We’re going to be talking about the comfort God gives us. From before the beginning of creation God was there to comfort us. God came down to earth in the form of the man, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was sent down to be our shepherd and to watch over us; to bring us safety, peace and comfort.
10 If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have spoken these things to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you .
When I was preparing this message, I thought of my father and how much a comfort he was to me growing up. I was a shy little guy. I was afraid of a lot of things. But I always knew my dad was there to take care of things and everything would be alright.
That’s what dads are supposed to do. Dads are supposed to comfort and protect us. Just like our Heavenly Father will comfort and protect us.
I know some of us didn’t have dads who could comfort us or who could protect us.
But our Father in Heaven has always been there for us. We just need to look to Him and He will be our comforter and our provider and our protector.
When I was little (don’t know how old) but I was riding one of those peddle cars. It tipped over and I gashed my knee. It was about a 4” gash. Blood was all over. I still have the scar. Needless to say, I was terrified. Then my dad came over and picked me up in his arms and held me, then I knew everything would be OK…He was there to comfort me.
Several years later I was talking about this with a neighbor who witnessed it. See Dad was a male nurse in the Army in WWII so he had seen all kinds of stuff. But according to my neighbor Dad turned pale at the sight of my blood and almost passed out. But he had enough courage and strength to pick me up and comfort me. When I asked Dad about that he gave me this shy grin he always had and said yes son it was true.
He said it is different when it’s you own son’s blood on the ground…
You can only imagine what our Heavenly Father must have felt at the sight of His Son’s blood on the ground.
Dad also knew he had to get me some help, so the neighbor and Dad took me to the doctor to get stitched up. My father loved me so much he ignored his own feelings to see that I was comforted and was taken care of.
The comfort of the Lord is the same way…. He picks you up in His arms and holds you and says everything is OK…
That is what this message is all about…Love and Comfort….
A Sunday School teacher who asked her group of children if anyone could quote the entire 23rd Psalm. A four-and-a-half-year-old girl was among those who raised their hands.A bit skeptical, the teacher asked if she could really quote the entire psalm.
The little girl came to the front of the room, faced the class, made a perky little bow, and said, “The Lord is my shepherd, that’s all I want.” She bowed again and went and sat down….
That may well be the greatest interpretation of the 23rd Psalm ever heard.
***Now we can hear all of the 23rd Psalm to show how God loves us and wants to comfort us:
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Jesus is the “Great Shepherd” …He is our shepherd…
A shepherd looks out for his sheep makes sure they want for nothing. What do I need? Well I need safety. I’m a sheep, so my shepherd sees to it I won’t want for protection.
Also “I shall not want” looks into the future, and gives assurance to the Child of God that you will always be safe in His arms.
A shepherd takes care of his sheep. We are His sheep. We are His flock. Not dumb and frightened animals, but obedient followers wise enough to follow the one who will lead us in the right places and in the right ways.
God wants us all of us to be part of His flock. He wants to comfort us and to protect us from the evil of the world and from sickness and death. He wants us to be with Him in Heaven for all eternity.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Green pastures, Still Waters…. Isn’t that a wonderful picture? If we are weary and have a big burden, God will take us to these wonderful places.
If only in your mind…they can comfort you and make you feel better…Just pray to the Lord and He will lead you there.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
If you have sinned or done something you know is wrong, you have strayed away from the flock. But the Lord will bring you back to Him, back to His flock. He will restore your soul, if you ask Him to. When you are back, God will put you on the right path, as long as you follow Him.
Jesus said: John 10:27-30
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life. They shall never perish, nor shall anyone snatch them from My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them from My Father’s hand. 30 My Father and I are one.”
Just as a shepherd protects his sheep, Jesus protects his people from eternal harm.
Note also Jesus said no one can take you out of His hand and even better is that no one can take you out of His Father’s hand…. WOW! That means once you are saved by the Grace of God you cannot lose your salvation!
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Death casts a frightening shadow over us because we are entirely helpless in its presence. We can struggle with our other enemies; pain, suffering, disease, injury; much like some of us are doing here at Spanish Hills; but strength and courage cannot overcome death. It has the final word. Only one person can walk us through and bring us safely to the other side…the God of life, our shepherd, Jesus Christ. Because life is uncertain, we should follow our shepherd who offers us eternal comfort.
However, This is not talking about the deathbed.
When a person is born, he starts down a great canyon of life, and that canyon is the valley of the shadow of death. You are constantly in it.
But all the while you walk thru that valley fear no evil. Because the Lord is with you!
“Thy rod and thy staff” …these are the tools used by a shepherd….and we, as His flock follow him knowing we will be comforted and protected.
Jesus says: John 10:11
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep…
The good shepherd. The faithful and true shepherd, willing to do all that is necessary to defend and save the flock.
Giveth his life. A shepherd that loves his flock would give his own life to defend them. When the wolf comes, he would still remain to protect them. What better comfort can we have than to know that Jesus is our shepherd and we will get comfort and protection from Him if only we follow Him.
Jesus also said (John 14:1)
1 Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in Me.
It is our Savior who says; Let not your heart be troubled. All comforts come from God.
My dad those many years ago was like a good shepherd. He saw the danger and he was there to protect me and to comfort me. My dad loved me and I loved him. Just as Jesus loves you so you should love Him.
Just as my earthly father was there for me, to comfort me, to protect me and to provide for me, so our Heavenly Father is there for us to be loved, comforted, and protected.
I find great comfort knowing my dad loved me and cared for me so much that he ignored his own feelings to care for me. Just as I have great comfort knowing Jesus loves me and will protect me no matter what.
People all over the world are looking for comfort!
Are you looking for comfort right now?
Do you long for peace in your heart?
Jesus alone can bring that comfort. Jesus is the Son of God and only thru Him can we find peace in our hearts. God wants us to have a peaceful heart and a comforted soul. He wants to be there for us to comfort us and to protect us.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
This verse reflects the happiness and hope of the Shepherd’s heart. Here we have happiness and contentment and fullness with joy in our lives knowing our shepherd is with us and protecting us from the evil of the world.
“Thou anointest my head with oil.” That oil speaks of the Holy Spirit. We need that anointing today. We cannot face life alone.
“my cup runneth over,” This is symbolic for joy. We need to have joy in our lives all the time!
The Lord wants our joy to be full and lasting.
In Middle Eastern culture, hosts were expected to protect their guests at all costs. Here God is treating His sheep as guests and offers the protection of a host even when enemies surround us.
This brings us to the final verse of this psalm. Our shepherd brings us all the way from the green pastures and still waters to our Father’s house.
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.”
Here in the final scene of this psalm, we see that believers will dwell with God. Jesus, the perfect shepherd and host, promises to guide and protect us throughout our life and bring us into His home forever.
A quote form J. Vernon McGee: “You know, we are not pedigree sheep, and sheep are not worth much anyway, but we do have a wonderful Shepherd. Can you say at this moment, “The Lord is my shepherd”? If you can, all the wonderful promises of this psalm are yours. If He is the Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep and He is your savior, this psalm if for you.”
13 Then one of the elders asked me, “Who are these clothed in white robes, and where did they come from?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” He said to me, “These are those who came out of great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore, they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.16 ‘They shall neither hunger any more, nor shall they thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them,’ nor any scorching heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and ‘He will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”
I pray that all that have read this are in our Lord’s caring arms and receiving the protection and comfort He has promised us…In Jesus Name Amen.