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Shepherd Study Podcast
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Shepherd Sermon

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 Psalms 23:1-5 “A Psalm of David. 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 restores 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. (4) Thou prepares the table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (5) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

When we read Psalms 23, most people will say that what is described in these 5 verses is the outcome, or the product of following Yeshua. That would mean that “laying down in green pastures” and being led to “still waters” is the summation of justification 1 and salvation 2 – which is believing in your heart, and speaking with your mouth, that: Jesus is the son of God, died for you and defeated death to ascend into heaven. Psalms 23 certainly could be a simple reflection of paradise, on first glance reading.

But the Holy Spirit may have also included The Way in these 5 verses. What if there is more to this verse then the summation of justification and salvation? What if this verse contains within it the ideas of progressive sanctification 3 – ‘running the race’ and ‘fighting the good fight’ as Paul puts it?

A Shepard guides, teaches 4 and delivers 5 his flock from known danger. These are the same responsibilities of the High Priest who guides the children of Israel 6 , teaches the priests how to function in the outer-court and in the Holy Place 7 ; The High Priest over- sees and performs sacrifices and intercession for the children of Israel - to redeem them before Jehovah, and deliver them from their adversaries 8,9.

We know that Yeshua, upon his death, resurrection, and ascension, became the High Priest before Jehovah in the Holy of Holies on our behalf 10 . That He intercedes for us against the adversaries, and against our own flesh 11 . He guides the obedient in their walk through the Set Apart Holy Spirit 12 . And He helps us to learn how to function in our own fleshly tabernacle, to be as a host of priests in the Kingdom from Heaven 13 . Could Psalms 23 have more to do with how to Walk, and less to do with where that walk ends up? Maybe.

When we have been justified and have received the gift of salvation from Jesus’s deathon the cross, then we become a New Man 14 . And this requires learning a New Life. And the life of a New Priest, and then of a New Warrior-Priest. And so, our High Priest gives us new ‘eyes to see and ears to hear’, by His Set Apart Holy Spirit who instructs and teaches us with Wisdom and Understanding 15,16 . We commit to the free gift through our work as New Priests with Messiah, in cleansing our physical homes, our lives 17 and His fleshly Tabernacle 18 . We study to show ourselves approved in Jehovah’s commands and laws 19 , and Messiah’s instructions of love, patience and discipline 20,21 .

As we read the Torah (in Hebrew, Torah means ‘Instructor’ and ‘Teacher’) 22 , we learn about our New Nation, the children of Abraham – which are the children of Israel. A New Family. We, learn to function in this New Family that lives in the abode of the Kingdom from Heaven 23 . Which arrived when Jesus came to the earth for 33 years teaching and ministering how to integrate Torah with humanity 24 . Jesus tells us that as we repent 25,26 , turn from our sins, love Jehovah with all of our body, mind, and spirit - the same love that we give to our enemies 27 - we will follow in His footsteps 28 , and be given a New Heart 29 and a Renewed Mind 41 to Walk 20,29 in our New Life of servitude 30,31 to our Abba.

As Jesus says in John 15:4, 7: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. … (7) If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye shall, and it shall be done unto you.” And thus, it is the promise of Jesus that as we submit to His Voice, The Word, with all humility and meekness 32  “we will not want”, because all we will have to do is ask for, and He will provide 33.

So, this first verse in Psalms 23 is alluding to the Lord being the Shepherd, or the High Priest, and that when we are guided, taught and receive intercession we then abide in Jesus, and ‘we do not want for anything in the flesh’. In the next verse, Psalms 23:2 we see more detail about what abiding in Him looks like: “he maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” We continue to see an illustration of the new man learning how to function in the fleshly tabernacle. As we saw above, our dwelling becomes Jesus and Jesus dwells within us 34
as Jehovah did in the tabernacle 35,36 , in the wilderness.

The Hebrew word for ‘pastures’ is Strong’s concordance H4999 indicating: house, dwelling or abode. The Hebrew word for ‘still’ is H4496, also indicating an abode. When Jesus ‘makes us to lay down’ in green pastures, the Hebrew word is Strong’s concordance H7257 which indicates to crouch. This would bring to mind the story of Gideon where the soldiers who were accepted to go into battle crouched at the ready next to the river, brought the water up to their mouths while keeping their eyes up and ever at the ready 37 . Like a warrior. A defender of the faith. An Occupier 39.

As suspected, up to this point, Psalms gives imagery that is more than just the summation of justification and salvation. How many new converts, believe with their heart, speak the words for the freed gift, but don’t receive peace? In fact, some feel their lives get more difficult, more hectic and frantic. They read this verse hoping that the gift, is the pasture and is still waters. Not understanding their roles as New Men, then Priests and lastly Warriors – who become more sanctified as they mature 40 in The Word 42 and in Love 43. Psalms 23 then is illustrative of progressive sanctification - which is ‘fighting the good fight’, ‘running the race’, ‘be thou prepared’ 44 and ‘study to show thyself approved’.

Digging deeper still in ‘He maketh me to lie down’, we find that when we lay down it is in humility and subjection for the ‘Fear of the Lord’ 45,46,47 – this Humility before the Father was seen also in Jesus 48 . It is symbolic of our recognition that this fleshly, old man is already dead 49 and will return back to the earth, the dust, that he is prostrated upon. In second Samuel 12:16 we see an example of the author of Psalms 23, demonstrating this very understanding of this humility: “David therefore sought God for the child; and David fasted, and when in, and lay all
night upon the earth.”

Ezekiel, lays down in humble subjection, to better understand the judgment – Fear of the Lord – that is coming onto the lawless and disobedient children of Israel; Ezekiel 4:4,6 we read: “lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thou shalt bear their iniquity. … (6) And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah 40 days: I have appointed each day for a year.”

When ‘He maketh me to lie down’, it is for our benefit and understanding – but only if we are capable of acting in self-less humility and meekness. He will feed us 50. ‘Green pastures’ harkens back to Genesis 51 when God gave man and beast every green herb of the field as meat, and He watered it Himself with a mist that covered the whole earth. This blessing was the promise of God before the curse - when after the curse, all the bread that Adam would ever eat again would come from the sweat of his own brow 52 . Green pastures is a promise of restitution of the blessing when we lay down in humility, allowing the Set Apart Holy Spirit to search and find which parts of ourselves 53, require intercession 54 . That is, flesh that we need to be repentant for, put under, carve out, and turn away from 55 . These would be a fleshly body’s lusts and a fleshly minds perversions 56 . This is body, mind and soul. This is Love.

If we don’t submit; If we act as Pharaoh, then all the green pastures get eaten by locusts 57 – and this is part of the blessings and curses outlined for a believer – which is an Israelite or a sojourner found among them - in Deuteronomy 28. Similar locusts return in Revelation, but they feed not on the green things, but only on those humans
who haven’t been marked by YHVH Elohim 58. Psalm 23 has us working this progressive sanctification in reverse in a sense. Our Shepherd is in the Holy of Holies. The High Priest would put bells on the hem of his
gown so he would be heard in the Holy of Holies walking around 59 . As priests, we are to listen for our Shepherd’s voice, the High Priests bells, from behind the veil separating the Holy of Holies, and the Holy Place 60,61,62 .


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