Psalm 23 The Lord is My Shepherd

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December 11, 2022

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[
a]
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 overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

First, we see the author of the Psalm is King David. Remember, he was a shepherd as a young boy and had a lot of experience in this area. In verse 1-3 David is talking about the Lord in

  1. The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
  2. David starts by saying LORD. Who is this? Remember God said that He was the great “I am” when He was talking to Moses in Exodus, and this is who David is talking about.
  3. There is a word here that is very important and can be missed easily and that is the word “my.” This is important because it is personal. While David wrote this psalm, it is applicable to you and me as well.
  • Being a shepherd is a lot of work. A few roles are: leading his sheep to pasture and water; protecting them from wild animals as David did by killing a lion and bear (1 Samuel 17), and caring for them in their daily needs. David is saying that the LORD does this for him. He makes sure he has food and water, protects him and takes care of him. There is another role that is talked about in the New Testament, and that is the fact that the shepherd sacrifices his life for you. Jesus said in John 10:11- “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
    • I lack nothing.” The LORD provides and therefore we lack nothing. I heard a pastor (Skip Heitzig) talk about this and I felt very convicted because I can be a complaining sheep. Skip said that we live in a society of discontentment. We look at others and say that the sheep over there has greener pastures. He said a complaining sheep is a disgrace to the shepherd because complaining reflects the kind of care he/she thinks the shepherd is giving. Thus, when we complain, we do not feel the Lord is providing well for us. He also went on to ask the question about how believers feel when they look at complaining sheep. When they see complainers, they do not want what we have.
  • He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
        he refreshes my soul.”
    • The shepherd makes the sheep rest and leads them to quiet water to provide refreshment for them physical. In verse 3, he also provides refreshment spiritually.
  • “He guides me along the right paths
        for his name’s sake.
    • In the verse before and this verse we see the word “lead” and “guide.The Lord will direct and guide into the people He wants us to be. Many ask, “What is God’s will for me? What is my next step?” If we are Christian, we have a personal guide and leader that lives in us, and that is the Holy Spirit.
    • He guides us along the right path, not the wrong path.
  • 4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a]I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
    • This verse does not say if you walk through a valley, but even though. This means we will walk through valleys in our lives, even if we are Christians.
    • It also says that we will walk through the valley. It does not say we will stay there, but walk through it.
    • It says that even though I might go through a difficult time, I will not be afraid because God is right there with us. In Hebrews 13:5, Jesus says, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”
    • your rod and staff, they comfort me.” During Biblical times, the shepherd carried a rod and staff. The rod was used to protect the sheep against predators and the staff was used to pull the sheep in when he was facing harm. The sheep saw these on the shepherd and were comforted.
  • You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
    • Louie Giglio, in his book, “Don’t give the enemy a seat at your table” writes, “I could see myself sitting at a table, with the Good Shepherd across from me. He had led me through dark valleys to reach the table, and I didn’t need to be afraid, even though the fiery trials weren’t all resolved. My place at the table didn’t mean that my enemies would be removed from the equation. In fact, the table was set right in the middle of my enemies…I didn’t need to vindicate myself. I didn’t need to clear my name. I didn’t need to control this equation or work overtime to improve it. My task was to concentrate on the Good Shepherd, the One who owned the table.” God does not remove the trials in our life. In the middle of them he will give us complete provision and will be there with us through the trial.
  • You anoint my head with oil;”
    • This could mean a few things. One that makes sense is when a guest came over for dinner, his head was anointed by the host. This was a sign of the guest being honored. David is the Lord’s honored guest at the table.
  • “my cup overflows.”
    • This shows the great blessings the Lord has given David. He gives us more than we need. The cup is overflowing and the Lord overflows his gifts on us.
    • Thus, even when we are in a trial, the Lord is right there with us, providing for us, honoring us, and giving us more than we need.
  • Surely your goodness and love will follow me
        all the days of my life,”
    • The Lord gives us goodness and unfailing love every day of our lives.  The word “follow” in Hebrew means “chase.” God will be chasing us with His goodness and love.
    • God’s love is sacrificial. John 3:16 says, “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. “
  • “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
    • When a person is a Christian, they have eternal life with the Lord. Jesus prepares a home for you in heaven so you can dwell with him forever. John 14:2 says, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”

Questions:

  1. Is the Lord your shepherd and will you dwell with Him always? If not, and you want Him as your shepherd, pray that He enter your life. You can also let me know and I can help you with this.
  2. Are you content with what God has given you?
  3. Do you know that God is your protector, your provider, your Father?

Next week we will read Psalm 61-90.

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