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Small Group Bible Study - Leader Guide

Psalm 23:1


David boasts in God, his shepherd, and is content under His care


David was a shepherd as a child and later came to be known as the “shepherd king.” God put David in charge of His own personal flock: the children of Israel.


Read the entire chapter. What stands out? Comments? Questions?

Warm up

List everyone that holds some measure of authority over your life. (parent, spouse, pastor, government, boss, God) Have you ever been unwilling to submit to the authority of someone? What happened? Our sin nature makes us naturally independent and rebellious. (“All we like sheep…” Isaiah 53:6) David trusts in the LORD so completely that he is willing to submit to His authority and call him “shepherd”


Psalm 23:1


Chapter 1: The LORD is my shepherd


“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)







The Importance of metaphor

  • Divine revelation is irrevocably bound up with the basic subjects of the natural world. 10 In order to understand the unknown, we must first understand the known… (To understand who God is we must first understand what a shepherd is, what a father is)

Author’s credibility

  • I grew up and lived in east Africa surrounded by simple native herders whose customs closely resembled those of their counterparts in the Middle East. 10

  • As a young man I actually made my own livelihood for about eight years as a sheep owner and sheep rancher. 11

Who is God?- Why should we entrust ourselves to Him?

  • David knew from firsthand experience that the lot in life of any particular sheep depended on the type of man who owned it. 18

  • Again in Christ he demonstrated at Calvary the deep desire of his heart to have men come under his benevolent care. 20

  • I truly belong to him simply because he has bought me again at the incredible price of his own laid-down life and shed blood. 21

  • If we pause to reflect on the person of Christ- on His power and His achievements- suddenly like David we will be glad to state proudly: the LORD - HE is my shepherd! 16

  • The staggering fact remains that Christ, the creator of such an enormous universe of overwhelming magnitude deigns to call himself my shepherd and invites me to consider myself His sheep- His special object of affection and attention. Who better could care for me? 19

Who are sheep?

  • Sheep do not just take care of themselves as some might suppose. They require more than any other class of livestock endless attention and meticulous care. 22

  • It is no accident that God has chosen to call us sheep. The behavior of sheep and human beings is similar in many ways. Our mass mind (or mob instincts) our fears and timidity, our stubbornness and stupidity, our perverse habits are all parallels of profound importance. Yet despite these adverse characteristics Christ chooses us, buys us, calls us by name, makes us his own, and delights in caring for us. 22

It’s Our Choice...

  • To think that God in Christ is deeply concerned about me as a particular person immediately gives great purpose and enormous meaning to my short sojourn upon this planet. 17

  • The entire poem recounts the manner in which the good shepherd spares no pains for the welfare of his sheep. 22

  • How amazing it is that individual men and women vehemently refuse and reject the claims of Christ on their lives. They fear that to acknowledge His ownership is to come under the rule of a tyrant. 23

  • Basically what it amounts to is this: a person exchanges the fickle fortunes of living life by sheer whimsy for the more productive and satisfying adventure of being guided by God. 26


1. What are other examples of how God uses our knowledge of the world around us to help us understand spiritual truths? (the most important being who He is and who we are.)


2. What other metaphors are used in scripture?

I am the vine you are the branches (John 15:5)

I am the potter you are the clay (Jer 18)

I am your father, you are my child (Eph 4:6)

I am the groom, you are my bride (Mat 9:15)

I am your forgiving father, you are my prodigal son (Luke 15:11)

I am the shepherd you are the sheep. ​​ John 10:11)


Jesus = gate, bread,

Kingdom of God = precious coin, mustard seed,

Christian life = a battle (armour of God)


“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)


Ch 2 I shall not want

The idea of being utterly contentedly in the good shepherd's care and consequently not craving or desiring anything more 29


What does it mean “not to want”?

  • One of the fallacies that is common among Christians today is the assertion that if a man or woman is prospering materially it is a significant mark of the blessing of God on his or her life. This simply is not so. 30

  • The Christian has to see his sojourn upon the planet as a brief interlude during which there may well be some privation in a physical sense. Yet amid such hardship he can still boast “I shall not want” 31

  • It is indeed a delight to visit some of these humble homes where men and women are rich in spirit, generous of heart and large of soul. They radiate a serene confidence and quiet joy that surmounts all the tragedies of their time. They are under god's care and they know it. They have entrusted themselves to christs control and found contentment. 34

  • Contentment should be the hallmark of the man or woman who has put his or her affairs into the hands of god 34

  • I am completely satisfied with his management of my life. Why? Because he is the sheep man to whom no trouble is to great as He cares for his flock. 35


3. How does God use physical and financial trials to draw us closer to Him?

Sometimes we will not come to the LORD unless we need Him.










In response to today’s lesson, we can:

  • Learn that like sheep, we are incredibly vulnerable and dependant on the LORD, our shepherd.

  • Know that God has the right be be our shepherd because He created us and redeemed us.

  • Be sure that even when we lack much, we lack nothing in Christ.















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