1 A psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even 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.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Psalm 23 – The LORD is my Shepherd
I heard of a party where guests were asked to amuse each other with a joke, a poem, a song, a trick, some ‘magic’ or whatever. A professional actor recited Psalm 23. Everyone clapped. A Christian guest planned to read Psalm 23. After he heard the actor, he became unsure. But the guests insisted he should read it. So, he did – from his heart. No-one clapped. A ‘holy hush’ and some tears followed. He was asked why silence and tears came after he read the psalm, but the actor was applauded. He replied: ‘Well, he knew the Psalm, but I know the Shepherd.’ Do you know the ‘Good Shepherd’, the Lord Jesus Christ, personally? If not, you can come to know Him as your Good Shepherd.
(Verses 1-3) Here and throughout the Psalm, note the words ‘my’, ‘I’, and ‘me’. Jesus Christ can become personal to you if you do not know Him already. He, the Good Shepherd, gave His life for His sheep. He died to take your sins and punishment on the cross. Only if you receive Him into your life as your risen, living Lord will you really grasp that. Forgiveness will then become real to you. Your Good Shepherd will bless you, meet your needs, give you rest and lead you safely. He restores your sinful and otherwise eternally lost soul. He will guide you to live right. You will come to treasure His name. Jesus means ‘God saves.’
(Verse 4) But there are dark valleys ahead of us all – even the ‘valley of the shadow of death’. But the LORD is there to help you walk through that darkest ‘valley’. His presence overcomes your fears. He comforts you. Shepherds in the Middle East carried rods, to beat off wild animals, and staffs, (crooks) to pull wayward sheep out of ditches. Your Good Shepherd will help you in spiritual struggles and against Satan’s attacks. He pulls you out of your messes and helps you move forward again. His loving presence, protection, help, care, and guidance are for you!
(Verses 5-6). God gives you security, safety, and assurance spiritually. We are weak and guilty sinners. If your trust is in your Saviour/ Shepherd, ‘Goodness and love’ follow you ‘all the days of your life.’ Only Christians have this sure hope. We often need comfort and protection, especially in the ‘Valley of the Shadow of death.’ God promises all who trust in Jesus, that they will ‘dwell in the house of the LORD (Heaven) forever.’ You receive eternal life now and go to Heaven, instead of eternal judgment, which your sins deserve. Again, do you know the Shepherd? You can! Why not turn from your sin and trust Him now?