Text: Psalm 23:2,  “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”  “He maketh me…He leadeth me..” is A Testimony of Satisfaction.

This satisfaction came because David had an intimate relationship with Jehovah God. A sheep without a shepherd is in a very insecure position. Isaiah tells us, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;…” (Isa. 53:6).Human beings are very much like sheep. Psalm 100:3 lets us know that we are the sheep of his pasture. 

When we study sheep we find that they are dumb, defenseless and directionless. No Christian deliberately determines to get away from God, but how like sheep we are. Sheep are very disturbable and dependant.

The distance between the shepherd and the sheep determines the potential for danger. The greater distance, the greater danger.

What is the nature of the shepherd? Notice the characteristics of the shepherd which the Scriptures compare to a type of Christ.

  • A shepherd is compassionate – See Matthew 9:36.
  • A shepherd gives gentle care to his flock of sheep – See Isaiah 40:11.
  • A shepherd displays much courage – See John 10:11-13.

So we see that the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd in the Bible is a picture of the relationship between Christ (the shepherd) and the believer (the sheep).

The knowledge of the shepherd’s care for us gives us a deep sense of security and satisfaction. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: …”. Sheep graze from about 3:30 in the morning until about 10:00. They then lie down for three or four hours to rest. It is almost impossible to make sheep lie down while they are hungry. They will mill around and nibble on bits of grass until they have eaten sufficiently. Only when their stomachs are full will they find a quiet place and lie down.

Sheep lying down in green pastures is a picture of contentment and satisfaction.

“He leadeth me beside the still waters”. Sheep will not drink from swiftly running water for a good reason: they are poor swimmers. If their wool coat became soaked with water the weight will pull the sheep under water. Instinctively sheep know this, so they will not go near swiftly running water.

Sheep resting beside the still waters is a picture of peace and rest. The phrase “still waters” means waters of rest. This picture reminds us of Jesus who said, “Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Sheep need a time of serene quietness to ruminate – to chew their cud. When the sheep does this he is meditating on what he has eaten just as we meditate from the Word of God that we have eaten. We need to learn to cultivate the art of quietness. See Isaiah 30:15 and Psalm 46:10a.

Conclusion: Verse 2 of Psalm 23 is a testimony of the satisfaction that comes as a result of the “provision” and “peace” that comes from our sheep/shepherd relationship with God.

The reason for restoration is that there might be a return to righteousness.


Text: Psalm 23:3, “He restoreth my soul…He leadeth me” is A Testimony of Sovereignty.Sheep are not very smart. They have a predictable inclination to lose their way. They can be in a pasture with plenty of grass and adequate water and still wander aimlessly until they have nothing to eat or drink. Once lost they can’t find their way back. Many animals seem to have inborn compasses – not so with sheep. Once lost, the shepherd must go and find them.

Spiritually, people are like sheep. Isaiah the prophet wrote, “All we like sheep have gone astray..” (Isa. 53:6). I once saw a cartoon that pictured two sheep grazing in a pasture. One commented to the other, “All we like people have gone stray.” Sheep are like people. People are like sheep. Both are easily lost.

We have a profound tendency to desert what is good for us. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. So often we go away from God into sin. There are three wonderful truths in Psalm 23:3 that David testified to:

  • The Ministry of the Shepherd – “He restoreth my soul…”.
  • The Mastery of the Shepherd – “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness…”.
  • The Majesty of the Shepherd – “for His name sake”.

The Ministry of the Shepherd: “He restoreth my soul…”We are saved by grace, restored by grace and kept by grace. There are three kinds of sheep that need to be restored to fellowship with the shepherd. The first is the straying sheep who are restored by the rod. The rod us used as protection against the wild animals, but also used as a means to discipline the stubborn sheep (See Hebrews 12:11).

Discipline is more than punishment. It is preventive development. There is a danger in no discipline.

The rod served at least for two purposes. To keep us from danger and to help develop us.

The second is the staff which is sometimes call the shepherd’s crook. The hook was just the right size to fit around the neck of a large sheep, or around the body of a little lamb. The shepherd would use the staff to draw sheep to him, guide the sheep or lift a fallen sheep.

The third kind of sheep that need to be restored are the sick sheep. The sick sheep are restored by administering them with the oil. The shepherd would bring his sheep into the fold one at a time calling them by name. He thoroughly examined the sheep for thorns, bruises, scabs and raw places. To bring a healing the shepherd would pour a healing and soothing oil on the sheep. This “oil” speaks to us of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The Mastery of the Shepherd: “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness….”When He has restored us, He is not finished. He restores us that He might lead us and guide us into the right way once again. Sheep have poor eyesight. They cannot see more than fifteen yards ahead of them so they need to be led. The word “righteousness” is used here in a moral sense. The problem with so many of us is that we stop with restoration, we don’t want to go on to righteousness. If we are only restored, we will be right back in the same condition. The wayward sheep who is back where he should be will be in trouble again if he does not immediately begin to follow the shepherd closer than ever. It is important therefore that the sheep stay very close to the shepherd.

The reason for restoration is that there might be a return to righteousness.

With such poor eyesight the sheep must stay close so they can observe the shepherd and listen so they can be obedient. See John 10:27.

The Majesty of the Shepherd: “for His name sake”.
He leads us in paths of righteousness for our sake and for His name’s sake. The Good Shepherd’s name is judged by the behavior, condition and welfare of His sheep. God has connected His name and His glory with the walk and conduct of His people. Only if we walk in paths of righteousness can we uphold the reputation of the Good Shepherd.

Note: Respect – Restoration – Righteousness – Reputation

Conclusion: The Good Shepherd ministers to His sheep in such an excellent and majestic way that His sheep cannot help but give their love back to Him.  1John 4:19, “We love Him because He first loved us”.

Continue to Part 4-5

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