Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Psalm 23.3

Psalm 23:3
The Good Shepherd who puts His life in us

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (KJV)
19 March, 2014

St. Paul writes in Romans 6:3-5 “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with {Him} in a death like His we shall certainly be reunited in a resurrection like His

This passage speaks of baptismal regeneration. In baptism we died to sin and were made alive in Christ. That happened to me personally as I was baptized at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, New Haven, IN. - March 10, 1957 - fifty-seven years ago. Baptismal regeneration calls for us each day to recall what happened to us in and through our baptism and then to daily live in our baptism as redeemed children of God.  – That’s what we call sacramental living – Experiencing daily the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation as Christ comes to us in and through the sacraments. As we continue looking at the Shepherd Psalm tonight we focus on verse 3. 

Tonight we hear of the Good Shepherd who puts His life in us

1.    The Savior makes this personal - He restoreth my soul

Jesus our Good Shepherd restores me when I wander. No creature will lose itself sooner than a sheep. We often refer to them as “stupid sheep”!  Sheep are so apt to go astray, and then so incompetent to find their way back.

The best saints are sensible of their predisposition to go astray like lost sheep. It’s more then an inclination. It’s what we call our sinful nature. David writes in Psalm 119:176:  “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant, for I do not forget Thy commandments.” (NAS)

Isaiah writes: “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” (Isa.53: 6 - NAS)  That’s the story of Lent. We are all like wandering sheep. We have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way. What shall be done? The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. We miss our way, and turn aside to a different road. But God shows people their error, gives them repentance, and brings them back to their duty again, He restores the soul; and, if He did not do so, they would wander endlessly and be eternally lost and undone.

When, after one sin, David's heart smote him, and, soon after another, Nathan was sent to tell him, “Thou art the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7) God restored his soul. Though God may endure when His people fall into sin, He will not tolerate them to lie still in it.  Through contrition repentance and faith we are restored back to the Father.

Our Good Shepherd recovers me when I am sick, and revives me when I am faint, and so He restores the soul, which was ready to depart. He is the Lord our God that heals us.

In Exodus 15 we are reminded: “So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw {it} into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them. And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer."  (Exodus 15:24-26 -NAS) Many a time we should have fainted unless we had believed; and it was the Good Shepherd that kept us from fainting.

2.                  The Savior places real and abundant life in us - He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

God’s honor is at stake. It’s His reputation, which is in jeopardy. Thus He must act and act judiciously and appropriately. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake

See here the courage of a faithful saint. Having had such experience of God's goodness to me all my days, “in six troubles even in seven.” The Christian will say: “I will never distrust him.”

We learn to say by faith: “Because all He has done for me, even though it was not for any worth or merit of mine, but purely for His name's sake. In the pursuance of His word, in the performance of His promises, and for the glory of His own name and for the good of His people. That name therefore shall still be my strong tower, and shall assure me that He who has led me, and fed me, all my life, will never, ever, leave me.” This is how the Good Shepherd has placed His life in us. 

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