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Sermon #2242 —— Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: “The Lord is…”
Text: Psalm 23:1-6
Subject: The Names of God
Readings: Mark Daniel and Mark Henson
Date: Sunday Evening — September 13, 2015
I had planned for the past several weeks to preach to you tonight from Ephesians 1:15-20, until I read Bro. Milton Howard’s bulletin last week. In one of his articles, Bro. Howard showed how the Lord Jehovah shows himself in every verse of Psalm 23. Immediately, I knew I had to preach from that blessed Psalm. Let’s read the psalm together. Then, I will show you what I learned from Milton’s good article.
(Psalm 23:1-6) “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. (3) He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (4) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (5) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
I have two reasons for preaching this message to you. First and foremost, I want to exalt, magnify, extol, honor, praise, and glorify the name of the Lord our God. In the house of God, we honor Godhood, and nothing and no one else. I have every reason to magnify the name of God before you. With the Psalmist, my heart is resolved. “I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell” (Psalm 86:12-13).
God’s great mercy toward me compels me to magnify his name alone. As I think of the mercies of the Lord, my heart cries, “not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake” (Psalm 115:1). God’s mercy toward us is great!
· Eternal, Covenant Mercy.
· Immutable, Electing Mercy.
· Redeeming, Saving Mercy.
· Preserving, Keeping Mercy.
· Daily, Providential Mercy.
Truly, his mercies are great! “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed” (Lamentations 3:22). Therefore, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” And I say, to you who know my God, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:1-3).
That is my first motive in preaching this message. I want to exalt and magnify the name of our great God. And, second, I want you to trust the Lord. And the surest way I know to persuade you to trust him is simply to tell you who he is. If, by the power and grace of God the Holy Ghost, I can just show you who he is, I am confident that you will trust him. If you knew my God, you would trust him. All who ever knew him trusted him. All who ever knew him loved him. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). It is written, “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee” (Psalm 9:10).
No single word in human language is sufficient to serve as a name for our God. Therefore, there are several words by which he is known. It will be instructive and edifying for us to see how the Lord God reveals his name in this 23rd Psalm, using David’s song of praise to tell us who he is.
1. “The LORD is” — With those opening words of this sweet psalm David speaks of our God’s eternal, self-existence and omnipresence. His name is called, Jehovah-shammah in Ezekiel 48:35.
(Ezekiel 48:35) “It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.”
With the eye of inspired prophecy, Ezekiel looked beyond all the struggles, trials, heartaches, and bitter tears which must be endured by God’s elect in this world. He looked beyond Satan’s fury and the world’s opposition to the church’s conquest and final triumph, in the last chapter of his prophecy, the Holy Spirit moved Ezekiel to describe the fullness and completion of God’s church, his Holy City. When the end comes, all God’s elect shall be saved; the Holy City shall be fully inhabited. Ezekiel describes it in these words: “It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is There.” Ezekiel’s final word is this: The name of God’s church, the New Jerusalem, shall be Jehovah-Shammah: “The Lord is There.”
Wherever you are, my brother, wherever you are, my sister, — The Lord is there!
2. “The LORD is my shepherd.” — Jehovah-Ra-ah: The Lord my Shepherd. — Throughout the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior, is revealed to us as a shepherd. Blessed is that man or woman who can, with a heart of true faith, say, “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
In Genesis 49:24, it was promised that “the Shepherd, the stone of Israel,” would come from “the mighty God of Jacob.” Indeed, our Shepherd is the mighty God of Jacob. The prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 40:11) revealed what Christ would do for his sheep, when he revealed himself as our Shepherd. — “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”
In Ezekiel 34:23, God promised that in this gospel age he would gather his elect from the four corners of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, under one great Shepherd. “I will set up one Shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their Shepherd.” In chapter 37, verse 24, the prophet tells us plainly that God’s elect “all shall have one Shepherd.”
Then, in Zechariah 13:7, we have a plain prophecy of Christ’s death, the good Shepherd laying down his life for his sheep. God himself cries out, “Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow! Smite the Shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.”
In John 10 our Lord Jesus Christ describes himself as our Shepherd. “I am the good Shepherd; the good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (v. 11). “I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine” (v. 14). The apostle Paul describes Christ as “Our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,” and calls his blood “the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Hebrews 13:20). The apostle Peter says, “Ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25). And he assures us that “when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 5:4).
This is our Savior’s name: Jehovah-Ra-ah: The Lord my Shepherd. The Lord Jesus Christ was called and appointed by his Father to be our Shepherd in the covenant of grace, before the world began. And by an act of great, condescending grace and infinite love, he freely, voluntarily agreed to be our Shepherd. Thus, from old eternity, Christ assumed all responsibility for the redemption, salvation, and eternal welfare of God’s elect, his sheep (John 10:14-18).
And he is abundantly qualified to be our Shepherd. He is the omniscient God. He knows all his sheep, all our maladies, and all our needs. He knows where his sheep are, what their case is, and what must be done for them. Christ, our Shepherd, is omnipotent. He is the almighty God. He has all power in heaven and earth. He can do all things for us. None of his sheep are in danger. This Shepherd can and will provide for his sheep, protect his sheep, defend his sheep, and save his sheep. In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He will guide and direct his sheep in the best path and bring them all at last to the heavenly fold.
Oh, may God the Holy Spirit teach us to trust our Savior as Jehovah-Ra-ah: The Lord our Shepherd. If Christ is Jehovah-Ra-ah: The Lord my Shepherd, I have nothing to fear, and everything to give me comfort, hope, peace, and joy.
In Psalm 23, David declares a blessed fact which he perceived and rejoiced in by faith. He says, “The Lord is my Shepherd!” As his heart meditated upon this blessed fact, he began to realize the blessings that would surely flow to him because the Lord, Jehovah, the one true and living God, was and is his Shepherd.
3. “I shall not want.” David here speaks of the Lord Jesus as Abraham did on Mount Moriah — Jehovah-jireh, being assured that “the Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14).
The name by which God revealed himself to Abraham, “Jehovah-jireh,” may be translated in three ways. It could be translated “The Lord will See,” or “The Lord will Provide,” or “The Lord shall be Seen.” However we translate this name of our God, Jehovah-jireh expresses the idea of God seeing and of God being seen. For God, to see is to provide. You know how we sometimes say, “I will see to it,” when we mean, “I will take care of it,” or “I will provide for it.” That is the meaning here.
4. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Here David worshipped and adored the Lord God as Jehovah-shalom – The Lord our Peace.
This is the name by which God revealed himself to Gideon (Judges 6:22-24); and this is the name by which God reveals himself to all his elect in the blessed revelation of Christ.
Would you like to have peace? I mean real peace, peace in your heart and soul, peace of mind and peace of conscience. What would you give to have peace with God, to know that God has no quarrel with you? Would you like to be able to go to bed at night and sleep in peace, without anxiety and fear? Blessed is the man who is at peace with God!
How would you like to have peace in this world of strife? What would you give to have a happy, peaceful home, a home without strife, envy, jealousy, and fighting? Blessed is that man whose home is a castle of peace!
What about personal, inward peace? Would you like to have a peaceful, restful heart? Would you be interested in having the secret to a life of peace? Blessed is the man who lives in peace, who has a quiet, peaceful heart, even in the midst of trouble, trial, and heartache!
If your heart is at peace, no outward circumstance can greatly disturb you. If your heart is peaceful, though your life may be turned upside down and pulled inside out, nothing really has power to cast you down. If peace is something you crave, hear this: the name of our God is Jehovah-Shalom: The Lord Our Peace.
5. “He restoreth my soul.” — Our blessed Savior’s name is Jehovah-rapha – “The Lord that healeth thee” (Exodus 15:25-26).
(Exodus 15:25-26) “And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, (26) And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”
· Isaiah 53:5 “With his stripes we are healed.”
· Child of God, you will have many bitter waters to drink. Cast the cross of Christ into those bitter waters and they will be both sweet and refreshing to your soul.
6. “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” — Here we see our dear Savior as — Jehovah-tsidkenu — The Lord our Righteousness righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” — How blessed we are who walk through this world with confident faith in Christ, our Savior, Jehovah-tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness!
7. “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” — Here we see Jehovah-nissi — The Lord our Banner (Exodus 17:15).
At times it seems that our spiritual warfare will surely end in defeat. Like Moses, we get weary. Our legs are feeble. Our hands begin to sag. It appears that we will surely fall to the enemy. But, just when we have no strength, Christ our High Priest, represented by Aaron, and the Spirit of God, represent by Hur, whose name means liberty, inspire us to lift up our hands in prayer to God. Fixed upon Christ, our sure Foundation Stone, we again see the Rod of God, our mighty Savior, exalted and lifted up like a banner before us. “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith,” we prevail over our enemies. Our exalted Savior gives us assurance that, when the day of our warfare is over, we shall win the victory over our enemies. Our great Commander says to us, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). And by his grace we too shall overcome the world. At the end of the day, “Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-Nissi” (v. 15), which means, “the Lord our Banner”.
What does all that mean? Look at verse 6. — “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”