Amy Thompson - Psalms 23 - Wasilla, Alaska

John 10:10, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Verse 27-28, " My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me, and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand." Jesus the good shepherd of our soul wants to give us life more abundantly. He wants to give us eternal life. Even while here on earth, God wants to put the life of His Son that He could dwell in us. Also this life within us is likened to the seed of the Gospel. God wants us to have this spiritual life while here on earth and He wants us to have it more abundantly. He wants sheep that are flourishing and not just getting by. Life has to have the right conditions in order to flourish. This abundant life leads to eternal life but we have to have the right conditions in our heart.

Psalms 23 is the song of a sheep that is flourishing that has abundant life. The different conditions that made it so the sheep could flourish are all because of the shepherd. We have to make sure our hearts are willing to let the Shepherd work. Really, all the work is done by God. The Shepherd can make all conditions perfect so we can have abundant life. This means having Jesus being my shepherd personally. We can't get it by looking on, but we have to make the Good Shepherd ours. Jesus said, "I am the door." We have to enter in by Him.

Psalms 23:1, "I shall not want." I do not have any lacks when the Lord is my shepherd. Isn't this a picture of someone flourishing? We have to be fed, to have water and shelter and certain essential things. It is the same with spiritual life. Our shepherd knows exactly what we need so we do not have to have any lack in our life. The shepherd knows what we need. Ask and it shall be given you. The condition of heart that enables us to flourish to have life abundantly is when we want what God wants for our souls. If we are asking for natural things and blessings, then we will still have a lack in our lives. But if we are searching for spiritual blessings then we will not have any lack. Rest is important for life to flourish. We have to have periods of rest. We must take time to rest. Our shepherd knows when we need to rest and where we can find rest.

Mark 6 (when John was beheaded). Jesus brought them apart and told them to rest. It is not a sin to be wearied and be tired, but we have to be willing to rest. If we are pushing ourselves so hard so we cannot lie down in green pastures to rest. Our shepherd knows exactly what we need. The condition of our heart is that we are willing to feed on what the shepherd gives us. Sometimes we may not even enjoy it. But our shepherd wants to lead us where we can feed our souls. Water refreshes us and revives us. This is the place of prayer. We can drink of the living water.

John 4, our shepherd wants to give us everlasting water. Psalms 23:3, He restores my soul. This is the forgiveness for our sins and being cleansed. We have been given a soul and in our human nature we are prone to sin. It mars our soul when we sin. But God wants to restore our soul to being like Christ. Be willing for repentance and beg for forgiveness. Our shepherd knows when we need to eat and to drink and to rest. He also died for us. Our shepherd can take care of all of the aspects of our soul even to restore it and forgive our sins.

Psalms 23: 3, "He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake." We need to enter in at the strait gate, the narrow way. It requires giving up our own will and being restricted to a narrow restricted way. It is for His name's sake, not just for our sake. If we don't let ourselves follow Jesus we cannot have eternal life. Our shepherd loves us so much that it is for His name's sake that we have eternal life.

Psalms 23:4, "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." We don't have to fear death because we have a shepherd caring for our soul. We don't need to fear any evil.

Matthew 10:28, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." The only One that can destroy our soul in hell is God. He is the one we need to fear, but He also wants to give us abundant life. There is no evil in God. Have the spirit of finding comfort in correction. Loving the correction that comes from our good Shepherd indicates abundant life.

Hebrews 12:5, "My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him." This is a picture of our heavenly Father's love. The rod is a comfort and shows us where we have gone wrong. When a tree is pruned, that is correction. It wouldn't be a very comfortable thing to be pruned, to have a limb cut off. It is for the sake of bearing fruit. God does this so we can have abundant life.

Psalms 23:5, "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." When the battle is the fiercest and we are in the presence of the enemy that is when we need to take time to feed our souls. He can feed us in the fiercest of battles. It is easy to withdraw ourselves, but don't forget to find sustenance for our souls. Go to Jesus and have our souls fed.

Psalms 23:5, "Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over." Ointment on the head is something soothing, a soothing that comes when we are in the presence of one that loves our souls.

Psalms 23:6, "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." Goodness and mercy is a picture of Jesus. He leads us and follows behind us and is right beside us. He protects us, all around us. He loves our soul and wants to give us abundant life.