Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


By Dr. James Modlish
(These outlines are in rough draft format)

The 23rd Psalm
Lesson Two

God's Green Pastures
(Psalm 23:2)



The Bible has much to say about Sheep, Shepherds, and Pastures - it was almost a universal language in Bible times. If the 23rd Psalm were written today like?

Problem: A computer did not die for us!


I. Pasture of Salvation - (Jn. 10:1-9)

A. Sheepfold - high stone fence with one door.

B. Porter - hired night watchman - (slept in door way).

C. Voice - sheep respond to shepherd voice (vs. 27-30).

D. Saved - comes from acknowledging who the door is and by going through that door.

When Dr. Ironside was guest of friends who raised sheep in Washington State, one morning he was startled to see an old ewe go across the road followed by the strangest looking lamb! It had 6 legs and the last 2 were hanging helplessly as if paralyzed, and skin seemed partly torn from its body.

One of the herders explained: "The lamb is really not the ewe's! The latter did have a lamb which was bitten by a rattlesnake and died. The ewe seemed remorseful, and refused to accept a new lamb which was an orphan and needed a mother. At first she sniffed at it and pushed it away, apparently saying: "That's not our family odor!"

So the herders skinned the dead lamb and carefully drew the fleece over the living lamb - leaving hind legs hanging loose. The ewe smelled it again and was satisfied and adopted it as her own.


II. Pastures of the Wilderness - (Ps. 65:9-13)

Natural inclination is to assume the wilderness is associated with desolation - but quite to the contrary. Mountain wilderness areas possess some of the best pasture (Isa. 49:8-11).

Wilderness pastures are a place that are:

A. Difficult to get to.

B. Isolation from the world.

C. Dependence upon God.

D. Great grass.

Lie down in green pastures - Phillip Keller, once a shepherd himself, in his book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, relates:

The strange thing about sheep is that because of their very makeup, it is almost impossible for them to be made to lie down, unless four requirements are met.

First, due to their timidity, they must be free from all fear. Next, because of their sociability, they must be free from friction with others of their kind.

Third, they must be free from flies or parasites if they are to relax. Lastly, they will not lie down unless free from hunger. And it is only the shepherd who can provide release from all anxieties.

Sheep need to have the right shepherd due to their own peculiarities.

A new pastor was invited by the local Kiwanians to join their club. The membership secretary reminded him, however, that it was the rule of the club to have only one representative from each profession and that they already had one for the category of pastor. The only profession not represented at the moment was that of hog-caller. Would the pastor mind? "Well," was the reverend gentleman's reply, "where I come from, I was known as the shepherd, but, of course, you know your group best." 

III. Pastures of Ingratitude - (Hos. 13:4-9)

Wilderness pastures which ate green and rich often turn into drought because hearts are exalted and God is forgotten. (Joel 1:18-20) Never has America had so much and yet so little spiritual pasture.

A simple song of gratitude may save your life!

Ira D. Sankey was traveling by steamboat up the Delaware River. It was a calm, starlit evening and and there were many passengers gathered on the deck. Mr. Sankey was asked to sing. Somehow he was driven to sing the hymn "Saviour, Like A Shepherd Leads Us."

"Can you remember when you were doing picket duty on a bright moonlight night in 1862?" asked a passenger.

"Yes," answered Mr. Sankey, very much surprised.

"So do I," said the stranger, "but I was serving in the Confederate Army. I saw you raised your eyes to heaven and began to sing. Music has always had a wonderful power over me, and I took my finger off the trigger.

"Let him sing his song to the end, I said to myself, I can shoot him afterwards." "but the song you sang then was the song you just sang now. I heard the words perfectly: "We are Thine, do thou befriend us. be the guardian of our way."

"When you had finished your song, it was impossible for me to take aim at you again. I thought: "the Lord who is able to save that man from certain death must surely be great and might" - and my arm dropped limp by my side.

"Since that time I wandered about far and wide; but when I just now saw you standing there singing just as on that other occasion, I recognized you. Then my heart was wounded by your song. Now I wish that you may help find a cure for my sick soul."

Deeply moved, Mr. Sankey threw his arms about the man who had been his enemy. Then the stranger found Him who was their common Savior, the Good Shepherd.

IV. Pastures of Promise - (Joel 2:21-27)

Even though this is a millennial promise made to Israel in the future, we have overtones of Christian New Testament truth.

Example: (vs. 25) Paul says redeeming the time for the days are evil.

Shepherd Waits for Sheep's Surrender -

"Dr. Andrew Boar told me, how, in the highlands of Scotland, sheep would often wander off into the rocks and get into places that they couldn't get out of.

The grass on these mountains is very sweet and the sheep will jump down ten or twelve feet, and can't jump back again. They may be there for days, until they have eaten all the grass.

"The shepherd will wait until they are so faint that they cannot stand, and then he will put a rope around himself and go over and pull the sheep up out of the jaws of death. 'Why doesn't he go down there when the sheep first get there?' I asked. "'Ah!' he said, 'if they did, the sheep are so very foolish they would dash right over the precipice and be killed!'" - D.L. Moody


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  1. The Modern 23rd Psalm (Version 23.1a)

  2. 1). The Lord is my (LAN - Local Area Network Administrator) I shall not want.

  3. 2). He maketh me backup my hard drives to flopticals, he leadeth me to delete old e-mails.

  4. 3). He restoreth my passwords, he leadeth me in the paths of (Office 2000 help-file) righteousness for his
    name's sake.

  5. 4). Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Internet viruses and canceled America Online
    privileges, I will fear no evil; for my LAN Administrator is with me, his firewall and (UPS - Unlimited Power
    Supply) comfort me.

  6. 5). Thou preparest an iMac workstation before me in the presence of mine employer: thou annointest my
    floppy drive heads with oil; my (cash, cache) runneth over.

  7. 6). Surely Internet SPAM and e-mail attachments shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in
    the house of (Group Distribution Mail Lists) for ever.