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Published December 2012 Christian Education Publications PO Box A287, Sydney South NSW 1235 Ph: 612 8268 3344 Fax: 612 8268 3357 Copyright Christian Education Publications © Penny Reeve 2012 This book is copyright. Apart from fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without the written permission of the Publisher. All Scripture quotations, in this publication are from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ® NIV ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.®. All rights reserved worldwide. National Library of Australia ISBN 978-1-922000-58-3 Author—Penny Reeve Managing editor—Julie Firmstone Theological editor—Loren Becroft Typesetting and design—Bethany Abbottsmith

study 1

Life with a shepherd PART 1

Under the following headings (or on a large sheet of butcher’s paper or whiteboard) write a list of everything you might need to survive: • today ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ • this year ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ • in 20 years’ times ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ • when you are dead ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ Discuss the completed lists with your group. Share your reasons for each answer.

Write your lists above and then circle everything that is essential and underline those things you could live without.


Read Psalm 23:1 and write it down here: ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ A ‘shepherd’ is someone who looks after a flock of sheep (‘flock’ is the word used to describe a group of sheep). In Bible times, a shepherd was completely responsible for the lives of his entire flock. His tasks included finding the best pastures for food; assisting the sick sheep; rescuing the lost or wounded sheep; and protecting the sheep from wild animals. A shepherd took his responsibility very seriously because his sheep were his livelihood— his family used the wool for clothing, or to sell to merchants, and the lambs provided valuable meat.

Psalm 23:1 is the short way of writing Psalm 23 verse 1. Dig-in Discipleship studies use this shortened form when quoting Bible references.

David, the writer of this song, knew a lot about sheep. Before he’d killed Goliath and become the King of Israel, he had worked as a shepherd looking after his father’s sheep. (You can read David’s story in 1 Samuel, starting at chapter 17.) 1


Pretend you’re a sheep expert like David. Put a box around the items your sheep need. Cross out anything they can live without.

In the Old Testament you will find that the word ‘lord’ is sometimes written differently. If you see ‘Lord’ then this is a title meaning ‘master’—this is kind of like calling your teacher ‘Sir’ because ‘Sir’ is a title. If you see ‘LORD’ then this is a reference to the name of God given to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3:15)—this is like calling your teacher ‘Bob’ (if Bob is your teacher’s first name). By calling God by his personal name, ‘LORD’, David is showing that he has a personal relationship with God, that he is one of God’s people. 2

Do you think God knows what you need today, tomorrow and forever? (Look up Matthew 6:31–32 to see what Jesus says about it.) ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

PART 2 Psalm 23 describes God as a shepherd. (Jesus also uses this word when talking about himself. You can read about it in Luke 15:3–8.) There are many other words in the Bible that are used to describe what God is like.

Look up one or two of the following passages and, using mime or charades, see if the group can guess what your verse says God is like. (You can work in groups if you wish or select five volunteers to do the mime or charade for the group.) • 2 Samuel 22:2 • Psalm 28:7 • Psalm 74:12

• Isaiah 63:16 • Hebrews 12:28–29

Which of these verses do you relate to most? Why? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________


Look up each verse and write (or draw) what it says God is like in the space provided.

PART 3 Knowing about God and knowing God personally are two very different things. It’s like knowing about a shepherd compared to actually being one of the shepherd’s sheep. How much do you think you know about God? If you picture yourself as a sheep, and God as the shepherd (like David did when he wrote this psalm), what does your current relationship with God look like? Look at the picture on the next page and circle the sheep that best depicts your relationship with God. 14


Look up John 14:6–7. How can we know what God is like?

______________________________________________________________________ 2

Why could Jesus say this? (Hint: see Hebrews 1:3 and John 1:18.)

______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

Interview two people who have been following Jesus for a long time (make sure one of them is an adult). Ask what Psalm 23:1 means to them. Record their answers here:


Person #1

What Psalm 23:1 means:


Person #2

What Psalm 23:1 means:


Ask God to help you understand what it means for him to be your shepherd. Talk to God about how much you trust (or would like to trust) him.

Psalm 23:1

The words of Psalm 23 have often been used as song lyrics. Find a Psalm 23 song that can help you learn verse 1. You could search online (via Google or YouTube) to find the many versions available. Make sure you choose a song that uses the actual words from the Bible, or one similar enough to retain the whole meaning.

Test date Psalm 23:1


Checked by Person #1

Checked by Person #2

Memorised? Yes/No

Dig In Discipleship: Pigs, Pearls, Parties