“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (v. 1). That must be one of the most familiar quotations from the Old Testament. Everybody has some kind of shepherd. Who is your shepherd? Jeremiah said, “It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23). You and I are like lost sheep, and we are not able to guide our own lives. We need a shepherd. So who is your shepherd today? The psalmist said, “The Lord is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1).
When the Lord is your shepherd, what will happen in your life? First, you will ive a day at a time. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (v. 6). Psalm 23 is talking about all the days of our lives, and they are lived a day at a time when the Lord is our shepherd. Someone has well said that the average person is being crucified between two thieves–the regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow. Consequently, they can’t enjoy today.
Second, when the Lord is your shepherd, you listen for His voice. In John 10:27 the Lord Jesus made it very clear: “My sheep hear My voice.” The shepherd does not drive his sheep from behind. He calls them from ahead. How do we listen to the Lord’s voice? Through the Word of God.
Third, when the Lord is your shepherd, you must expect changes. You will have green pastures and still waters. Then you go through the valley of the shadow of death. You have a table in the presence of your enemies. Then you lie in the house of the Lord (heaven) forever. You will experience changes in life. Expect them; don’t be afraid of them. Why? When you are following the Shepherd, the future is your friend, because the Lord is going before you. When the Shepherd puts forth His sheep, He goes before them (John 10:4), so you don’t have to be afraid. Let’s live a day at a time, following the Sheherd, and then the future will be our friend.
No Bragging Rights
It can make a real difference in your life today if you’ll just remember Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” Because the earth is the Lord’s, you can turn it over to Him. Because the fullness of the earth belongs to Him, you don’t have to worry. What kind of difference will it make?
First, it will remind us that we are stewards and not owners. No matter what you have, you are just a steward of it. You don’t own it. God owns everything. He doesn’t just own the cattle on a thousand hills; He owns the Cadillacs in a thousand garages! God owns what you possess, and if He doesn’t want you to have it, you’d better get rid of it. When you realize that the earth and all its fullness belongs to the Lord, it turns you into a steward, not an owner. And that brings humility, not pride. You can’t brag about what you have if God gave it to you. John the Baptist said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven” (John 3:27).
Second, it makes you a victor and not a victim. The world doesn’t belong to the Devil. The Lord has given Satan a certain amount of authority and freedom, but the earth is the Lord’s, not the Devil’s. Jesus, not Satan, is on the throne of heaven. When you realize this, it makes you a victor and not a victim.
Third, it causes you to praise and not to complain. I like the repetition at the end of this psalm: “Lift up your heads, O you gates! Be lifted up, you everlasting doors!” (Ps. 24:7). “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And lift them up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in” (v. 9). Nothing will lift up your head like realizing that God is in control. He’s the King, the King of glory. Wherever He rules, there will be grace and glory. If you want that kind of blessing, just remember that the earth and all its fullness is the Lord’s. It doesn’t belong to you. it belongs to Him, and He is in control.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).