“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. 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, NKJV)
I have been reading through the Psalms for my morning devotion. I absolutely love Psalm 23. It is one of my most favorites passages in Scripture. As I was reflecting upon it, I was invigorated to worship. I unquestionably believe Psalm 23 is a must scripture memory for every Christian. It is jam-packed with declarations and assurances about God as our Shepherd and us as His sheep. You get 8 actions and assurances about God as our Shepherd that benefit us as His sheep, and 5 additional assurances for us as His sheep.
“He makes me to lie down in green pastures” (v2a) = He provides us with all we need.
“He leads me beside the still waters” (v2b) = He sustains us by way of peace not turmoil.
“He restores my soul” (v3a) = He wholly replenishes us.
“He leads me in the paths of righteousness” (v3b) = He hand walks us in righteous living for His glory.
“You are with me” (v4c) = He goes with us, everywhere, every season; never leaves nor forsakes us.
“Your rod and staff...comfort me” (v4d) = He protects and disciplines us for our good.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (v5a) = He sets up His blessings for us, even in the midst of our adversities.
“You anoint my head with oil” (v5b) = He overflows us with His blessedness.
“The LORD is my shepherd” (v1a) = It is part of God's character to shepherd His children (i.e. those who believe in Jesus Christ). He cannot not shepherd us in these ways.
“I shall not want” (v1b) = We will never experience true lack because God is our Shepherd. He cannot deny Himself, and He is all-satisfying.
“I will fear no evil” (v4b) = We have nothing to ever be afraid of because our Shepherd is always with us. Always!
“goodness and mercy shall follow me...” (v6a) = The goodness and mercy of God is always pursuing us, everyday. Everyday and always!
“I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (v6b) = We will never not be in God's presence because His presence now lives within us through the Holy Spirit.
Is this not thoroughly encouraging? What declarations! What assurances we have! This Psalm, 6 verses long, is loaded with so much truth that we can feast on it for a lifetime. In stormy seasons of life it is a great reminder of our Shepherd and the comfort for us as His sheep. In the sunny seasons of life it is a great encouragement to pursue our Shepherd with all vigor, and also motivation to go find His lost sheep and bring them back into this fold.
Be grateful! Be encouraged! Be empowered! Be exuberant! Be worshipful! The LORD is your Shepherd!
*Philip Keller wrote a fantastic little book on Psalm 23 entitled, “A Shepherds Look at Psalm 23”. A must for every Christian's library.