The LORD Is My Shepherd
A PSALM OF DAVID
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.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
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.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
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.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago when I did the overview of the Book of Psalms and posted this psalm, that it was the first one that I remember reading and memorizing when I was a young child. It is probably the most well known psalm. In stressful times it is the reassurance that we need that God is right there with us to help us through it. I wanted to re-post it and add commentary this time. The commentary for this Psalm will be from Warren Wiersbe’s book, ‘BE Worshipful’, which covers Psalms 1-89.
This is the psalm of the Great Shepherd who cares for His sheep and equips them for ministry(Heb. 13:20-21), the “great high priest” (Heb. 4:14) who “ever liveth to make intercession for us” (Heb. 7:25). Certainly this psalm has a message for the sorrowing, but it’s unfortunate that it’s used primarily at funerals, because Psalm 23 focuses on what Jesus does for us “all the days of [our] life” and not just at death……David deals with some of the difficult things he experienced during his long walk with the Lord.
The promised Messiah was seen as a shepherd (Ezek. 34:16, 23)……In Psalm 22, David compared the enemy to animals that are clever and strong (22:12-16, 21), but in this psalm, he pictured God’s people as lowly sheep. Why? So we would learn about the Shepherd and see how tenderly He cares for us. Sheep are defenseless animals that are prone to get lost, and they need almost constant care. You can’t drive sheep as you do cattle; they must be led……In this psalm, David explains that if we follow the Lord and trust Him, He will meet our every need, no matter what the circumstances may be.
In the Pasture–Adequacy (vv. 1-3). “The LORD” is Jehovah God, the covenant-making God of Israel. The compound names of Jehovah in the Old Testament reflect the contents of this psalm.
“I shall not want”—Jehovah-jireh, “the LORD will provide” (Gen. 22:14)
“still waters”—Jehovah-shalom, “the LORD our peace” (Judges 6:24)
“restoreth my soul”—Jehovah-Rophe, “the LORD who heals” (Ex 15:26)
“paths of righteousness”—Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “the LORD our righteousness” (Jer. 33:16)
“thou art with me”—Jehovah-shammah, “the LORD is there” (Ezek. 48:35)
“presence of mine enemies”—Jehovah-nissi, “the LORD our banner” (Ex. 17:15)
“anointest my head”—Jehovah-M’Kaddesh, “the LORD who sanctifies (Lev. 20:8)
….. The emphasis on verses 1-3 is that Jesus is adequate for every need the sheep may have as they are in the pasture.
…..He loves us and wants us to glorify Him (“for his name’s sake”).
In the Valley–Serenity (v. 4). This is the central verse of the psalm and the personal pronoun changes from ‘he’ to ‘you’. David is not speaking about the shepherd but speaking to the shepherd……The ‘vale of deep darkness’ represents any difficult experience of life that makes us afraid and that includes death……It gave the flock peace knowing that the shepherd was there and was equipped for any emergency. He is “Emmanuel….God with us”(Matt. 1:23)…..The closer wer are to our Shepherd, the safer we are and the more His peace will fill our hearts.(Is 40:9-11)
In the Fold—Certainty (v. 5)……”Table” doesn’t necessarily refer to a piece of furniture used by humans, for the word simply means “something spread out.” Flat places in the hilly country were called “tables,” and somethimes the shepherd stopped the flock at these “tables” and allowed them to eat and rest as they headed for the fold……..The Lord doesn’t always remove the dangers from our lives, but He does help us overcome them and not be paralyzed by fear.
In the Father’s House—Eternity (v. 6). As the shepherd lay each night at the door of the sheepfold, he looked back over the day and gave thanks that the Lord had blessed them with goodness and mercy. As an old man, David looked back over his long life and came to the same conclusion……..Jesus used this vocabulary to speak about heaven(John 14:1-6). We will look back and see “only goodness and mercy.” Under the old covenant, the sheep died for the shepherd, but under the new covenant, the Shepherd died for the sheep–and we shall meet our Shepherd in heaven! “For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes”(Rev. 7:17 NKJV).
There was a lot more commentary from Wiersbe, but I didn’t want to make it too long so I tried to pick out the key points. Please add any thoughts that you have on Psalm 23 and any songs that may be on your mind and any great verses and devotionals you may have come across this morning and anything else you may have on your mind that you would like to share today.
I wish all of you a very blessed day.