Reflections on Psalm 23
Verse 1 - Sufficiency
1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
The LORD is my Shepherd, my guide, my caretaker, the one who watches over me.
I shall not want.
I do not have to provide my own needs. The Lord supplies all I need. It is sufficient, and I do not need to worry.
Verse 2 – Rest and Refreshment
2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
My Shepherd gives me rest.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
My Shepherd gives me refreshment. He leadeth me, He shows me the way to refreshment. The waters are still, quiet. My Shepherd wants me to be still and quiet. That is how I learn to know God. “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a) Being still and knowing God brings peace. God is my peace.
Verse 3 – Restoration and Righteousness
3He restoreth my soul:
My Shepherd restores my soul, my innermost being, the inmost part of me.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Righteousness is freedom from guilt or sin; rightness. After I am rested, refreshed, and restored, then my Shepherd leads me in the path in which I am to go. He leads me in the paths of righteousness; He leads me into the right way. My Shepherd leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake, to bring glory to Him. He does this because He is the Shepherd.
Verse 4 – Trust and Confidence
4Yea, 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.
Even if the right way looks like it leads in the paths of death, yet that is the right way. God is with me in that way. I do not need to fear. God protects me, keeps evil from doing me harm, keeps me from slipping with His staff. I can trust my Shepherd completely and have complete confidence in Him.
Verse 5 – Nourishment and Health
5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Even if the paths of righteousness lead me among enemies, my Shepherd will be with me there. He will feed me there. The LORD also anoints my head with oil. He sees when I am hurt or in need, and He is my Healer.
My cup runneth over. Not only does my Shepherd lead me and heal me, but He also gives me blessings so numerous I cannot contain them. My Shepherd provides the nourishment and health I need.
Verse 6 – Calm Assurance
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Whether I am in a place that feels safe, or in a place of danger, goodness and mercy will follow me. No matter what, goodness and mercy will follow me – all the way to the end. Goodness and mercy will follow me until the time I go to dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Goodness and mercy all my life.
Goodness and mercy for all eternity.