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“Who Is My Shepherd?!”
July 19, 2015Posted by on
In this short series we’re going to explore one of the most familiar sections from the Book of the Psalms, in the Old Covenant part of the Bible. “Psalms” is a sort of prayer-book/song-book – for some 3000 years it’s been used in the spiritual life of the Jewish and Christian people of God. It’s been used in the words of ceremony for the ancient Temple services, for individual personal prayer, as words for songs, and for imagery that spans centuries of thought and interaction with God. In fact, the evidence is very good that Jesus Himself used the Psalms as a beginning-point in His own prayer life to the Father. We can read these songs and prayers and find vocabulary and expression for our own hearts as we reach out to God.
But Psalms is more than a prayer-book for us to learn from and use – it’s an invitation into knowing God. It’s an invitation into living experience with Him. We’ll explore a little of that as we walk through one of the most familiar of them all, Psalm 23. You know, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want …”
Familiarity can be a good thing when we use it properly. But it can blind us to bigger, deeper things that God wants to do with us. We’re going to read a familiar passage, in a somewhat unfamiliar way – we’ll look at some things that are obvious to the original readers, which we might miss.
Let’s enter into life, with God in His place and us in ours. What does it mean to be a “sheep,” and Who is our Shepherd?!
July 19, 2015 “Who Is My Shepherd?” How do we move from not believing in God at all to believing in Him and connecting with Him? From never really thinking about Him, to interacting with Him? From holding the moral code and beliefs, into also knowing Him day to day? In this one, we’ll begin exploring what it means for God to be our Shepherd, and for us to be His sheep. Might be a little different from what you’re used to.
July 26, 2015 “Enemies? A table?” Many things about this Psalm become confusing – until we realize that the writer has shifted the scene of his words, to something that’s happened in his community. What does it mean for the Lord to set a table? to anoint with oil? for goodness and steadfast love to follow me all my days? It’s hard for a sheep to appreciate all this – but for humans, that’s another story altogether.
August 2, 2015 “Good Grief!” (Psalm 22) Conor Wilkerson very ably shared this one with us. How do we make sense of the different kinds of Psalms we have? Which kind is most common? It might really surprise us to discover that most Psalms aren’t worship – or praise – or confession of sin – or history. The largest group of Psalms is “lament,” that is, Psalms of “grieving, expressed well.” Why is that, and how can knowing this help us connect with God? Let’s read Psalm 22 and learn how to do this.
August 16, 2015 “My Hope is in You!” (Psalm 25) This morning we look at one of the Psalms that leads us directly into confronting God and His goodness, His “uprightness.” What does this kind of God do with people like us who don’t have our act together? How do we “put our hope” in Him?
August 23, 2015 “My God, the King!” (Psalm 145) This beautiful Psalm helps us enter into knowing God – the God who loves and rescues people – as our King. It introduces us into what life looks like and feels like when our lives are guided by His rule – how we enter into His tasks of reaching people – generation to generation and nation to nation.