Hi Everyone, ItĚs Kenneth, with another teaching on the 23rd Psalm. This email was actually supposed to have gone out to you a few weeks ago, but for some reason it never did. Basically, I think I forgot to click something, and this just sat in the outbox this whole time. Anyhow, there's no use letting it go to waste, so enjoy!


This teaching series is really one of my favorites that Dad has ever done. I like it because of the depth of insight into each passage, as well as the new perspectives explored. The 23rd Psalm holds so much wisdom, but you donĚt tap into it unless you look closely.


Psalm 23:1 Ě The Lord is My ShepherdĚ


Picking up from the last devotional, I talked about the fact that our relationship with God involves both give and take. ItĚs not a one-way relationship, where we simply have a one-time meeting where we introduce ourselves, and then ignore Him for the rest of our lives and expect a never-ending supply of blessings.


Our society has become service oriented. We live in an age of consumerism. A surprising amount of our lives is dedicated to purchasing goods and services. And, as veteran consumers, we all know that sometimes we can find a better deal by Ěshopping aroundĚ.


We feel a deserved right to demand the best goods for our money, and if we canĚt get the solution we want, weĚll either go elsewhere, or try to work out a deal. I do on a regular basis - just ask the people who work the returns desks at shops in Nashville!


This attitude is a logical result of our modern, structured world, and it works in our finances, but it can be devastating when we bring that attitude into our relationships. Especially when we bring that attitude into our relationship with God.


I find it more and more common, that people enjoy telling their pastors what to do. They tell their church leadership what to do. ItĚs like theyĚre viewing their role in the church with the same mindset they would use as a customer in a retail store. Even worse, Christians everywhere try to use the Bible, not as a guide for how to live their lives, but they try to pick and choose the parts they like, so they can build their own personal set of rules - a set of rules that fits them perfectly, because it lets them live their lives as if God wasn't around at all.


We try to get what we want, and if we can't get it, we go and complain. Then when weĚre done talking to the manager Ě I mean the pastor Ě if we canĚt get the deal we want, we'll spread bad word about the store or take our business elsewhere. I hope itĚs clear, that when we adopt this kind of attitude, we have completely missed the point of our relationship with God and his church.


Sheep donĚt tell their Shepherds what to do. They donĚt always know whatĚs best for themselves. When you compare the viewpoint of the sheep, to the viewpoint of the Shepherd, and when you think about the life and experiences of a sheep, compared to the experience and perspective of the Shepherd, there is clearly one of the two that perceives much more, and knows how to make the right choices. The Shepherd is there to guide us into the paths that are best for our lives, not vice versa.


What do sheep see when theyĚre in the middle of the flock? They see a bunch of other sheep! Every one of those other sheep has the exact same perspective. And if the sheep try to tell the Shepherd what to do, theyĚre ignoring everything that makes the Shepherd so special.


The reason God likened our relationship to that of a Shepherd with a flock of sheep is because the Shepherd has abilities the sheep donĚt have. He can see past the flock. He can make decisions that benefit them, based on knowledge and wisdom they don't share. His guidance is more valuable than the guidance that we can give each other. The ShepherdĚs motives are pure; He wants the best for each sheep individually, as well as whatĚs best for the entire flock.


ThatĚs our relationship with God. You donĚt want a God you can manipulate. And you donĚt want a God you can boss around. You need a God whoĚs God. A God whoĚs boss. A God who is so absolutely in control, that you ask for His orders, and you follow them, because you know He has the best for all of us. Seriously - He really does know what's best.




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