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Psalm 23 Part Six

By Pastor Philip Howle
web posted December 5, 2012
RELIGION – There is a reason for the profound popularity of Psalm 23. There is power in the Psalm to connect men and women to God. Charles Allen, many years ago, wrote a book called God's Psychiatry. He told how one time a man who was a complete emotional and spiritual wreck came to visit him. Allen noted how he talked to the man for a good while and wrote him a note: “If you went to see a doctor, he would give you a prescription. So, that's what I'll do.” 

He continued, "Follow this prescription exactly as I write it. Five times a day for seven days I want you to read prayerfully and carefully the twenty-third psalm. When you awaken, before each meal, and at bedtime, read the psalm." The man agreed to do it. Allen says that in a week the man came back a different person.

I do believe the same thing can hold true in your life as well. So much of life is wasted. I mean every second is a gift, but for many of us we spend so much time on things that don’t matter. We live life going through the motions, but devoid of any real and meaningful purpose. Psalm 23:3 is about the Good Shepherd providing direction for His sheep.
I read again in the neat book “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” by Phillip Keller about some unique but common issues that sheep have. First, Keller notes that sheep can get turned over on their backs and be unable to turn back over. This can happen right before an ewe gives birth, when she is fully pregnant. He notes how she will just lay there, helpless and unable to roll over or stand up. 

Amazingly, Keller says that sheep in this condition will not usually cry out for help.  They will sadly flail about in frightful anxiety.  This condition will lead to their death if the Shepherd does not arrive soon.  Keller says that for this reason, shepherds must always be on the lookout for fallen sheep.

Have you ever gotten off path? Have you ever found yourself in a mess that you never would have dreamed that you would have been in? Maybe you are in one now, and for whatever reason in your foolish pride you are refusing to cry out to God for help. Then now as one writer I read this week noted, “If you've fallen down, if you're in a situation that you can't get out of, your Shepherd is out looking for you. If you call to him, he will come. He'll hold you close, then he'll put you on your feet and help you walk again.”

Keller also continues to write how fallen sheep are an everyday part of the shepherd's experience. He further says that some sheep have a very hard time learning from their mistakes. They will repeatedly and stupidly manage to roll themselves over and be unable to get back. So what does the shepherd do? He rescues the sheep again. Why? Because the shepherd cares for his sheep.
There is good news here for us. If you're prone to fall, like so many of us are, know that God will bring you to your feet as many as times as it takes for you to get it right. He will not give up on you. He loves you too much!

I am so thankful for the Bible; it declares to us over and over that God is not a man like us! God does not get angry quick; God does not burn bridges and cut off relationships with his children. Exodus 34:6 reminds us that "God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…”

So today if you are rolled over on your back and helplessly floundering around, you have a Good Shepherd who loves you and who is looking for you! Please cry out for help in faith and humility and you will find a restored soul and God will lead you down his path he has in store for you!

Pastor Phillip

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