Sunday School Material 4-2-17: Shepherding Love



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(Psalms 23; 4/2/17)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that the Lord is like a great shepherd and hospitable host. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to make sure that we are great sheep and guests for the Lord.

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Body:

Read Psalm 23:1-4

I. Shepherd Metaphor.  In our Sunday School material the writer talks about the Lord being his shepherd. The shepherd provides green pastures, quiet waters, righteous guidance, and comfort. The shepherd provides righteous guidance for His name’s sake.

Applications –

- God as shepherd. Notice in vss. 1-4 that the Lord is like a shepherd to His people. He provides all that they need. The Lord knows that we need a certain amount of positivity, health, finances, relationships, and contribution.

The Lord supplies for His people. Today, the people are God are those who have accepted Jesus as their savior by faith. Let’s live like we trust God to take care of His people.

Such living should be known for obedience and confidence. At the core of God’s will for our lives are the issues of making sure that we are saved and loving God and others, as we love ourselves.

- For His name’s sake. Notice in vs. 3 that the Lord does what He does for His names sake. This means that even when we don’t deserve it, the Lord is good because of His name’s sake. He is good to us because He is a good God.

 He provides for us because He is a provider. Let’s live like we trust God to be true to His name. This kind of living should be known for our confidence in God and praise for His faithfulness.

Additionally, we should learn to obey God because we are Christians (i.e., our identity). For example the reason we should be loving and forgiving, even to those who don’t seem to deserve it, is because of our identity as Christians.

- Troubled times. Notice in vs. 4 of our Sunday School material that following the Lord doesn’t keep His people out of all danger, but the Lord will see His people through the danger.

First, being a Christian is not always pleasant and danger free. There are times when we are in grave danger. There are some mean people in this world.

Second, whatever danger we find ourselves in, God is able to see us through. “Yes,” there are times when the Lord allows us to avoid trouble all together. However, there are many times that God doesn’t allow us to avoid trouble. He guides us through the troubles.

Let’s live like we trust God to guide us through our troubles. This kind of living should be known for confident obedience, in the midst of troubled times.

Read Psalm 23:5-6

II. Host Metaphor. The writer switches from a shepherd metaphor to a host metaphor. In our Sunday School material the writers says the Lord provides food and hospitality in the presence of the writer’s enemies. The writer is assured of the Lord’s continued goodness and love.

Applications –

- God’s hospitality. Notice in vs. 5 that the Lord takes care of His people like a hospitable host. As with the shepherd and sheep relationship, we should make sure that we are saved.

This calls for accepting Jesus as our savior by faith. And we should trust God to take care of His own. Let’s live like we trust God’s hospitality. This calls for obedience, confidence, and thankfulness for what God has already done.

- Our enemies. Notice in vs. 6 that the Lord can handle our enemies. First, as in the Sunday School material, God knows that we have enemies.

There are some mean people in this world. Some people are mean for a significant amount of time. Others are mean on select occasions. If you are living for Jesus, you will have some encounters with people who allow the devil to use them to do mean things.

Second, as in the text, sometimes God simply provides for us in the presence of our enemies. Even though we may want God to move our enemies, we should be open to God simply taking care of us in the presence of our enemies.

Let’s live like we trust God to handle our enemies. This kind of living includes confidently obeying the Lord with a much greater focus on Him than on those who are being mean to us.

- God’s permanent goodness. Notice in vs. 6 that God is permanent. The people in our lives are temporary. They will die on us, or we will die on them. Some of them will change on us before they die. But with God, we have permanent goodness, mercy, and love.

Let’s live like we trust the permanent goodness of the Lord. Such living should be known for thankfulness as well as confident obedience.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being great sheep and guests for the Lord. God has much for those who obey His will.

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