them against the dangerous and divisive doctrine.

2. Lead by Example – just as good shepherd will stay up front to lead his sheep, so too a pastor will lead by example, modeling the godly life of a Christian, not merely explaining what one looks like. Remember that the LORD is our primary and perfect example.

3. Trustworthy – just as a good shepherd proves himself loyal to his flock, always caring for them, protecting them, seeing to their sicknesses and injuries, a pastor needs to prove himself – daily even, to his flock if he is to be worthy of their trust, as he truthfully preaches and teaches the Truth of GOD’s Word!

4. Provision – a good shepherd not only faithfully provides for his sheep, but he will know under any given circumstances what provisions they need. Likewise a pastor will be confronted with a plethora of needs of all various varieties and by GOD’s wisdom will know what provisions the saints will need.

5. Sacrificial – a good shepherd must devote himself to his flock, always seeing to their needs before his own, and so too a pastor who considers himself “least and last” and esteems everyone in his congregation above himself. They are the priority, not himself.

6. Invested – a good shepherd spends his time, his efforts, his finances to the caring of his sheep, and so a pastor invests in his fellowship, seeking out each member prayerfully and endeavors to help them be productive in the kingdom of GOD, and employ them according to GOD’s gifts He grants to them.

7. Relational – a good shepherd knows his sheep, knows them by name, knows their habits, their temperament, their routines; so too a pastor as their relationship develops with the members of the flock can relate to each and every individual, just as our LORD relates with us.

8. Visionary – a good shepherd always looks ahead, considering the course and where to find the best pastures, where wolves, lions and bears are located and the paths to tread that will avoid them. Likewise a pastor must observe the course in which his congregation is traversing, avoiding the spiritual dangers of devilish doctrines, being mindful of the Great Shepherd and His leading.

The LORD is my shepherd”. As Christians we truly have no cause to worry (though in our human weakness, we often succumb to them) only because the One that looks after us possesses all knowledge, wisdom, and power. He loves us so much that He freely laid down His life for us. Where is the reason for any mistrust in this One? What justification for worry?

It's because the LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want – that is, I shall never suffer need. Here’s the thing though: what I think I need and what GOD knows I need are sometimes very different things.

Even if my refrigerator is empty and I have nothing to buy food with, the LORD knows how long I can go without food. Perhaps this is a time for prayer and fasting? A time to trust GOD for our “necessary bread”?

Even if I have a serious medical need, but have no insurance – can we trust GOD our Great Physician when we haven’t a dollar to visit an earthly doctor? What malady can we suffer that our GOD can’t cure, but a human doctor can?

Declaring the “LORD [as our] Shepherd” ought to bring a confidence and a comfort to us just as we declare: “Our Father Who art in heaven…”.

PSALM 23:2-3
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake

Four things that the LORD provides for us:
Green pastures: the sustenance that we require spiritually speaking is in abundance, with no lack whatsoever. These are not merely pastures, but verdant, healthy, prosperous, green pastures that will edify and build us up. We find this in the Word of GOD, which spiritually speaking is not a sack lunch, but a full seven course banqueting table!

Still waters: sheep will not drink from fast moving waters; the water must be clean and calm. The water of GOD’s Word is an everlasting spring that will never go dry. It can more than quench the deepest thirst, bringing invigoration and restoration of life, strength and vitality.

Restoration of soul: by these means already mentioned and more besides: the breath of His Spirit brings about such an air as to clear out the dust and cobwebs of our souls, the dank mustiness of this world, and just as with His mercy, these are new every morning. By His Spirit He ministers to our soul that’s been marred by sin and restores them more and more until His image is seen more clearly in us His children.

He leads us in righteousness: He doesn’t lead us in paths of our own righteousness (we haven’t any of any value!). He leads us in His paths of righteousness, the righteousness of Christ. Even once we are in those paths, He leads us still, to progress and advance in our growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ! Why does He?
For His Name’s sake: As we are transformed into the likeness of Christ, our Father is glorified, Satan and all the kingdom of darkness is demoralized, saints and angels rejoice and sinners are either grateful or grieved. Think of all the saints who were redeemed sinners throughout all of the thousands of years since the time of Christ. All of them, being led in righteousness of Jesus Christ, are for His Name’s sake, for His glory!
PSALM 23:4
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me

The saying goes: “If GOD brings you to it, GOD will bring you through it!” Such is the way of the saint through all of the trials and tribulations of life. The LORD never asks us to travel a road He hasn’t already gone ahead and prepared for us, and even if we can’t see or sense Him, He always travels them with us.

Then there is “the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns…”. The final journey all mortals are destined to take. Death which none, save One, has returned from. Lazarus’ return was brief, as were all of the others that our LORD raised from the dead. He is the One Who has come back and dies no more, who bears the keys themselves of both hell and death (REV 1:18).

And as He, the Author of Life is their keeper, we saints have nothing whatsoever to fear from death. While we partake of the abundance of life here and now through the Person of Christ, we have no trepidation or dread of that day that is marked and kept by GOD alone. While none of us are promised tomorrow here, the eternal tomorrow is established, secured and reserved for the saint of GOD who sees death not at all of an end (except for the end of misery in its various shades in this fallen world!) but as the means of transport from here to heaven – and straight into the arms of our LORD and Savior!

This valley is not only for the near deceased alone to traverse; there are those beloved souls both kin and friends who walk the way with the mortally stricken. They know something of those shadows as well, and in the anticipation of their parting of their beloved, there is the sting of sorrow, the dread of this departure. Yet the LORD is with us, ministering to one and all, and bringing heavenly peace and patience to endure this time when the body fails, the vision dims, and the last beat of the heart and breath of lungs occurs.

Once we pass beyond death’s door, we step into the glories of eternity, and all of the former sorrows, sicknesses and struggles, along with our sin nature – they all become things of the past, never to return!!

The “rod and staff” – representative of the authority and guidance of GOD are a comfort to us because we have His Word to tell us His saints what our destination is!

PSALM 23:5
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over

Have you ever shared a meal with someone while there was a proverbial elephant in the room? Something that stood between you both that was causing tension and angst? The meal was probably not very appetizing, right?
David the Psalmist had to live in dread of hot pursuit by his enemies who wouldn’t rest until his blood stained the ground.

Yet GOD gave him such confident boldness, that he knew peace in the midst of his enemies, so that he could peaceably sit at table and enjoy a meal (without indigestion!).

THAT is confidence! THAT is faith! THAT is recognizing the sovereign GOD Who cares for His own and surrounds them in such safety that they had no cause for worry.

I recall the words of General Stonewall Jackson who was questioned by a newspaper reporter on how he could lead his men as a high ranking officer into the most heated of battle. He would be a prime target that the enemy would be eager to execute!

His answer: “Good sir, I am as safe on the battlefield, by the grace of GOD, as I am sleeping in my bed at night!

THAT is an implicit trust in the sovereignty of GOD! A stalwart, fluent faith that embraces GOD as the High Tower and Strong Refuge that He is (2 SAM 22:3; PSA 71:7)!

“You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over” There isn’t a saint born of the Spirit of GOD that is without purpose. GOD has assigned to each of us a mission; at least one, if not multiple missions! And His anointing – His empowering Spirit is there to provide power and ability for each of them!

His provisions are not at all stringent, or sparse; our cup overflows with them.
If we remain in the presence of the LORD, meditating on His Word, keeping our hearts in an attitude of prayer, His Spirit does such a work in us, that the overflow from our cups ministers to those all around us, while we ourselves remain filled with the Spirit.

This is why we must always guard preciously, our devotional time with the LORD. All the powers of hell and this fallen world will do all they can to deter, to distract, to detour the time you have reserved for devotion to the LORD to attend to lesser things of such meanness, that it would be an abhorrent shame to compare their worth with that of our Holy King!
Our effectiveness in the work of the Kingdom, and in reaching lost souls with the Gospel is directly proportionate with time well spent with the LORD Jesus!

May we always remember, we are but vessels of clay, and the LORD Himself is the treasure we bear to declare to this fallen, dark world (2 COR 4:7)!

PSALM 23:6
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever

The Hebrew word for “follow” means to chase, to overtake, to overcome! That is GOD’s goodness and mercy for you, child of the Most High! They won’t pursue you for a day or a year, no! But for all the days of your life!

And this Good Shepherd Who brought us into the kingdom will be faithful to bring us to the House of the LORD, our Father’s house where there are many mansions (JOHN 14:1-2), each one reserved for every saint that’s been born into the kingdom!

For more about the domain of heaven, check out the late, great Lambert Dolphin’s message: SOME NOTES ABOUTHEAVEN.


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