- The Source
- The Sovereign By Definition
- The Sovereign By Decree
- The Sovereign By Design: Part I
- The Sovereign By Design: Part II
- The Sovereign By Design: Part III
- The Sovereign By Design: Part IV
- The Sovereign By Design: Part V
- The Sovereign By Design: Part VI
- The Sovereign By Design: Part VII
- The Supply: My Giver: Introduction
- The Supply My Giver: Part I
- The Supply My Giver: Part II
- The Supply My Giver: Part III
- The Supply My Giver: Part IV
- The Supply My Giver: Part V
- The Supply My Giver: Part VI
- The Supply My Giver: Part VII
- The Supply My Giver: Part VIII
- The Supply My Giver: Part IX
- The Supply My Giver: Part X
- The Security; My Guard
“…he leadeth me beside the still waters.” (Psalms 23:2b)
As explained previously under the Sovereign heading, “He leadeth…” – He (Jehovah) leadeth (or guides) the Sheep.
The word picture David is giving here is another Action of the Shepherd guiding the Sheep in Provision and in Protection. As was related in The Sovereign By Design: Part IV; Christ, the Shepherd of His Sheep (John 10:1-31), leads or guides His Sheep (a) by Example; (b) by Exhortation; and (c) by Power.
The primary focus of Jehovah, my Shepherd, is the Supply the Sheep receive from His Sovereign Actions. Thus far in the exegesis of the Shepherd as the Supply, it has been noted:
- “…not want” (Psalms 23:1b)
- “…lie down in green pastures…” (Psalms 23:2a)
- And now, in Psalms 23:2b: “…me beside the still waters”
David now continues the Action of the Shepherd as He leads:
A. The Who: “me” (it is Personal)
Praise God that His Salvation and His Supply, both spiritually and physically, are Personal – “me.” This reveals that David’s relationship with Jehovah (“my shepherd”) was a relationship that began with Jehovah, and not with himself (as noted in the devotions under the heading The Source and the Sovereign).
Not to have a repeat of the definitions given in those devotions, but a brief thought on God’s Performance toward the Sheep: (a) Jehovah is the Shepherd; (b) God’s Chosen are styled His Sheep. As John 10:27 says:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Note the progression:
- The Cause – God – they are “My (shows ownership) sheep.”
- The Effect – because of who they are, “my sheep,” they “hear my voice”
- The Result – “they (the sheep) “follow me”
They follow, not as a slave, but as a servant who loves his Master; and therefore, follows (or obeys) his Master.
This following is not a violation of the sheep’s free will; for their will is a sheep’s will, and a sheep’s will is to follow their Shepherd and no one else. Why?
- Because He, the Shepherd, calls them (the sheep) by name; “and he calleth his own sheep by name” (John 10:3).
- They know Him because He first knew them (Ephesians 1:4-11).
- They have been given the ability to hear His voice (John 10:2-3). And they know He is their Shepherd (John 10:4); for “a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:5); “and am known of mine” (John 10:14). The sheep have an internal witness that this is their Shepherd, the Good Shepherd, for “the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
- The Sheep (God’s Chosen) have been given (past tense) Eternal Life (who is Christ Himself; 1 John 5:20) living within the sheep; and they know they shall never perish, and no man can pluck them out of the Shepherd’s hand (John 10:28-30).
Therefore, the Sheep have a personal relationship (or connection) to the Shepherd. They have an understanding (1 John 5:20) of who the Shepherd is (Jehovah, or Christ). And they know (by experience) who they are to the Shepherd (they are His Sheep). They know the Shepherd is their Guide, their God, and now, their Giver (their Supplier).
B. The What: “beside the still waters”
The action of the Shepherd, according to His Plan and Purpose for the Sheep, leads His Sheep beside (or next to; in sight and experience). That is, Christ leads, or guides, His Sheep in life and in physical death, where they can see His Supply; and then He leads them in experience of the “still waters.”
What are the “still waters”?
The “still waters” speaks of waters that are calm and quiet. Therefore, David gives a word picture of peace and rest in the Providences of God.
There are two stages of experiencing the still waters in a Sheep’s life:
First, In initial conversion to Christ as “My Shepherd” in Regeneration:
When you are made to drink of the Water of Life (John 4:1-41), or when you are filled with the Holy Spirit; there comes the knowledge of the Prince of Peace living in you. You understand that He made Peace by the Blood of the Cross (Ephesians 2:13-14; Colossians 1:11-14, 20; Romans 5:1; 8:6; Acts 10:36; 2 Thessalonians 3:16). You understand that in Christ you have been reconciled to God (that is, brought back in to focus with God) and redeemed.
The knowledge of Christ’s Atonement and His indwelling of the believer is the constant and everlasting source of the believer’s peace (Romans 8:29-39).
Second, In the Sheep’s life daily as the Shepherd brings Peace and Rest in:
- His Presence;
- His Promises;
- His Performance.
First, His Presence:
In the Sheep’s daily walk behind the Shepherd, the path gets rough and rugged at times. Sometimes the path leads down in the valley of trials, and sometimes it leads up the hill of resistance.
However, in the midst of all circumstances, my Shepherd is near; He never sleeps; He never leaves me:
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (2) My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. (3) He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. (4) Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. (5) The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. (6) The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. (7) The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. (8) The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”
“I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. (2) The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (3) I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”
However, my Shepherd gives me peace and rest because of who He is, and who I am to Him. He lives in me and gives me an internal witness of His Love for me.
Second, His Promises:
As a Sheep follows the leadership of the Shepherd, he knows the Shepherd loves him; has good for him; and promises to never leave him or forsake him:
“… for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Also see Romans 8:29-39.
Third, His Performance:
The Shepherd has never failed to honor His Promises. And He has never left His Sheep – they are always in His Presence. Sometimes in a Sheep’s path, the cloud of unconfessed sin will cause the Sheep not to see the Shepherd; but in his heart he knows, by experience, that the Shepherd is there, and will not ever be separated from His Sheep.
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6)
How did Paul know this? By knowledge and by experience:
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
Paul was persuaded. How? By knowledge and by experience:
“Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.” (2 Timothy 3:11)
Therefore, Paul knew (by knowledge and by experience) even in death, God would perform His Promises:
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. (7) I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (8) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
This same confidence and persuasion is the Sheep’s, because daily God has loaded the Sheep with benefits (see Psalms 103:2; 116:12; 68:19):
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.” (Psalms 68:19)
Even in all the Sheep’s trials and deliverances, God is there – never sleeping; never leaving – but always supplying His Power to the Sheep, for the Sheep to overcome in the Victory of the Lamb:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
Therefore, David writes of “my shepherd” – “He leadeth (or stands before me in Example, Exhortation, and Power; and guides) me (yes, it is personal; to me) beside the still waters (by sight and by experience; for not only do we see Him, the Shepherd; but we experience His Peace and Rest).”
These waters of life are only still, or calm – no matter whether it be the valley of trials or the hill of resistance – because the Prince of Peace lives within the Sheep. Hallelujah!
Therefore, the Sheep are “more than conquerors through him (Christ, my Shepherd) that loved (past tense; in eternity past, and in time present) us (the Chosen, the Sheep).”
All of God’s Love is revealed in His Atonement for the sins of His Sheep on the Cross. And in the Regeneration Process that ends in Conversion, whereby we cry “Abba, Father.” And in a life of living His Life in us and through us (Romans 5:10, 17) as my Shepherd: my Source, my Sovereign, and my Supply.