August 2018 “Tabletalk”: The Precious, Powerful Gospel of Psalm 23

The August 2018 issue of Tabletalk, the monthly (and daily!) devotional magazine of Ligonier Ministries, truly is a special issue with a special theme. That theme is the universally familiar and comprehensively comforting Psalm 23. Fittingly, the cover carries the gospel of that wonderful first verse: “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

All the articles cover the entire psalm, verse by precious verse and phrase by beautiful phrase. Burk Parsons sets the tone in his “Coram Deo” editorial, “The Great Shepherd.” Here is part of what he says about this marvelous psalm:

The full biblical picture the Lord paints for us is that of a Shepherd-Warrior who cares for His sheep, lovingly disciplines His sheep, rescues His sheep, and protects His sheep from themselves and from their enemies. This is why Jesus calls Himself the Great Shepherd, and He does not drive His sheep with a whip from behind but calls His sheep by name and leads them into green pastures. For He is the author, the pioneer, and the captain of our faith who goes before us, even laying down His life for His sheep, and He is the finisher of our faith who protects and preserves us to the end.

The other article I reference tonight is that by Sinclair Ferguson, which is also linked below. After describing how David was uniquely able to write this psalm, both as a shepherd himself and as a student of God’s revelation through the previous OT fathers, Ferguson points us to how Jesus saw and fulfills this powerful psalm. This is how he ends his thoughts:

Jesus saw depths of meaning in these words; He must have sung them with joy. He looked back to His fathers Jacob and David and like them trusted His Father to provide all His needs. Indeed, as He explained to His puzzled disciples, His Father provided His nourishment: “I have food to eat that you do not know about. . . . My food is to do the will of him who sent me” (John 4:32, 34).

But Jesus must also have read Psalm 23 with a deep sense of burden. For He knew that, ultimately, He Himself was “the good shepherd” who “lays down his life for the sheep” (10:11, 14). What Jacob and David saw only dimly, Jesus saw clearly. The Shepherd must suffer for His sheep.

As the Good Shepherd, Jesus would take the place of His sheep and be led to the slaughter (Isa. 53:7). For them He would be smitten (Zech. 13:7; see Matt. 26:31). He would give everything of Himself to provide everything for us. The implication? Since He was not spared but delivered up for us all, we can be sure He will give us everything we need (Rom. 8:32).

This is what a Christian means by saying, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

You will find the rest of these articles on the Tabletalk website, starting at the link below. If you think you know this psalm so well, you will still be profited in reading the manifold articles in this issue. Your faith will be further founded on the saving work of your Great Shepherd. And that will prepare you for all the experiences of the sheep who need this Shepherd’s perfect care.

Source: The Lord Is My Shepherd; I Shall Not Want

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://cjts3rs.wordpress.com/2018/08/06/august-2018-tabletalk-the-precious-powerful-gospel-of-psalm-23/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: