What’s your Choice?

May 24th, 2020

Minoh International Church
Speaker: Bradley Mawer
Psalm 23
詩篇 23 JLB

Today, I’d like us to focus on one of the most frequently quoted chapters of the Bible. Can anyone guess what chapter I’m talking about? If we talk about most quoted verses then John 3:16 or Jeremiah 29:13 are probably the Top-2 but what about an entire chapter? Well, I’m talking about Psalm 23!

Most of us can probably recite the whole chapter without even looking at our Bibles, some of us could even sing various versions of this Psalm. So, why this Psalm for today’s message?

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want….

Psalm 23:1


詩篇 23:1

I don’t know about you but sometimes, I wonder why this analogy of a Shepherd? After all, Jesus wasn’t a shepherd. He was the son of a carpenter and going by the tradition of the day, he would have been a carpenter himself. This Psalm was indeed written by Kind David who as we all know was a shepherd boy.

So, why this analogy of our Lord as a Shepherd? There are of course plenty of reasons for that and several Bible commentaries will go in to great detail of God playing the role of Shepherd and we His sheep. Here are just some of those verses.

Then he led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.

Psalm 78:52

52 しかし、ご自分の民を羊の群れのように導き出し、荒野の道を無事に進ませてくださいました。

詩篇 78:52

But we your people, the sheep of your pasture

Psalm 79:13

13 そうすれば、神の民である私たちは、いつまでも感謝し、のちのちまであなたの偉大さをほめたたえるでしょう。

詩篇 79:13

I have gone astray like a lost sheep;

Psalm 119:176

176 羊のようにあてどもなくさまよう私を捜し出してください。私は、ご命令に背いたりしませんでしたから。

詩篇 119:176

All we like sheep have gone astray

Isaiah 53:6

6 私たちは神の道を離れ、羊のようにさまよい出て、自分勝手な道を歩いてきました。しかし神は、私たち一人一人の罪を彼に負わせたのです。

イザヤ書 53:6

For thus says the Lord God: Behold I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out.

Ezekiel 34:11

11 主は語ります。「わたしは自分の羊を必ず捜し出す。…

エゼキエル書 34:11

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd

Matthew 9:36

36 このように、ご自分のところにやって来る群衆をごらんになって、イエスの心は深く痛みました。彼らは、かかえている問題が非常に大きいのに、どうしたらよいか、どこへ助けを求めたらよいかわからないのです。ちょうど、羊飼いのいない羊のようでした。

マタイの福音書 9:36

I don’t want to go into that. I want us to look at it from a different angle. Maybe something easier to understand, even without much Biblical knowledge.

Right, so if the Lord is my shepherd, that would make me a sheep. Most Christians can easily understand that provided they have retained some of what has been taught to them in Sunday School and from Church pulpits over the years. But, not everyone gets it! In fact, some people might think – Hold on, I’m way smarter than a sheep, right?

All a sheep does is walk, chew, wander off, be led back, chew some more, retire to the shed, sleep it off and wake up the next morning and repeat! Once in a while, it might just need a haircut! I’m way cooler way more complicated than that and so are you, right. We wake up, we have coffee, we have breakfast, we go to work, we think, we discuss, we make decisions, we make money, we plan, we get emotional, we laugh, cry, shout, walk, dance, sing, eat……or the list goes on.

In fact we are so complicated that none of us have exactly the same routine and for most of us no 2 days are ever alike. But then we go to sleep and we wake up again and what do we do…the same thing. Yes, there might be a few things different, I might just wake up in a good mood, or might just smile but that rarely happens. The bottom-line is we pretty much end up doing the same things over again. So, you see we are no different than sheep. Yes, we might be busier than sheep with more to do, but we are really sheep!

Now, let’s look at the other side… The Lord as our Shepherd.

Now, I think the most important thing about being a shepherd is to know what exactly the sheep are thinking. I’m a teacher and as most teachers will tell you, the essence of keeping a class under control is knowing who to keep an eye on. I know Bradley is going to get antsy so every 2 minutes I need to make eye-contact and give him the “I’m watching you stare”.

So, if Jesus is our Shepherd he should know us pretty well.

Brothers and Sisters, for me this is what separates Christianity from all the other religions in the world. Our God sent his only Son into the world, to be born as human, to live like us, to die for us. Why would he do that? Yes, to forgive our sins and give us everlasting life. But I think there is an important part that we miss – Jesus became one of us!
皆さん、他のどんな宗教とも異なるキリスト教の「独自性」はここにあります。「ヨハネの福音書」3:16「 実に神は、ひとり子をさえ惜しまず与えるほどに、この世界を愛してくださいました。それは、神の御子を信じる者が、だれ一人滅びず、永遠のいのちを得るためです。」神はそのひとり子をこの世に遣わされ,そのひとり子は人として生まれ,私たちと同じように人として生き,そして私たちのために死なれました。なぜそのようなことをされたのでしょうか。私たちの罪を赦し,永遠の命を与えるためです。しかし私は,見逃してはならない事実がここにあると考えます。それは,イエス様が私たちと同じく「人間」として生きられたということです。

Brothers and Sisters, our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins but he didn’t just show up and say, ‘Hey! Pilate, crucify me and get this over with so people’s sins will be forgiven and we can all be united with God again!’ He could have, right? I mean Jesus is God! So if he wanted to make his suffering short and sweet, he could have. But, he didn’t.

He chose to be born as human flesh and blood, to live and experience life like we do, to face the ups and downs like we do. Why? So that, when we say, “Hey, I’m no sheep Lord, I’m way more complicated than that”. His very simple answer is “I know. I’ve been there”.

Let’s take a step back from Psalm 23, and look at some select verses from Psalm 22.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.
7 All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
17 All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.
19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.

Psalm 22

1 神よ、私の神よ。どうして、私をお見捨てになったのですか。どうして、助けるどころか、うめきさえ聞いてくださらないのですか。
2 私は昼となく夜となく泣いては、助けを叫び求めていますのに、あなたは答えてくださいません。
7 私を見ると、だれもがあざけり、冷笑し、肩をすくめます。
8 彼らは、こう言って笑います。「これが、主に重荷を肩代わりしてもらったという男なのか。主のお気に入りだとうぬぼれていたやつか。主に助け出されるところを見せてもらおうではないか。そうしたら信じてやってもいい。」
9-11 主よ、以前はいつも助けてくださったではありませんか。母の胎から安全に取り上げ、幼い日々も、無事に過ごさせてくださったではありませんか。私は生まれてこのかた、ずっと主を頼りとして生きてきたのです。
17 自分の骨を、一本残らず数えることができるほどです。私を見てはほくそ笑む、この悪人どもをごらんください。
18 彼らはくじ引きで、私の着物を分け合うのです。
19 ああ主よ、そばにいてください。ああ、私の力である神よ、大急ぎで助けに来てください。

詩篇 22

Do the words that I just read sound familiar to you? Psalm 22 is often referred to as “Psalm of the Cross” and you can see, even though the reasons for Jesus’ pain and anguish may not be the same as ours, He knows what we go through. In fact, we go through pain and suffering because of our own doing, Jesus went through it all for our sake. He was innocent and yet he suffered.

That’s why He is our Shepherd. That’s why He has every right to be our Shepherd and that’s why it would be very foolish of us to not want to be His sheep!

With Sheep and Shepherd now established, let’s look into the other verses of Psalm 23.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3  he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Psalm 23:2-3

2-3 主は私を豊かな牧草地にいこわせ、ゆるやかな流れのほとりに導いて行かれます。主は傷ついたこの身を生き返らせ、主の栄光を現すことができるよう、私を助けてくださいます。

詩篇 23:2-3

For most of us what do we imagine when we think of green pastures? I imagine lush green hills, clean air, some cattle grazing, no cars in sight, a blue sky, and Maria singing ‘The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music’.

However If you’ve ever looked at pictures of the landscape around Bethlehem where David took care of his sheep, you will notice that most of the pastures are pretty barren. It is just rocky hillsides with very little greenery if any! So, what are these green pastures then? Green pastures beside quiet waters that refresh the soul and guide one along the right paths?

The answer is the ‘Word of God’. As we read and meditate on the Word, God will help us to lie down in green pastures, where our minds and bodies will find rest and nourishment, where our souls will be refreshed and our paths will be made clear.

If you choose to let Jesus be your Shepherd, then you must be ready to let him guide you. Everything you need is written in this book and as you read through these pages, you will understand God’s purpose in your life, and you will find rest and peace for your body, mind and soul. Just picking up the Bible and reading it, will not give you that unless you have decided to let Jesus be your Shepherd!

104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Psalm 119: 104-105

104 あなたの戒めから受ける真の知恵と理解力のおかげで、私はまちがったすべての教えを退けることができました。
105 あなたのおことばは、つまずかないように道を照らしてくれる明かりです。

詩篇 119:104-105

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Psalm 23:4-5

4 たとえ、死の暗い谷間を通ることがあっても、恐れません。主がすぐそばにいて、私の行く道をいつもお守りくださるからです。
5 主は私の敵の前で、私のためにすばらしい食卓を備え、大切な客としてもてなしてくださいます。それは、あふれるほどの祝福です。

詩篇 23:4-5

Imagine this for a moment, you are standing at the entrance of an alley way. The alley way is full of people who could hurt you. Some might steal your belongings, some might punch you in the face, some might hit you with a bat, some might pull a gun on you, some might even kill you. But don’t worry, you have a choice before you – you can choose a guide to walk you down that path.


  • Anthony Joshua
  • Superman
  • The Rock
  • Doraemon
  • Osaka no Obachans
  • A Shepherd
  • Ultraman

Who are you going to choose? Let’s be honest, you will never choose a shepherd. Not when you have people waiting to pounce on you. Doraemon with his 4D pocket and cool gadgets is probably but your best choice.

But the Bible tells us otherwise. Christian preachers tell us otherwise. Right now, I’m telling you too – choose the Shepherd. But, don’t just choose any shepherd – Choose Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.

Why? Because Jesus has promised to be with you, he will not abandon you. He will not only protect you from the physical danger that may surround you, he will protect you from every type of danger. He will take care of your pain, your anguish, your suffering. He will give you exactly what you need, when you need it.

13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

John 14:13-16

13 わたしの名によって、父に願い求めなさい。どんなことでもかなえてあげましょう。父が子によってほめたたえられるためです。 14 わたしの名によって願い求めることは、必ずかなえられるのです。

ヨハネの福音書 14:13-16

Brothers and sisters, shepherds often pour oil on the heads of their sheep. This is to help the sheep should they get stuck in fences or thorns and it also prevents fleas and insects from getting into their ears, nose and eyes. The oil keeps them safe while they wander off to graze. In the same way, God will protect us, He will prepare us for every difficulty they may come before us.

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

6 何事も心配しないで、どんな時でも神に祈りなさい。そして、祈りに答えてくださる神に感謝しましょう。 7 そうすれば、人間の理解をはるかに超えた、すばらしい神の平安を経験します。キリスト・イエスにあって、その平安はあなたがたの心と思いを静め、安らかにしてくれるのです。

ピリピ人への手紙 4:6-7

Yes, in Christ Jesus, you will be able to rejoice even in the presence of your enemies, your cup will overflow at all times and when you walk through the darkest valley’s in the shadow of death, you will not be afraid. So, choose the Shepherd, He not only will protect you but He will also best prepare you.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23:6

6 生きている限り、主の恵みといつくしみが、私を追ってきます。やがて、私は主の家に帰り、いつまでもあなたとともに暮らすことでしょう。

詩篇 23:6

We are in difficult times right now. The Coronavirus situation has left many people dead, many people critically ill, many have lost family members, many have lost jobs, schools are closed, businesses are going bankrupt, there is just chaos and uncertainty everywhere. Not a single country has been spared. If you haven’t been affected by it, then count yourself lucky. Consider yourself extremely blessed and give thanks to God.

But remember this, no one is safe from the trials and tribulations of this life. Trouble will come, despair and grief will get you one day no matter how happy-go-lucky, how spiritual, how holy, how rich, how privileged, how invincible you might feel now. You are not going to be spared because that’s just how life is.

Show me someone who hasn’t experienced pain and I will show you someone who hasn’t lived.

But amongst all that we have Psalm 23:6. The promise of goodness and love all the days of your life. David is talking about life, here and now. The second part refers to our life in eternity with God. But the first part, that’s here and now. In the midst of all the chaos, in the middle of this Global tragedy, your life can be full of goodness and love. Are you going to take it? The choice is yours. Will you choose the superhero, movie hero, sports hero, or the Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. Let me emphasize this one last time – the choice is yours.

The reason I chose Psalm 23 as the theme of my message today is to share with you the secret of my Christian life.
Brothers and Sisters,
The Lord is My Shepherd, I do not want…..
Let the Lord Jesus be your Shepherd and I assure you that You Shall not Want.

God bless you all.

Let us pray.