We all know it, love it, and some can recite it. Do we know what it means? I did a Bible study a few years ago “The Bible in a Year” by Bill Creasy. When we got to the book of Psalms he explained that because of its length it was best to choose the more popular Psalms than to attempt to read every single one. There’s a total of 150 Psalms. Most believed to be written by King David. One of the most well known is Psalms 23.
1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.4Yea, 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.5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
So what does this all mean in “English”? I’ll take it line by line (1-6).
1. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want=A Shepherd cares for their flock. Not just one sheep, but the flock as a group. He’s saying, he is caring for all of us. Therefore, we shall not want for anything. We rely on him. Therefore with God, We are satisfied.
2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. When you think again of the job of a Shepherd, especially in the terrain where David was living you’re chances of finding a lush piece of grass for your flock to graze is quite a journey. The difficulty to get there, and hardships. This is telling us we can come to God for rest. To read his word and get the relief we need when we need comfort.
3. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. The Psalm goes into a more spiritual direction where we can go to him in prayer and ask for him to restore us. Sheep tend to wander, he keeps us on our path of faithfulness to him.
4. 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. No matter what we go through, God is always with us. As a Shepherd we know even if we stray he will always welcome us back to the flock. He loves us unconditionally.
5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. This is hope, consecration and abundance. His blessings are limitless.
6. 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. There will never be a day in which the goodness and mercy of the Lord will not be immediately nearby.
I hope this makes you think of this infamous Psalm the next you recite or hear it read. What a beautiful sentiment and reminder that no matter what God is never far away. We can always go to him for comfort. Not just during the darkest of times but all the time.
Father, thank you for helping decide on this subject today and reminding us that we are part of your flock. Even if we stray, like a good Shepherd you always lead us home. Amen
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