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                         "THE BOOK OF PSALMS"

                     Psalm 23 - The Shepherd Psalm

OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS PSALM

1) To remind ourselves of the wonderful provision, protection, and
   preservation the Lord furnishes His people

2) To note how this psalm foreshadows the blessings provided by "The
   Good Shepherd", Jesus Christ

SUMMARY

This much-beloved psalm of David makes use of the Shepherd motif to
describe the deep faith and hope available to the child of God, made
possible the watchful care of the Lord.  It also mixes other metaphors,
especially that of a gracious Host.

As outlined below, David begins by illustrating the provision of the
Lord, both physical and spiritual (1-3).  David then describes the
protection of the Lord, as he travels through dangerous places and in
the presence of enemies (4-5).  The psalm ends with an expression of
faith and hope in the Lord's preservation, that God will furnish the
goodness and mercy needed throughout life, so that he made abide in the
house of the Lord forever (6).

The Christian sees in this psalm a wonderful foreshadowing of "The Good
Shepherd", Jesus Christ, who gave His life for His sheep and even now
watches over them  (cf. Jn 10:11-15; He 13:20; 1Pe 2:21-25; 5:4).

A good follow-up to this psalm is Psalm 100, which expresses the praise
we should render to God as His people and the sheep of His pasture.

OUTLINE

I. THE SHEPHERD'S PROVISION (23:1-3)

   A. NO LACK OF PHYSICAL NECESSITIES (1-2)
      1. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (cf. Lk 12:22-32)
      2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures
      3. He leads me beside the still waters (cf. Re 7:17)

   B. NO LACK OF SPIRITUAL NECESSITIES (3)
      1. He restores my soul (cf. Re 3:19)
      2. He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name's sake
         (cf. 1Co 10:13)

II. THE SHEPHERD'S PROTECTION (23:4-5)

   A. THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH (4)
      1. I will fear no evil, for He is with me (cf. He 13:5-6)
      2. His rod and staff comfort me (cf. He 12:5-11)

   B. IN THE PRESENCE OF ENEMIES (5)
      1. He prepares a table before me in their presence (cf. Jn 16:33)
      2. He anoints my head with oil, my cup runs over (cf. Ep 3:20)

III. THE SHEPHERD'S PRESERVATION (23:6)

   A. ALL THE DAYS OF ONE'S LIFE (6a)
      1. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
      2. All the days of my life (cf. 2Ti 4:18)

   B. FOREVER (6b)
      1. I will dwell in the house of the Lord
      2. Forever (cf. Jn 14:1-3)

REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE PSALM

1) What are the main points of this psalm?
   - The Shepherd's provision (1-3)
   - The Shepherd's protection (4-5)
   - The Shepherd's preservation (6)

2) Who is the author of the psalm?
   - David

3) What is the main figure used in this psalm?  The main idea? (1)
   - The Lord is my shepherd
   - I shall not want (lack anything)

4) How does David illustrate the physical necessities provided by the
   Lord? (2)
   - The Lord makes him to lie down in green pastures
   - The Lord leads him besides the still waters

5) How does David describe the spiritual necessities provided by the
   Lord? (3)
   - The Lord restores his soul
   - The Lord leads him in the paths of righteousness for His name's
     sake

6) What protection or comfort does the Lord provide when one walks
   through the valley of the shadow of death? (4)
   - The comfort of His presence
   - His comfort of His rod and staff

7) What provisions does the Lord furnish in the presence of one's
   enemies? (5)
   - He prepares a table
   - He anoints one's head with oil
   - He provides a cup which runs over

8) What does the Lord provide to ensure that He will preserve us in
   this life? (6)
   - Goodness and mercy all the days of our life

9) What wonderful hope do we have for eternity? (6)
   - To dwell in the house of the Lord forever
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