Psalm 23 - Outline

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Encourage the listener to follow the "Good Shepherd."  Text: Psalm 23.


1. Read Psalm 23.

2. This Psalm was written by David during a very difficult time in his life.

3. Saul was pursuing him and trying to kill him.

4. David gives us a wonderful example of the contentment and peace that should encourage us all.

5. Let us notice:

a. The Lord is my Shepherd.

b. I shall not want for Guidance.

c. I shall not want for Protection.

d. I shall not want for Peace.

e. Then we will ask: "Who is my Shepherd?"



A. What is implied when David says that the LORD is his shepherd?

1. Sheep are dumb animals who rely totally on their shepherd for the necessities of life.

2. Sheep know their shepherd's voice.

3. Sheep will follow that shepherd wherever he goes.

4. A good shepherd will risk his life for his sheep.

B. David says, "I shall not want."

1. David realized that as long as the LORD was his shepherd certain things would be provided for him.

2. A good shepherd provides for all the needs of his sheep.

3. What things would David "not want" as a follower of the LORD?


A. The LORD would guide David in such a way that his physical needs would be provided (v.2).

1. Don't forget the circumstances in which David was living.

2. He was homeless.

3. He was being pursued by King Saul who was trying to kill him.

4. He described himself as a step away from death (1 Sam 20:3). "And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death".

5. Yet David was sure that the Lord would provide.

B. The LORD would guide David in such a way as to provide for his spiritual needs (v.3).

1. David says that the LORD restored his soul.

a. By providing for David's need's God was encouraging him to go on.

b. This restoring was an ongoing thing.

2. Also, the LORD led David in the paths of righteousness.

a. Just as a shepherd leads his flock down a path which produces good.

b. So God leads His sheep down a path which produces righteousness, which is good works (1 John 3:7). "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous."


A. David says a table is prepared for him in the presence of his enemies.

1. David had many enemies.

2. Yet these enemies would sit by and watch as all of David's needs were met to overflowing.

B. He says the LORD anoints his head with oil.

1. This could be for medicinal purposes.

2. David feels so blessed that he says his cup is running over.


A. David did not have to fear anything.

B. His physical needs were being met.

C. His spiritual needs were being met.

D. And he did not have to fear death.

1. His shepherd knew that valley well.

2. His shepherd could safely lead him through that valley to the other side.

3. His shepherd would not leave him but would be there "with" him all the way.


A. Everyone on earth has a shepherd.

1. Some follow the Lord.

a. The Lord calls Himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:11). "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." 

b. His sheep know Him (John 10:14). "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine."

c. His sheep recognize His voice (John 10:27). "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."

d. His sheep follow Him and none other (John 10:27).

2. Some follow Satan.

a. The majority of the world is being led by Satan (Matt 7:13-14).

b. That way leads to destruction (Jer 10:23). "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."  (Proverbs 14:12) "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

3. There is no middle ground. (Matt 6:24). "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

4. Who is your shepherd?

B. Those who follow Christ will have all their needs provided.

1. Physical needs (Matt 6:33).

2. Spiritual needs:

a. He leads us in paths of righteousness (Psalms 119:105).

b. His word thoroughly furnishes us to all good works (2 Tim 3:16-17)

c. He restores the soul that was once lost (Romans 3:23; 6:23; John 3:16; Eph 1:3).

3. Peace.

a. From knowing that we are Christ's sheep (Phil 4:6-9). "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."

b. That he will provide for our needs.

c. That we need not fear what men may do to us (Matt 10:28). "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

d. That He has been through the valley of death and come out the other side.

e. That, for Christ's sheep, death is gain (Phil 1:21). "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

C. Who is your shepherd?


1. We all follow someone.

2. Who is your shepherd?

3. God wants you to follow Him through the paths of righteousness which end in eternal life.

4. Isn't that what David meant in Psalm 23:6.

5. Offer Invitation.

-- Ralph Price, 2001 --

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