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Robert Morris - He Provides


Robert Morris - He Provides
TOPICS: The Good Shepherd, Provision

Alright, so we're beginning a new series called "The Good Shepherd". And this is our devotional. We're going to go through Psalm 23. I'm going to be preaching on it for three weeks and we're going to divide it into three parts and we'll do the first three verses this weekend, the next two verses next weekend, and then the last verse, it's only six verses the whole Psalm, then we'll do the last verse in the last weekend, alright? I just want to remind you that Jesus, that the Bible calls us sheep. Let me show it to you, Psalm 100:3, "We are His people and the sheep of His pasture". And then John 10:10, very famous, but we're going to look at verse 11. Verse 10 says, "The thief does not come except to steal, kill and destroy. I've come they may have life, that they may have it abundantly". Watch verse 11, "I am the good shepherd," which is the name of our series and the name of our devotional. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep". And verse 14, he repeats it. "I am the good shepherd".

Now here's what I want to say about this. I'm really glad he's the good shepherd since I'm a sheep. Because sheep, if you don't know, are the dumbest animals alive. They cannot even feed themselves. Now hear me. They can eat, but they can't find food. They have to be led and fed. And you might say, "Well, I'm not quite following you on that, Pastor Robert, 'cause can't I read the Bible for myself"? Yes, you can. But it's the good shepherd that illuminates the scripture to you. It's the good shepherd that leads you to the green pastures and the still waters. So I love Psalm 23. Psalm 23:1, we're just going to read verse 1 because on each point then we'll go through verses 2 and 3. But verse 1 says, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want". I just need to point out that the word want here is not what we think it means. It's the word in the Hebrew, and in the Hebrew it means lack. I shall not lack.

The reason I want you to understand that is the good shepherd does not provide what you want. He provides what you need, which is actually good for us. Let me just use the Jewish people as an example. The people of Israel wanted a king. They wanted a political and military leader. That's what they wanted. They needed a messiah. They needed, and we need, a savior. He did not provide what they wanted, he provided what they needed. So the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not lack. It doesn't mean I get everything I want but it does mean, this is really good, that I get everything I need. If I need it, my shepherd will provide it.

Let me say it another way. I'm actually really glad, 40 years now I've been a Christian. This next month, it'll be 41. 41 years being a Christian. I am very, very glad that God has not answered all of my prayers. Have you ever looked back on something you prayed and prayed and prayed for that God, well, he probably did answer, his answer was no, and you're grateful he said no? Why? Because the Lord is your shepherd. You will not lack for anything because he provides. So we're going to look at today the title of the message is, "He Provides". He provides. And then we'll go through next week, "He Protects". And then the next week, "He Promises". So, today we're going to talk about he provides.

Number one, here's the first thing he provides: Green pastures and still waters. Verse two says, "He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters". So let me tell you what I think green pastures and still waters represent. Contentment and peace. A sheep that has green pastures is content, and has still waters that represents peace. A believer's life should be characterized by contentment and peace. If you're not content and you're not at peace, I don't mean that's wrong, but you might not be following your shepherd. Because the good shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us beside still waters. This is one of the reasons that you come to church, green pastures and still waters. We come to church and we experience still waters in worship.

Think about it, in the presence of God, we can come to church upset, anxious, worried, fearful, and all of a sudden the presence of God comes in worship and the peace comes, right? And then we come to church for the green pastures because God has provided teachers, not just me but others, obviously. We have several that stand in the pulpit, like Elaine did last week, and they open up the Word because that's their gift. Whatever you do, I can't do. Just so you know it. If you're a doctor, you don't want me operating on you. If you're in construction, you don't want me building your house, I promise. I'm no good at that. You don't want me fixing your plumbing. One time, the handle on the toilet broke. And I thought I can do that at least, just a broken handle. So I went down and bought the handle. So I got the wrench, and I'm doing it, and I cracked the ceramic bowl and it went all the way down to the floor, the crack, and flooded the bathroom. Costs about $800 to get it to fixed.

There are some things you don't want me doing, that's not my gift. But I am gifted by God to teach the Word. I mean, I'm gifted, and I work at it. And so when someone opens the Word to you, what it does, though, is it helps you see things. But please hear me. So we come to church, to sit beside the still waters and worship, and to eat from the green pastures during the message. But listen, one time a week is not enough. God doesn't want a weekend affair with you. He wants to marry you. We're called the bride of Christ, right? He wants to marry you and live with you every day. He wants to provide green pastures and still waters for you every day. And please hear me, our weeks get so busy, if you don't have some green pastures and some still waters during the week, you're in trouble. Would you agree with that?

So he's the one that provides it for us, green pastures and still waters. Now there's two words in this verse that we didn't talk about that I want to talk about. They're in the Hebrew and it really kind of strikes me that it said it. The two words are, "He makes". He makes me lie down. Okay, we just had Christmas. And Debbie and I have nine grandkids. Do you know what words were spoken the most around our house during Christmas? "If you don't straighten up, you're going to have to take a nap". We heard that, and actually, we thought in our... We didn't say it out, we thought, amen. "If you don't change your attitude, you're going to have to take a nap". And then, one of them went further than the nap, said, "You need to save your bottom right now". When you get grumpy, you need to lie down, right? I wonder how many times God has said to his kids, "You need to take a nap". He makes me lie down.

The Lord gave me the illustration one time of a fuel truck, the big 18-wheelers. And it goes around to the gas stations. You've seen them at the gas stations, maybe you've never taken notice, but they're filling the big underground tanks that are under the concrete so that when you pull up to the pump, I mean, there's somewhere that gas comes from. It comes from a huge tank under the concrete where your car is parked, or over to the side there. Otherwise they have no gas, okay? But this tanker, this 18-wheeler, goes to the refinery or wherever they get it from, and then they bring it and they fill it up.

Here's the only thing I want you to think about 'cause this is what the Lord said to me. He said, "Robert, you're like that. You drive around and you fill up your family, you fill up staff, you fill up leaders, you fill up the congregation, you fill people with fuel. But you're like a driver many times that forgets to fill your own fuel tank. And your truck gets stuck on the side of the road. And you got fuel there for everybody else but none for you".

Now, that's not just a pastor. Because you do the same. You fill up people all around you. You fill up your family, you're meeting other needs. You fill up coworkers, you fill up friends, you help people, but I'm telling you, you're going to run out of fuel if you don't fill your own tank. Green pastures and still waters, that's one thing he provides. So he's providing them. Let's say it another way, okay? When I said sheep can't feed themselves, obviously I said, they can eat the grass, but they have to bend down and chew. So we have to take the time to spend time in his presence and to eat his Word, okay?

So here's the second thing the shepherd provides: Healing and restoration. Psalm 23:3 says, "He restores my soul". That's the first part of the verse. He restores my soul. Let me ask you a question. Has your soul ever been crushed? Because when you go back to the Hebrew here, there's, this restoring is restoring something that's been injured. He restores my soul. We don't probably use that phrase, "My soul was crushed". We might, but we probably use this phrase, "My heart was broken". Has your heart ever been broken when you lost a loved one? When you lost a job? A career that you really felt like was perfect for you? When you lost a friend, a relationship? When you went through a health difficulty, did it break your heart? Of course it did. That's normal. It's normal. It's normal for your heart to get broken in this world. But there's someone who can restore your soul. Two of my favorite verses.

Now, I was thinking about this. I have no clue how many times I've said in messages, "This is one of my favorite verses". Have y'all ever noticed that? I was thinking I have hundreds of favorite verses, maybe thousands, but I have a lot of favorites. So here are two of my favorite verses. They are verses that Jesus quotes about himself from Isaiah. Isaiah was written 700 years before the time of Christ. Isaiah has the most messianic scriptures, those are scriptures about the Messiah, of any book in the Old Testament. 700 years before the Messiah. And he quotes from it a lot, but he's quoting two scriptures about himself. Luke 4:18, "He has sent Me..". He has sent Me. The Father has sent Me. Why? "...to heal the brokenhearted". And then Matthew 12:20 says, "A bruised reed He will not break".

I love that verse. You ever been bruised? You're bleeding on the inside somewhere in your heart, your soul? He's not going to come along and break you. He's going to bind up that wound, and he's going to heal you. A bruised reed he will not break. Now, he's... In Matthew 12, when he says this, He's answering the Pharisees. He's quoting it right after the Pharisees get mad at him. You know what they got mad at him about? They got mad at him because he healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Not supposed to heal people on the Sabbath. That's work. It's not work for God, though, so. But that's what he's mad about. And he quotes this scripture, and then he says something, but he says it differently than he says it two other times. The other two times he says, "Which of you, if you have an ox that falls into the ditch, will not pull it out, even if it's on the Sabbath"? But this time he says something differently. He says, "Which of you, if you have a sheep that falls into a pit will not pull him out on the Sabbath"?

I think everything Jesus did was perfect. I think every word he used was perfect. Okay, he's the Shepherd, we're the sheep. He's healing this man with this withered hand, and he talks about a sheep now, not an ox. And he says, "Which of you, if you have a sheep that falls into a pit would not pull that sheep out"? And then he says this, "And isn't a person more important than a sheep"? Okay, so if you have fallen into a pit, in other words, you were going along and everything was going great, and then something happened totally out of the blue that put your soul in a pit. And it wasn't anything you did to cause it to happen. It just happened. Or if somebody threw you in a pit, like Joseph and his brothers. I mean, they threw him in a pit. Or, and I'm saying this one because of my own experience, if you dug the pit yourself. I have ended up in a lot of pits that were my fault. I dug 'em.

Anybody here dug? You don't have raise your hand, okay, but yeah you did. It was amazing how many hands went up, how many pit diggers we have in the congregation. Okay, so even if you dig the pit yourself, the Shepherd will come and get you out. By the way, when I think about digging the pit myself, and you get this shame on you and you think, "I'm just an idiot. I'm an idiot because I just kept digging. I knew it was getting deeper and I just kept digging". By the way, idiot comes from the Greek word idiotus. And idioton would be the plural. It means if you have more than one idiot. Nevermind, okay. That's not a Greek word, by the way. Okay. But even if you... I just want you to know that even if the pit's your fault, the Shepherd will get you out. That's how good he is.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible... Another one of my favorite verses, it's a favorite chapter of mine, is Psalm 51. It's the Psalm that David wrote right after he repents, when he repents for committing adultery with Bathsheba. I love the psalm, it's Psalm 51. You can read it anytime you want. I've read it many times in my life, because of just messing up. Not in that way as David did, but messing up, just blowing it. And I like it, and there's a verse that I really like, it's verse 12. It says, "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation". There's a repentance, when we truly repent, the joy of our salvation comes back. Over the holidays, so this is recent, I said some things to Debbie I shouldn't have said, I just got mad and just unloaded.

Now, I know that shocks you, and I would have rather said years ago I did this. But it was just stupid. Of course I repented, asked her forgiveness, but two or three days go by and I just can't shake it. I'm thinking, this is just ... Why, why, why? I mean, I should be past this by now. And the shame, you know? And so I said to her one night, about nine o'clock. I said, I just have to go spend some time in the presence of the Lord. And for me, there's prayer and reading the Bible, But I, when I want to spend time in the presence of the Lord, I have to worship. And I don't know if you have worship on your phone or not, or some way to play worship music, but if you will precede your prayer time and Bible study time with worship, it'll blow you away what'll happen. Get in his presence. And so I went up to a room in our house upstairs, and found the worship album I wanted listen to, hit shuffle. Shuffle means it'll just play in random order, but to me, it's not Apple doing it, it's the Holy Spirit then controlling which song I hear next.

It's exactly what I need. He is bigger than Apple, just so you know. So hit shuffle, and the music started, and it wasn't a very long prelude before the singer started. But before the singer even started singing the words, the Lord showed up like that. It was one of the most amazing times. And immediately, he reminded me of Psalm 51, "Have mercy on me, oh God". Have mercy. And I just began to go through as much of the Psalm as I could remember in my mind and just said, "God, I just repent". I remember, the first thing I did was I laid on the floor, put my laptop here, so I could read when I wanted, put my phone there, hit it. And then I put my face down like that in the carpet, and I'm saying within five to eight seconds before the singer started, the Lord, I just started repenting and crying, "Have mercy on me, God. I'm an idiot. I'm an idiotus. I'm an idiot. Please have mercy".

And I had such a good time in the presence of the Lord, but the verse that really hit me then, because then I got it out and I read Psalm 51 in about four or five different versions, just to read it. In The Message, New Living, NIV, just different versions to see, was restore to me the joy of my salvation. By the way, of Your salvation, excuse me. It's his salvation. But I just, it was all... The joy was back. And this had been about three days after this had happened with Debbie. She had already forgiven and moved on, but I wasn't able to move on. And so I went downstairs then and said to her, "I'm back". And so, I mean, God just did it, and my joy was back. So he restores. Healing and restoration.

Here's number three: paths of righteousness. This is something the Good Shepherd provides, I want you to think about this, paths. Think about walking through the woods and you see a path. Now you've got a choice whether to go through the thorns and briers, but you've got a real path there. It's a path of righteousness. It's the second part of verse three, "He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake". Now, paths of righteousness. Let me just remind you, the word righteousness means right standing with God. We are put in right standing with God by grace, through faith. That is so clear in scripture. It is not grace plus works that saves you. It is so clear, it is either grace or works, and it can't be works, is what it says. But you can't have both, because grace is a gift and works is earned. So it's either grace.

I don't know, you may, but you may not hear anyone any stronger on grace than I am. I know that if you don't start with grace as a foundation in your life, you'll never go anywhere with God. I just know that. So I'm very strong on that. So grace puts me in right standing with God. But I've got a new way of saying something, because I also talk about righteous living. And you don't lose your salvation when you sin. That's the most heretical thing ever preached that I can think of. Maybe not ever, but it's so heretical. You're not saved, lost, saved, lost, saved, lost. It's not like, "Well, if I die, I hope I die on the way home from confession than on the way home from the bar". It's not dependent upon your works. If it was dependent upon your works, we're all in trouble, okay? Does everyone follow me on that? It just can't be. It's dependent upon the blood of Jesus and you receiving the free gift of God.

Okay. But I'm going to say something I've never said before, and never thought about it this way. And you'll have to follow me, okay? Grace puts us in right standing with God, but sin affects us in our right standing position. Now please hear me. Please let me say ... Please hear me, okay. On God's side, because of the work that Jesus did, he's put me in right standing. On my side, because of grace, I'm in right standing with God. But when I sin, something is affected in my standing with God. But listen how I'm saying it, my standing with God, not God's standing with me. In other words, God still loves me. God still forgives me. God still sees me as clean and sanctified through the blood of his Son, and even forgiven. But something has changed in my heart, in my relationship with God, how I see God, how I see myself, and how I see you. People who are judgmental are people in sin. That was extremely deep.

If you know a judgemental person, that person's in sin, because he's judging himself, so he's judging you, too. But if he's walking in an open relationship with God, and receiving God's grace, he'll give you grace. But if he won't give you grace, he's not giving himself, are you all following me? He's not receiving God's grace. Okay, so grace puts me in a right standing with God, and nothing can change my right standing with God, because it's dependent upon the blood of Jesus. But when I walk in sin, it changes my, the way I'm standing with God, but not the way God is standing with me. Are y'all following me? Okay, let me show it to you, alright? The Bible talks about imputed righteousness, that God imputed righteousness to us. It's an accounting word, which means he put righteousness in our account, took sin out of our account, and put it in his Son's account, okay? But it's imputed, and the New King James uses the word imputed and I'll show you where, but I want to read this out of the NIV.

Psalm 32:1, "Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered". This is imputed righteousness, forgiveness by grace. "Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count", this is the word that I'm saying is imputed. The New King James says, "Blessed is the one that the Lord does not impute sin". Okay, "...does not count sin against them, and in whose spirit is no deceit". Now watch, this is the grace. God's put us in a right standing. But David now is again talking about his own sin. Watch what he says in verse three. "When I kept silent," in other words, when I didn't go to God and repent, "...my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long". In other words, it began to affect me. It didn't affect God's relationship toward me, it affected my relationship toward God.

Did y'all get that? I got to say that again, 'cause that wasn't even in my notes, and that's just such a good line. It did not affect God's relationship toward David, but it did affect David's relationship toward God. Okay. "For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.' And you forgave the guilt of my sin". By the way, the Hebrew there, it goes into other things, but the root of it means, the weight of my sin. You took the weight off of me when I confessed it. So he leads us in the paths of righteousness so that we don't have to walk around weighed down with our sins, although he's already forgiven us for our sins. That's one of the deepest things you all are going to hear, just all week, just to let you... Well, maybe not all week, 'cause we've got all these good speakers coming in. But, up until this point, including the last 25 minutes, that's the deepest thing you're going to hear, okay?

Now I just need to hit one more point, and then we're finished. It's not one more point, it's just something about this. It says, "He leads me". Shepherds do not drive sheep. You know how you see cattle drives? You'll never see a sheep drive. They lead sheep. When Debbie and I were in Israel one time, they took us to a valley that they said years ago, in the time of Christ, there would be sometimes 15 to 20,000 sheep in this valley a certain time of year, because it had the greenest grass. And the shepherds would come from all over and bring their sheep, because this is where the green grass was. 15 to 20,000 sheep. And the shepherds would talk and play games, and eat together and fellowship and all, but then, so they could get home before night, because of the predators, and we'll talk about how God protects us from the predators next week, a shepherd would stand up and he would say a word, and then he would just start walking, and 400 or 500 of these 15 to 20,000 sheep would follow that shepherd. They told us this in Israel.

And then another shepherd would stand up, and he would shout his word, and he'd start walking his direction, and 200 or 800, or however many sheep he had, would just follow him. And then the other shepherd, the other shepherd. And when they would finish, there was not one sheep left in the valley, and no sheep got mixed up, because sheep know the shepherd's voice. This is what Jesus said, "My sheep know My voice, and they follow Me". So what's the key to following the Shepherd? Simple, hearing his voice. What's the key to hearing his voice? Spending time in his presence. That's the key. It's not that hard. Have you ever wished you had more confidence? Because I have. Many, many times I felt like I don't have enough confidence, but do you know when I have a lot of confidence? It's when I've heard God.

Let me show you the word confidence, 'cause you know how I love words, and I love from where they come. Let me show you. Look at the word confidence here. See the word? Everyone see the word confidence. Everyone see that? Okay, remove the last three letters. Confide. Now look at it again. Look at the word confidence. Just remove the last three letters. Confide. Do you know when you have confidence? When God has confided in you. Let me read you the verse, John 15:15. Jesus said, "I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. But now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me".

Again, I've been saved almost 41 years. But I still blow it, just blew it this Christmas. Just blew it. I have to spend time in green pastures and beside still waters. I have to go in a room, close the door, worship God, get my mind off my problems, get in his presence and get in his Word, to this day. Or if I don't, Debbie will tell you, I'm an idiotus. Because when I get in his presence, the Shepherd speaks and he leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. I want you to bow your heads and close your eyes. I feel like the first message of the year that I'm speaking to you, that the Lord wants to speak to us, let's make this a priority, spending time with God. You know that you do better spending time with God. You know that you have more peace and more contentment spending time with God. You know that when you go through a difficulty and it crushes you, God can restore your soul. And you know that he will lead you in the right path when you spend time with him.

That's my main burden this weekend. And don't feel like, well, I've made this commitment before and I haven't done it every day. I'm not even asking you to do it every day. I'm not even asking that. I'm just asking that when you can, you make it priority that you'll go on a room, you'll turn some worship music on. You'll spend some time in his presence, you'll pour your heart out to him, and you'll read his Word, and let him pour his heart out to you.

Holy Spirit, we ask you every week, what are you saying to us? And it may be something even completely different than anything I said, but I'm asking you to speak for all of us. And I pray that this will be a year ... We dedicate this year to you as a year of following the Good Shepherd, in Jesus' name, amen.

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