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Chinese4/26/2006English
經文:詩篇第廿三、廿四、廿五篇
鑰節:「我一生一世必有恩惠慈愛隨著我,我且要住在耶和華的殿中,直到永遠。」(23:6)
提要

        詩篇第廿三篇也許是所有詩篇中最著名的,也是廣為人們所默誦的一篇。它使所有信靠耶和華的人可以得到平安、安慰、屬靈的力量、鼓勵、及快樂。聖經中多處都可以看到牧羊人與羊群的比喻。那位仁慈、有同情心、溫柔、善良的牧羊人就是主耶穌基督。耶穌經常說祂自己是一位牧羊人;很多新約作者及舊約先知都提到耶穌是牧羊人(約10:11~19;26~28;來13:20;彼前2:25;5:4;賽40:11;49:9~10;耶31:10~12)。祂來到世上就是要尋找拯救失喪的羊群;當祂看到羊群沒有牧人時,祂就憐憫他們(路15:4~7;賽53:6),祂與以色列的自私牧羊人不同(結34:2~6),因為耶和華是良善信實的牧人,以愛心照顧、引導、保護、安慰祂的羊群。祂尋找那些失喪的羊群、餵養他們、給他們休息、醫治他們的創傷(結34:11~16)。耶和華總是高舉牧羊人,古時的族長、摩西、大衛、阿摩司,還有好些人都享有這樣的地位。大衛曾做過牧羊人及他終生信靠耶和華的經驗,有助他寫這篇具有遠見的詩篇。

        有一個字雖小,但卻非常重要;耶和華稱為「我的」牧者。我們有什麼權利認為自己是祂的羊呢?上一篇詩篇就為我們提供了一個很好的理由:那就是耶穌基督,好牧人,獻上了贖罪祭,為祂的「羊群」捨棄了祂的生命(耶穌為世人捨棄了生命),凡屬祂羊群的人就是祂所認識(按上帝的旨意所生),也認識祂的人(約10:11、14);由於他們「信祂的名」,自然就「接待祂」(約1:12~13)。

        耶和華讓羊群享有的美好事物包括:祂提供養生物質(食物與水;詩23:1~2),及各種屬體的需要給羊群,就像一位典型好客的中東主人一樣(23:5)。祂使羊群躺臥在「青草地上」。此類青草地在聖地並不多見,所以牧羊人必須領著他的羊群從一個草地去到另一個草地。因此,羊群都非常信任他,跟著他走,好持續得著這種寧靜的安息。

        好牧人也為祂的羊群提供屬靈的需要。跟從耶穌,順服祂,可以恢復我們跟上帝之間的屬靈交通(23:3)。為什麼靈魂的「大牧人」要帶領我們走公義的道路?為了祂名的緣故。那完全是出於祂的恩典,我們本不配得到祂的恩典。當我們活出公義時,它會使上帝的名得榮耀。反之,羊群的惡劣行為也會給牧者帶來恥辱。

        當羊群從一個可安息的草場走向另一個草場時,他們必須穿過路旁有懸崖峭壁、及山洞的狹谷。牧羊人的領導及同在使羊群不致受到傷害。(詩78:52~54),所以有信心的跟從者不必心懷恐懼。慈愛的牧羊人必須用祂的牧杖控制羊群,使他們不致走到危險的地方,因為那裡可能藏有熊與獅子;雖然牧杖有時會讓人覺得痛,那也是好事,因為它可以帶來安慰。當他們走過狹谷時,他們會看到「死亡的陰影」(23:4),但是「死蔭」不會傷害他們,也不會導致死亡,就像獅子的影子不會傷害人類一樣。不論那裡有陰影,那裡必有光亮。在死亡的陰影之前,就有耶穌基督的光(27:1;約8:12);以及「祂使死蔭變為晨光」(摩5:8)。祂已將死亡廢去,祂的復活使跟從祂的人得到生命之光(提後1:10)。「恩惠慈愛」不僅相隨,而且「緊追著」耶和華的羊群。他們大可以放心,他們與耶和華有永遠的靈交(23:6)。

        詩篇第廿四篇是一篇莊嚴的詩篇,也許可以由兩個詩班用啟應的方式頌唱──一個詩班唱出問題,另一個詩班則唱出答案。它的寫作日期可能是大衛成功地將約櫃送至耶城的時候(撒下6:12)。他們頌讚上帝的榮耀,並歌頌祂統治大地與一切受造物(參西1:15~17)。他們也答道,唯有真心尋求祂、手潔心清的人才能站在上帝的面前。當約櫃──代表耶和華的顯現──接近耶城時,他們要求城門大開,迎接榮耀的偉大君王。

        詩篇第廿五篇是一篇悔罪、求上帝赦罪、求上帝拯救脫離仇敵威脅的詩篇。有趣的是,它是一篇「字首詩」(Acrostic Poem),按照希伯來文字母的順序,形成一個架構;因此,它的思想並不像其他詩篇那樣流暢。大衛對耶和華的信心很大,因為他「終日」憑信心等候主。他不停地禱告,因為他完全獻身於上帝。他祈求上帝:「指示我」、「教訓我」、及「引導我」,好讓他永遠守上帝的約,過著公義的生活,敬畏耶和華。

禱告

        親愛的上主,感謝您作我們的好牧人,照顧我們每天的需要。願我們不斷地順從您的帶領,好讓我們永遠住在您的殿中。奉主耶穌基督聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Psalms 23, 24 &25
Key Verse:"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."(Psalm 23:6)
Overview

        Psalm 23 is probably the best known and widely memorized of all the psalms. It gives peace, comfort, spiritual strength, encouragement, and happiness to all those who trust in the Lord. The analogy of the Shepherd and sheep is found throughout the whole Bible. It points to the kind, compassionate, gentle, and good shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus often referred to Himself as a shepherd, and many New Testament writers and Old Testament prophets spoke of Jesus as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-19; 26-28; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4; Isaiah 40:11; 49:9-10; Jeremiah 31:10-12). He came to seek and to save the lost sheep on whom He had compassion when He saw they were without a worthy shepherd (Luke 15:4-7; Isaiah 53:6). Unlike the selfish shepherds of Israel (Ezekiel 34:2-6), the Lord is the good and faithful Shepherd who lovingly cares, guides, protects, and comforts His sheep. He searches for those that are lost, feeds them, gives them rest, and binds their wounds (Ezekiel 34:11-16). The Lord always held shepherds in high regard, such as the patriarchs, Moses, David, Amos, and the list goes on. David's experience as a shepherd and his lifetime of trusting in God helped him to write this psalm with great insight.

        There is a small but significant word; the Lord is called "My" shepherd. What gives us the right to consider ourselves His sheep? The preceding psalm provides the basis; it was the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for "the sheep" (Jesus died for the whole world), but those who are His sheep are those known by Him (born of the will of God) and those who know Him (John 10:11, 14), because they have "recieved Him", since they "believe in His name" (John 1:12-13).

        Consider all the good things enjoyed by the sheep of the Lord: He provides physical sustenance (food and water; 23:1-2) and every temporal need, just as would a typical, gracious and hospitable middle-eastern host (23:5). He gives rest in "green pastures". Such pastures are scarce in the Holy Land, so the shepherd would have to lead the flock from pasture to pasture. The sheep, then, are actively involved in trustfully following the Shepherd, so they might continually find this peaceful rest with Him.

        The Good Shepherd, also provides for the spiritual needs of His sheep. By following and obeying Jesus, we are restored to communion with God (23:3). What is the reason the Shepherd leads us in the paths of righteousness? For His Name's sake. It is purely because of His grace, and we have done nothing to deserve it. When we live righteously, it brings honour and glory to the Name of God. The sheep's conduct reflects on the shepherd.

        When the sheep travel from one restful pasture to another, they must often pass through narrow valleys with rocky cliffs and caves on either side. The shepherd's guidance and presence provides the sheep with safety from harm (Psalm 78:52-54), so the trustful follower need not fear. The loving shepherd must often use his rod to keep his sheep from wandering into dangerous places where bears or lions may be hiding, and although the rod may hurt sometimes, it is actually a good thing which brings comfort. While in the valley, the "shadow of death" might be seen (23:4), but a shadow does not harm, nor does it lead to death, just as the shadow of a lion does not kill. Wherever there is a shadow, there must also be light. Before the shadow of death, there is the Light of Jesus Christ (27:1; John 8:12), and "He turns the shadow of death into morning" (Amos 5:8). His death abolished death and His resurrection brought the light of life to those who follow Him (2 Timothy 1:10). "Goodness and mercy" not only "follows" but "pursues" the Lord's sheep and they can have the confidence that they will have communion with the Lord forever (23:6).

        Psalm 24 is a majestic hymn, likely sung responsively by two choirs — one questioning and the other answering. It was possibly written at the time David successfully and joyously brought the Ark up to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:12ff). They sung of God's glory, dominion, and sovereignty over the earth and all His creation (cf. Colosians 1:15-17). They answered that only those who seek Him with a pure heart are worthy to stand before Him. As the procession approached the city of Jerusalem with the Ark, representing the presence of God, they spoke to the gates and doors to open wide to gladly receive their glorious and mighty King.

        Psalm 25 is a psalm of the penitant in suplication for God's forgiveness of sin and deliverance from enemy threats. Interestingly, it is an acrostic poem, using the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet as a framework, and for this reason the thoughts do not flow together as smoothly as in most other psalms. David's trust in the Lord was so great, because he waited in faith on the Lord "all the day". He prayed without ceasing, for he committed all his ways to the Lord. He prayed: "show me", "teach me", and "lead me", so that he would always keep God's covenant, live righteously, and fear the Lord.

Prayer

        Dear Lord, thank You for being our Good Shepherd, taking care of our every need. May we continue to follow Your leading, so that we might dwell in Your house forever.


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