The Divine Presence

Bible Book: Psalms  23 : 4
Subject: Hardships; Difficulties; Peace of God, Good Shepherd
Series: Psalm 23

There is no greater feeling in my life than the divine presence of peace. When trials come into our lives it is most horrifying not to feel God near. This verse assures us that IF the Lord is our Shepherd that God's presence will be with us even in and amidst our darkest hour. Picture this with me. A shepherd leads his flock from pasture to pasture. It becomes necessary to lead the flock from time to time through steep, dangerous, dark and narrow terrain. One false move could bring instant death. But they follow the shepherd. Why? The answer is simple! Because he is a good shepherd and he knows the way and will protect his sheep. They follow because they trust! Notice with me if the Lord is your Shepherd...there will be:

I. Challenges in your Life, vs. 4.

A. The Pace in which the Shepherd Must Lead Us, vs. 4.

Yea, though I walk... vs. 4.

Notice clearly the pace with which the Shepherd leads - walk. This Hebrew word "walk" carries with it the idea of being led, being carried or being caused to walk. All of these suggest that it is a slow, calculated move. Listen! When the Lord is your Shepherd He's not going to rush you haphazardly into life's trials. He will either closely lead you or if necessary He will even carry you.

We not only see the pace in which the Shepherd must lead us but also the place in which the Shepherd must lead us.

B. The Place in which the Shepherd Must Lead Us, vs. 4.

...through the valley of the shadow of death... vs. 4.

Sometimes God will have to lead us into places or positions or situations in this life that are not easy.

Notice what he says in the New Testament in Matthew 16:24-27.

And more clearly see the word in Luke 9:23, "daily".

Sometimes our personal desires will have to be denied. As all of you who have taken this journey with Christ know that it's not easy to go to Calvary.

Some of you will struggle with that very decision here in a few minutes when the invitation is given. Christ will ask you to go through the valley of the shadow of death, to die to your sin, to die to your habits, to die to your disobedience.

Not only do you see the challenges in your life but also the comfort in your life.

II. The Comfort in your Life, vs. 4.

A. There is a Personal Promise, vs. 4.

...thou art with me... vs. 4.

Again let me be quick to say "IF the Lord is your Shepherd" you're not going through this alone. Notice this is a personal promise "...thou art with me..."

It's personal because I'm going through this valley, there's no getting around it.

Two things stick out at me here:

  • #1 God is with me.
  • #2 I'm going through, which means I'm not stuck in it!

Notice Luke 8:22-25. Somehow we fit into vs. 24 too often, but Jesus said, :"...let us go over unto the other side." But the disciples said, "we perish" vs. 24. Who was right? Notice vs. 26, "And they arrived..." Of course Jesus was right. He always is!

Let this be a comfort for your life; "...yea, though I walk through...: When the Lord is your Shepherd you are going to have His personal protection through life's trials. That's a personal promise!

Not only do we see His personal promise, but also His prodding protection.

B. His Prodding Protection, vs. 4.

...I will fear no evil...thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. vs. 4.

How do I know God's with me? There's an unexplainable peace that surpasses all understanding. "I will fear no evil."

And a loving prod from his staff. The rod was used to ward off the enemies but the staff was used to care for the sheep. It's amazing how God uses His staff to prod us onto the path of righteousness.

Nathan, the prophet, was used as a staff to bring David back on the right path after his sin with Bathsheba.

Yes, sometimes the staff delivers a sharp blow but please know it is delivered in love.

Notice the last part of our verse "...they comfort me." vs. 4.

I know His rod will protect me and His staff will lead me in the path of righteousness and that brings me comfort. Do you have that assurance today? Notice Psalm 37:24:

"Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.."