Warning Signs | Don't Fail to Enter Christ's Rest, Day 4
As the Great Shepherd, God is our provider.
Verse of the Day
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 ESV
What is a major need in your life right now? How do you think this need can be met?
On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to ask for help when you need it? Do you readily admit when you need another’s wisdom, support, encouragement, or resources? Explain.
In Psalm 23, David used the metaphor of the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep to vividly describe the relationship between God and His people. David himself was a shepherd (1 Samuel 16:11) and was intimately familiar with the constant provision, guidance, and protection required of a faithful shepherd. In the ancient world, the shepherd stood by his sheep 24/7, attending to their every need. Jesus also described Himself as the “Good Shepherd,” who willingly laid down his life for his sheep (cf. John 10:11). In our study today, we will focus specifically on how God, as the Great Shepherd, abundantly provides for His sheep.
Read Psalm 23:1
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
In this psalm, David centered himself on the reality that the Lord is his shepherd. When you think of God as your shepherd, what aspect(s) of God’s character or actions does this imagery highlight?
Want can also be translated as “lack”. Other translations also interpret this phrase as “I shall not be in want” and “I lack no good thing”.
What are some of the needs that a shepherd meets for his sheep?
Sheep are helpless on their own. Every need has to be known by the shepherd in order for him to adequately provide for the sheep.
Read Psalm 23:2 and Matthew 6:25-34
He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. Psalm 23:2 (NLT)
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:25-34 (NLT)
What does David say that the Lord “lets” him do in Psalm 23:2? What sort of emotions does this imagery bring?
Sheep lying in green pastures by spring waters is an image of springtime in Israel. The grass is more abundant and sheep can drink from calm wells and springs without being rushed or pushed by a current.
David describes himself in a state of rest because of the Lord’s provision for his needs.
This is a foreshadowing picture of how Jesus provides for us: Philippians 4:19 says “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
“Lets me lie down” is a Hebrew form showing that God is the cause of the refreshment.
What other places in the Bible have you seen the Lord described as a shepherd? How do these passages help you form a better picture of the Lord as our shepherd?
See also Psalm 74:1, Psalm 80:1, Isa 40:11, and Ezek 34:11-16.
What does it feel like when all your needs have been met? When you are full with good food and drink? When you are satisfied?
Phillip Keller, a modern-day shepherd, observes in his book “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” that sheep will only lie down if four requirements are met: 1) They are free from fear; 2) they are free from friction with other sheep in the flock; 3) they are free from flies; and 4) they are free from hunger.
The shepherd supplies every need emotionally, socially, medically, and physically so that they can lie down and rest freely.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8 (NKJV)
In Matthew 6:25-34, what response to life’s needs did Jesus teach against? Do you ever feel the temptation to respond to life’s challenges this way?
Instead, how can the follower of Jesus respond to the needs of this life?
How does knowing that God is your Great Shepherd help you to rest in His provision? What does it look like in everyday life? Give specific examples.
Martin Luther once said: “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”
How does the Bible describe the ways God provides for us in our lives?
Think back to the needs of the sheep. How does God provide our emotional, social, medical, and physical needs?
How have you seen God as your Great Shepherd provide for your needs in the past?
What is a need in your life right now that you long for God to meet?
How does the reality of God’s faithful provision for you free you to live life without anxiety?
Praise God for His faithful provision in your life. Thank God for the ways He has provided for your needs already, and don’t shy away from asking for the needs that may still be unmet in your life. Thank Him for His constant shepherding presence in your life.