The Lord Is My Shepherd
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul. He leads 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 mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23 is probably the most well known psalm of the psalter. You see it recited in countless movies by military heroes as they face their own death in battle, and by those fighting with some new devilish creature in the latest horror movie. But even beyond its popularity in works of fiction. it has tremendous impact in the everyday lives of the people of God. It reminds them of the Lord’s protection and blessings of those who love Him.
Main Point: Psalm 23 is a psalm that reminds its listeners of the blessings of following God. It teaches us that He takes care of all our needs, and brings us peace. He leads into holy living so that He might receive praise. The Lord protects us in our darkest moments of life, and in the end brings us triumph. It reminds us that our ultimate reward will be when the dwelling of God is with Man.
Interesting Points: I love the thoroughness with which the metaphor of the Lord being our shepherd is worked out. It shows us that everything in creation can teach us about God’s character. This allows us to use our imagination for good, and to chase after God in new and creative ways.
It is also interesting that it is the Lord who prepares a table before us, and anoints us. The Lord serves us rather than us serve him. This psalm is full of what God does for us, and yet there is very little that we do other than follow.
Emotional reaction: For me this Psalm has a pretty strong emotional connection. When I was a junior in college and dating Amy, I was trying to decide if I should ask her to marry me before we graduated. As I sought the Lord for guidance, I read this psalm. It told me that no matter what may happen or come our way that the Lord would not leave us. The phrase “I shall not want.” rang over and over in my soul. It gave me peace and allowed me to rest in the protection of the Lord.