by Chris Sherrod Posted Apr 22, 2020
Read through this week’s verse together, noting that David is back to talking about his Shepherd.
Ask: What have you learned about God’s care as your Shepherd this week?
Picture a flock being brought safely back to the fields and shelter of the shepherd’s home, all due to his alertness, skill, and guidance. His never-tiring diligence and awareness has guaranteed abundant grasslands, still waters, new paths into fresh fields, safe pasture on high tablelands, freedom from fear, antidotes for flies and disease, and a security that only comes from his ongoing presence. In short, the sheep have lacked nothing.
Sword Drill! Read how David described God’s provision in Psalm 34:8-10.
Did You Know?
“Mercy” is a significant word in the Old Testament that is also translated as “compassion” or “steadfast love.” It is God’s loyal, covenant, unfailing, unconditional love for us. As Lamentations 3:22-23 promises, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
What Does Your Shepherd Do?
All through Psalm 23, David has been declaring God’s attentiveness, protection, and loving management, and now he ends with a confident affirmation of his Master’s expert care: “Surely [or Only] goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Saying that only goodness and mercy will follow us isn’t a promise to never face hard times, but a declaration that God is so committed to making us like Jesus that He allows and works all things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28-29).
Sword Drill! Someone read Romans 8:31-32 to see how much God is for us.
But do you truly believe that, no matter what, you are being followed by God’s steadfast love? When your world seems to be falling apart, can you honestly declare, “Surely—yes surely!—goodness and mercy are always following me”?
Like David, we should be proud to tell others how good our Shepherd is, quick to recall all the ways He brings us through hard experiences, eager to share how glad we are to be His child. He is always with us, never asleep or indifferent, and has our best interests in mind, no matter what valleys we face.
What Should Ewe Do?
Ask: How do you picture heaven? What will be so wonderful about it?
The greatest joy we can experience for all eternity is living in the presence of our Savior. This is David’s final, joyful exclamation—“I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Sword Drill! How does David express the desire of his heart Psalm 27:4?
The Bible ends with this incredibly beautiful description of heaven: “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:3-5).
This is why the Bible says things like “set your mind on things that are above” (Colossians 3:2) or “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33), or “fix your eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2)—it’s what truly matters!
But living each day mindful of your future home greatly affects you now. As you live aware of God’s presence and by His Word, life becomes a satisfying and exciting adventure because you know He is alert to every circumstance you face. He watches over you with care and concern because you belong to Him. What an assurance! I SHALL dwell in the presence and care of the Lord forever!
Peace and Plenty
Ask: Who knows what miracle is recorded in all four Gospels, besides the resurrection? (Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the five thousand)
Listen to Mark 6:34-44 and keep track of the ways Jesus acts like a shepherd…
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
Ask: What are some ways you saw the Good Shepherd in action in this story? (He had compassion on them, they were like sheep without a shepherd, He had them sit down on the grass, and He fed them until they were satisfied.)
Ask: What was the disciples’ first reaction to the crisis of food? (They looked to themselves and their resources instead of to God and His gracious provision; they were leaning on their own understanding and what they could provide.)
Here’s what we see, even in this one account of Jesus: A compassionate shepherd who has His people to sit down peacefully on the grass as He powerfully and supernaturally meets all their needs so that they are literally full to overflowing (there were plenty of leftovers).
The reminder for us all from Psalm 23 is that we are lovingly known and sovereignly taken care of by our Shepherd as He guides and provides, leads and feeds, protects and directs. This brings us the “cup of contentment” as an overflow of His peace, plenty and presence.
For Younger Kids
Did you know that younger sheep will often follow older sheep, even if they leave the care of their shepherd? In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul told believers to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”He didn’t claim to be the Good Shepherd, but only that following him would mean they too would be walking in the care of the Good Shepherd. Parents, could you invite your children to follow you like that? (not that you are perfect, but genuinely seeking Jesus). If so, tell them to keep their eyes on you and expect to be led by the Good Shepherd.
Have someone close your time together in prayer, thanking God that you are in the care of the Good Shepherd.