Zoe Center
The Lord is My Shepherd – Part 1
Archived – September 5, 2021

The Lord is My Shepherd – Part 1

September 5, 2021

Story Time

Matthew 13:1-23

  • The secrets are keys that unlock the kingdom.
  • Most people actively reject the keys.
  • People reject the keys because their hearts aren’t ready to receive the truth.

The Truth of the Matter

People don’t reject truth because they want lies. They reject truth because they prefer their own version of truth.

Romans 10:3

Genesis 3:22

To know good and evil is to have the power to determine good and evil.

When human beings ate the fruit, they granted themselves a privilege that was only reserved for God: the power to decide the difference between right and wrong.

Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands

All human problems with God can be summed up in Adam and Eve’s original mistake (Proverbs 3:7)

The consequences of doing this are epitomized by a period in Israel’s history recorded in a book called Judges. In this period, there were repeated cycles of national disaster. “Each cycle [was] characterized by

  • Sin (idolatry),
  • Servitude (domination by other nations),
  • Supplication (the people finally cry to the Lord for deliverance),
  • Salvation (the Lord responds by raising up a judge to deliver them) and
  • Silence (years of peace until the cycle begins again).” (Promise Keepers Men’s Study Bible, Zondervan, 1997, pp.275–276)

The writer of Judges summaries the fundamental problem in a simple statement (Judges 17:6)


Parallels Between Ancient Trouble

and Contemporary Trouble

  • There was no overarching authority that governed their morality ()
  • Everyone’s individual truth was treated with the same validity ()
  • The collective interests of the people were superior to the individual interests of a ruler (


Contemporary Virtues vs. Ancient World Virtues

Contemporary Virtues

Ancient Virtues


Slavery: There are no masterless people.


Hierarchy: Submission to other humans is a virtue.


Monarchy: The king’s rule is absolute.

The Rub

Freedom, Equality and Democracy have become our new definition of .

They are a new holy trinity.

We now judge the Bible by these values instead of evaluating these values by the Bible.

When good is elevated above , it becomes bad.

  • Luke 14:26–27
  • Philippians 2:9
  • Genesis 3:6


Spiritual Gut Checks

Because the 21st Century’s version of good is so integrated into what we now call normal and moral, we have to be reminded of some things as we read and listen to God’s Word:

When we are reading Scripture, we are entering someone else’s world.

We should see ourselves as aliens from another planet visiting a civilization foreign to our own.

The Bible presents a world that is distant from ours by time and often by geography.

The ancient world has something to teach us—not the other way around.

God chose the ancient world and not the present-day world to tell His story.

To judge the ancient world and presume it is backward is arrogant.

The “wisdom” of this present age is young and has not yet been vetted.

We do not yet know if the innovations of this age are sustainable:

  • The environment and humanity’s relationship to nature
  • The tension between professional and family life in the industrialized world
  • The changing standards for family life, sex and sexuality and identity
  • The role of science as a discerner of truth.

The Bible’s litmus test for what is morally superior is .

God’s truth is permanent; human truth is temporary (1 John 2:17)


© Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2021

Save PDF Locally

Click to save a copy of the filled-in notes to a PDF file on the computer/device you are currently using

Save PDF to Google Drive

Click to save a copy of the filled-in notes to a PDF file on your Google Drive account

(For Apple devices, use Chrome browser or go to SETTINGS>SAFARI and uncheck BLOCK POPUPS.)

Send to Email

Enter your email address below to receive a copy of your filled in notes