Sometimes, when I see a sermon or teaching on Psalm 23, I quickly pass it by. I mean…..what more can I really learn here? Don’t get me wrong, I love Psalm 23! I’ve had it memorized since I was 7 years old. I say it to myself often and teach it to my children. I recite it when I shop: “ I shall not want”, I recite it when I’m scared at night: “I will fear no evil”, I say it when I’m hyper: “He leads me along still waters”, I remember all my blessings and say “thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over”, I say it when those around me are angry or disapprove of my christian beliefs “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” and sometimes for no reason at all, I will say out loud “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”. I love it. I’ve heard all the sermons, done all the studies, and I thought, what more can there be?
Recently I was finishing up a bible study on Psalms at Sheridan House Ministries . The ending study was Psalm 23. I thought, really? Can’t I do something new? What more can I learn here? I sat down to answer the questions and decided to change my thoughts. I said to myself, I am going to dig and dig into this until I find something new…and I DID!!! Super cool!….. and so what if I’m not the first, I mean it has been written for 3000 years, but still! I’m happy…
The Lord is my Shepherd
Thy Ruling Scepter and thy Staff to lean on, they comfort me
And here’s my discovery- or theory: The Shepherd, the rod and the staff may symbolize – The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
And here is why…..
I.The word “rod” from Psalm 23 is “Shebet” in Hebrew (H7626) and has 4 meanings:
1- Sceptre:ruling scepter
3-Stick for fighting or to punish the Nations
Sceptre: (Shebet used 10X in scripture at a scepter):Scepter means rule or ruling power. Look at the verses below and you will see that each verse with Shebet as scepter speaks of the Messiah:
The sceptre (shebet) shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes, and in Numbers 24:17 Balaam (the one who beat the talking donkey) prophesied: “I perceive Him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob , a scepter (Shebet) will emerge from Israel” Balam prophesied this of a distant ruler-called shebet- the Rod” Gen 49:10
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Hebrews 1:8 KJV
Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else Myrrh, aloes, and cassia perfume your robes. In ivory palaces the music of strings entertains you. Kings’ daughters are among your noble women. At your right side stands the queen, wearing jewelry of finest gold from Ophir! (Wow! This reminds me of us, the bride of Christ, and the Wedding feast of the Lamb.- and buy from me gold- so much in this verse!- He rules with a scepter of Justice, God has anointed Him with Oil of Joy) Ps 45:6-10
New Testament proof to back up the kingship: The angel spoke this to Mary “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:32-33, Luke 3:23-34, Revelation 5:5 “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof Jacob”
What does this prove? It proves in Numbers, that a ruler, shebet, will rise from Israel/ Jacob. We know this is Jesus and confirmed in Luke 1 when the Angel tells Mary that her son will rule the house of Jacob forever and in Luke 3 and Matthew 1 we are given the genealogy of Jesus which goes back to Judah, Jacob, and Abraham. Revelation’s verse also confirms that He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the root of David- the Lamb, the only one worthy enough to loose the seven seals. So we can conclude that Shebet in this verse represents Jesus, the Son of God.These verses are about Jesus- The Ruler, the Shebet- the Rod in Psalm 23.
2- Branch and who is the branch?- It’s Jesus!!!! Look at the verses below using the word Shebet as branch:
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked Is 11:1-4
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch , and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. Jeremiah 23:5
In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land Jeremiah 33:15
It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth (are you going to be happy about this)? it contemneth (rejected or cast off) the rod(rule) of my son, as every tree. This verse is a warning from the Lord about the slaughter about to come on the people because of their sins. He asks- are you going to be happy about this? It varies according to translations – but the original says they cast off or rejected the rule (shebet/rod) of the son– interesting. Ez 21:3 -10
3-Stick for fighting or to punish the Nations– sounds like the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God and the Word was God and was with God and that is Jesus! Also Revelation 19:11 comes to mind. Also
Is 10:5, 10:15, 10:24, 14:5 mention Shebet at a Rod of punishment
The king proclaims the Lord’s decree:“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,the whole earth as your possession. You will break them with an iron rod (shebet-sceptre) and smash them like clay pots.’” Psalm 2:7-9
4-Tribe/ruling tribe.140x The ruling tribe was Israel and out of Israel came Judah and out of Judah shall come a ruling scepter from the house of David and His name shall be called wonderful! Counselor! Mighty God!
II. Who is the Shepherd in the Old Testamant?
For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. ez 3411-12
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young is 40:11-
By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people Exodus 13:21
The Lord is my Shepherd. Psalm 23
O God, why have you rejected us forever? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? ps74:1
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones Zechariah 13:7
III. Does the STAFF represent the Holy Spirit? (H4938) mish‛ênâh mish‛eneth: means support of every kind, to lean on. The staff was used to lean on, to strengthen, and help when the shepherd got tired. That is what the Holy Spirit does for us – and much, much more. The Holy Spirit supports us, guides us, and leads us unto the truth- just as a staff would be used to lead the sheep.
And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 2:4
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. Romans 8:26
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 16:13-15
The church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged(comforted) by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers. Acts 9:31
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate (comforter, consoler) who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. John 14:15-21
The Spirit of God within me- convicts and shows me when I’ve been wrong, teaches me, leads me along the best path for my life, tells me what the Father says, gives me strength, and loves me. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth, strengthens our spirit when we are weak and tired(Eph 3) Helps us obey the truth (1Peter 1) When I cannot rely on my own strength, the Holy Spirit is always there for me. The Holy Spirit fills me with love, power, and a sound mind. With the Spirit of God, there is no fear. In Him I rely on, I trust, I lean on and I follow.
The Lord is my Shepherd
Thy Ruling Scepter and thy Staff to lean on, they comfort me
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 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. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Amen and Amen.