July 4th Psalm 23
A Psalm of David
The Shepherds Psalm
1: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2: He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3: He restoreth my soul: he leadeth 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 thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5: Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth 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 for ever.
A Psalm of David
The King of Glory
1: The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. 2: For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. 3: Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? 4: He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. 5: He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6: This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. 7: Lift up your head, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8: Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9: Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 10: Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
In Psalm 23 we have one of the most famous Psalms in the Bible. In Israel God is always pictured as the shepherd of his people, (Isaiah said, All we like sheep have gone astray etc) and the Kings of Israel were Gods ‘under-shepherds’ who had the responsibility to protect, provide for and lead the people. Its interesting too that God often chose his kings and leaders from among the shepherds. In this Psalm David the king says the LORD is my shepherd. He is the one who provides, cares and leads me. And what a great image David gives. David brings before us three valleys, The valley of provision, the valley of his presence and the valley of his pavilion. In the first valley David discovers that The LORD – the shepherd provides an abundance for him. He provides food in abundance, water that is safe, he restores me when l wander and he leads me in right paths and he does it for his own glory. David is confident to say of the first valley ‘I shall not want’. Then David says that even if he were to lead me down into a dark valley in which l am stalked by the wolf of death and even if the wolfs shadow were to lie across my path, yet even there, l will not be afraid of anything that can come upon me because l can feel his rod correcting me and his staff guiding me and then l know that my shepherd is very near by, even if l cannot see him. Both of these things are like a wall around me. In the third valley David is confronted by his enemies and the LORD prepares a table for him right in their presence. In sight of his sworn enemies the LORD anoints him with oil (A symbol of the Spiritual life brought about by walking in the Spirit.) His enemies would deny him of his crown but the Lord fills him with the joy of the LORD, right there. Finally David looks forward with confidence saying there are two things that will be my constant companions through life, The LORD’s goodness when l do right and his mercy when l do wrong. And from here to eternity – he will live in the conscious enjoyment of being in the presence of the LORD for ever. In Psalm 24 David composes a Psalm that looks far into the distant future. He sees a time when Christ shall reign supreme and when he will reign with him, on an eternal throne. Christ will have claimed his earthly heritage and all men will be won over to his kingdom. In that day the whole earth will be the LORD’s and everything and everyone in it. The Lord will found his kingdom and impose his kingdom on the nations of the world. It will be focused on Mt Zion. And the burning question of that day will be who will be qualified to ascend the Hill of the LORD? And who will be able to stand in his Holy Place? Who will be adequate to come and kneel at feet of Jesus of Nazareth? Then he answers his own question – He that has clean hands and a pure heart (We are back to the beatitudes of Matt 5 again) Those who do come will be men who live righteously according to the true meaning of the Law and they will be clear of any temptations of pointless rebellion to Christs rule and of false acknowledgment of Christ supremecy. These men and women will recieve the blessing of the LORD and righteousness from God who will save them. These will be the characteristics of of that generation – holiness, faithfulness, sincerity and righteousness. They will seek the face of Christ. Israel – think about how wonderful that will be. So don’t be gloomy – Gates of Jerusalem lift up your eyes because the the KING of GLORY is coming. David teases saying who is this KING of GLORY? Then he answers his own question – He is the LORD (Jehovah - Christ) strong and mighty, mighty in battle. So come on Gates! Open up and the KING of GLORY will come in. Think about how wonderful this is going to be.
- How many Valleys are there in Psalm 23 and what does David find in each valley?
- In Psa 23 what is Davids ultimate goal?
- What is the qualifications for those who aspire to ascend up Zion to see Christ in glory?