Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Lord is my Shepherd {Psalm 23}

What I love the most from teaching is because it forced me to learn, know, and understand the lesson before I present it. Last Sunday was my turn to teach Psalm 23 to the Middle Schoolers and I was the one who learned and blessed the most from it. 

Note: the lesson is taken from Beatitudes Study published by Positive Action for Christ
The part that I underline is where I have the students to fill in the blank.

What The Shepherd Provides For The Sheep {Psalm 23}

The Lord is my shepherd
Shepherds in Israel are quite young. Boys and girls as young as 12 years old can have charge of an entire flocks. Over the time, the shepherd's voice becomes familiar to her sheep. While several flocks stay together for a night, the sheep always recognize their shepherd voice in the morning. {Just like Jesus said in John 10:4-5} They will not follow any other voice. As God's sheep, have we spent enough time with him to recognize his voice? If we truly his sheep, then we will follow him alone, ignoring other voices that may lead us astray.


I shall not want
He makes me to lie down in green pastures
What is green pastures looks like:

He leads me beside the still water 
He restores my soul
Occasionally, a sheep would be turned over on its back that it could not get up again unassisted.  We may find ourselves in the similar position with those sheep; and the only way we can get back on our feet is when our Lord, the Good Shepherd restores us.

Sometimes a particular sheep would get in the habit of straying from the herd. Every time it was time to move on, everyone had to wait for Fluffy. The first few times this happened the shepherd would find Fluffy and bring him back to the flock. But what if Fluffy didn't get the message and continued to stray? Eventually the shepherd would take on of the sheep's slender front legs in his hands and strike it a sudden blow with his shepherd's crook in order to break it. Then, he would split and bind up the leg. Thereafter the wounded sheep had to stay close to the shepherd because the shepherd carried him over rough spots and mountain streams. The necessarily reliance on the shepherd restored the sheep. 

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake
How do we know God's will and his paths of righteousness? through reading the Bible.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
The rod and the staff are two different tools utilized by the shepherd.  The staff is a long, slender stick with a hook use to draw sheep close for examination, to quiet sheep or to rescue one who was treading dangerously. The rod is his weapon of power, authority and defense. He used it to guard against any predators that would harm his flock as well as to discipline wayward sheep within the flock. Both the rod and the staff provide comfort for the flock. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; 
The "table" here is literally "tableland." Sheep cannot find pasture on their own; it must be found and provided by the shepherd but the food is in the midst of enemies. Sheep are in constant danger of predators since the sheep is a defenseless animal, it is the responsibility of the shepherd to care for his safety. 

You anoint my head with oilMy cup runs over.
Summertime is fly time in the dessert. These flies hover about a sheep's nose in clusters, attempting to deposit their eggs on the damp mucous membranes of the sheep's nose. If they are successful, the eggs hatch into worm like larvae in a few days and then work their way up into the nasal passages of the sheep's head. There they cause intense irritation. what kind of defense does the shepherd have against the nose fly? Oil. The shepherd will apply oil several times during summer to insure continuous protection. 

How does this apply to us? 
Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in Scripture. We as Christians are not called to live our Christian lives in our own power. We have the Holy Spirit living within us, always ready to give us the power we need to do what is right.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and 
As the sheep of His pasture, we should be assured that no matter what happens in our lives, goodness and mercy are following us. Despite the trials or difficult circumstances we may face, the Shepherd will never leave or forsake us.  

 will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Keep in mind that this world is not our home. We are a pilgrim on this earth. Thus we are to be looking forward to that day when we will go to our permanent home and dwell in the house or the presence of the Lord forever.

At the end we all including me, memorize the whole passage together. I memorized the passage in Indonesian before because of this song but last Sunday was my first time memorized the English version. Thanks to Abby for the motivation:   

Give it a try! If Abby can do it so can we. :)

Psalm 23 {New King James Version}
  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want
  2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
  3. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake
  4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
  5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
  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.

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