King David wrote Psalm 23 with a metaphor for his relationship with the Creator. He lived as a lowly shepherd boy, tending sheep for much of his early life. David knew a thing or two about the relationship between the shepherd and his flock. It was this relationship he used as his example for life serving God.
David opens his psalm with the understanding that God is his shepherd and he is the sheep. He is placing himself in the vulnerable position of relying on the shepherd for every need– and believing that he will indeed meet those needs.
As he writes about “green pastures” and “still waters”, David is referring to a life that is full. With a peace that the shepherd brings, the sheep are able to rest in the knowledge that they will be provided for.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:he leadeth me beside the still waters.
David knew he was a sinner and needed God’s grace. He shared about the renewing of his soul and being led on “paths of righteousness”. But submitting to God [shepherd] doesn’t have anything to do with one’s own strength or prosperity. Our obedience is to the glory of God alone “His name’s sake”.
3 He restoreth my soul:he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
The joy of being in a relationship with the Father is balanced with the comfort of knowing that He will protect us. While that doesn’t mean that we will never suffer or struggle, it does mean that we do not have to fear the situation. God has a plan for our lives and fear is not a part of it. He watches over us like the shepherd does his flock.
David goes on to mention the comfort of the rod and staff, the shepherd’s tools. Each one is used to protect and direct the flock. Just like the shepherd, God gives us correction as well. He intends that we stay on the correct paths and He guides us from harm.
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.
The Psalmist was no saint. He certainly had his fair share of lows and getting off the path with God. He was hunted by Saul, a man he once was very close with. David also had an affair with a married woman, and then had the husband killed to cover it up! Even through all of those very low “lows”, David returned to his relationship with God. He accepted his sin, asked forgiveness, and focused on his hope for the future.
David knew that there would be situations and people he would encounter that were perhaps “enemies” but he also had confidence in his God. He knew that he was provided for, loved, and chosen. We are all chosen by God! (John 15:16)
5 Thou preparest a table before mein the presence of mine enemies:thou anointest my head with oil;my cup runneth over.
But David knew that his relationship with God wasn’t just about his time on Earth. David had hope for a future where he would live with the Father in Heaven! It was this hope that filled David with joy even after the embarrassment and sadness of his behavior. David knew God forgave and God never stopped loving him! Just as we have hope today and belief that our God is a loving God – He cares for each one of us!
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow meall the days of my life:and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
WATCH: Beautiful Version of Psalm 23
credit: Bible Study Tools
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