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, 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.”
Psalms 23:1-6 NIV
This has truly become one of my absolute favorite Psalms in the Bible! I know most of us have heard it several times. But don’t just breeze through it.
The job of a shepherd is to guard, tend, and herd sheep. With that in mind, think about what King David was really saying when he compared God to being a shepherd.
Let’s break it down…
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” As long as God is guiding me, there is nothing that I need that He hasn’t provided.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters.” His pastures nourish me. I can lie safely where He leads me. The waters are still. Running water is risky for sheep. Their thick coats would drown them if they were to fall in. Therefore, the reference to still water is important for us. God does not lead us to risky places. He does not lead us to places we could drown. Instead, He leads us to places of stillness. Places we can discover ourselves. Calm places.
“He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” When life gets rough, when things feel overwhelming, when our souls feel exhausted, God refreshes us! How amazing is that! He guides us along the right paths. The paths He has laid out for us. For His name’s sake. What He has called us to. What He has purposed for us.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Even when life gets dark. When it gets tough. He walks through it with us. He preserves us. No evil, no weapons can harm us. The rod is for correction and the staff is for steering. When we get off track, the rod and the staff are our comfort. They show God’s love for us. They give us authenticity, show that we belong to His flock. They are assurance that no matter how far we stray, God will guide us back. “Will He not leave the 99 and go look for the one that wandered off?” (Matthew 18:12)
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” He prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies! Think about that. No one can stop what God has for you. Instead, He blesses you in front of them. He anoints our heads for greatness, for distinction. Our cups overflow with blessings.
“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.” Surely! That means definitely! Goodness and love will follow us as long as we live. And as His sheep, we will dwell in His house for an eternity.
So my question is, will you allow the Lord to be your shepherd, too?