The last several weeks, I have been sharing thoughts on different Psalms. This week, we made it to the very famous chapter, Psalm 23.
Here are some posts for the other Psalms that we have looked at so far:
- Encouragement from Psalm 18
- Rejoicing in Answered Prayer, Psalm 21
- A Prayer for Suffering, Psalm 22
- The Lord is My Shepherd, Psalm 23
- Encouragement from Psalm 37
In Psalm 23, we see that He leads and we are to follow Him. In this psalm, we see many different roles of leadership a shepherd provides. T
Often, we think of this as a funeral that is read at funerals; however, it is not a funeral song. David experienced God leading him throughout His entire life, so he could truly say, “The Lord is my shepherd.”
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
Here we see the role of Shepherd taking care of His sheep — every need is supplied. The Hebrew for this phrase is, “Jehovah is shepherding me.” It’s an active verb. We could read this verse as, “He is shepherding me right now; and because of that, I will not lack.”
David was able to see that God was “my shepherd.” God was a personal shepherd to him. This personal relationship only applies to those who have accepted His Shepherding rule. This has to come by personal faith — an act of the will — to trust in the Shepherd as your Savior. Today, that would be believing that Jesus’ work of salvation is for you and accepting that. We have to acknowledge that we are sheep and need Him.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:2
He causes us to slow down; He stops us so that we may enjoy rest and receive nourishment. He doesn’t drive us or whip us to move; He leads us to a quiet, restful place, a place of security.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:3
Here the role changes from Shepherd-sheep to Guide-traveler. He provides as our Shepherd and He guides us;
Restore means “to bring back,” “to bring to a place of strength.” If we wander, the Good Shepherd brings us back to the paths of righteousness. He restores us.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
The pronouns change from verses 3 to 4 from “he” to “you.”
We see here an intimacy that we can have with God. He is with us. We can know God personally through His Son Jesus Christ. We see this through Jesus’ name, Emmanuel, which means, “God with us.”
This Shepherd uses certain tools: the rod and staff.
The rod would protect the sheep from predators; the staff would be used to discipline. These are used for security — to keep us safe. We need this discipline to sometimes stay on the right path.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Now we move to the Host-guest relationship. The Shepherd takes care of His sheep like the host takes care of his guests. God sets a table for us wherever we are. He has placed us there, so He will provide for us in that place.
We also see the Physician-patient relationship in this verse. A shepherd would keep oil with him to anoint the heads of his sheep. The oil is used for healing.
The cup is symbolic for your portion of life. He has given us a life of abundance. He has given us more than enough.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
The last role is that of a Prophet who gives promises. The promise is that the goodness of God is unfailing. It is loyal. Dr. Harry Ironside used to say that goodness and mercy are the two sheepdogs that help keep the sheep where they belong. When we fail, His mercy lets us know that He forgives us. His goodness and mercy brings us back to the right place.
If the Lord is my shepherd, I can have the confidence that I will not lack anything.
In the past, I have shared the following posts also about Psalm 23:
- Jehovah Raah: The Lord is My Shepherd
- Jehovah Raah: The Lord is My Shepherd, Part 2
- My Cup Runneth Over
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