The other day I picked up my Thompson’s Chain Reference Bible and found myself in the Psalms. I ran across Psalm 23 and found notes that I had written in the margin from a sermon by Bill Flannagan at First Presbyterian Church in Rome, Georgia on 4 September 1994. Bill was the pastor at First Pres at that time—I think he was relatively new, as we became members in 1987 and Jim Van Dyke was pastor at that time. Bill was a shepherd of his flock and he cared for his people in ways that were above and beyond what was expected. He cared for me and my family and was truly a blessing.
Psalm 23 is one of those Psalms that we’re so familiar with that we tend to gloss over it. All would agree that the words of the Psalm are beautiful and comforting. We’re all drawn to the serenity and peacefulness of pastoral settings—Psalm 23 draws such a picture.
Some gleaming from notes I wrote in the margin back then:
…make me lie down in green pastures…One only has to plumb the surface of this Psalm to realize how deep it really can be. For instance: sheep do not lie down until they are nourished and satisfied—imagine being nourished and satisfied (fat and happy) and at rest.
He leads me beside quiet waters… He goes before us into all our unknown tomorrows. Reminiscent of Jesus quieting the waters or walking on the waters.
Click on the image for more.
I recently ran across this in the December Tabletalk magazine:
It is precisely because the Lord is our Shepherd that we shall not want. But if He is not your Shepherd, expect no contentment. True contentment is not circumstantial, it is relational…In essence, contentment is wanting what God wants for us, and what He wants for us is Him.
Christmas season is often the season of discontentment. Madison Avenue does a good job of creating want and discontentment in our lives this season. We have to struggle to remember why we have this season. I am trying to think of this: God came down to live among us, but to do more than live—He came to Shepherd His people. No matter your circumstance or mine, GOD CAME DOWN for you and me. That should be enough.