This is probably the best known and most loved, of all the Psalms in the Bible.
It is a beautiful Psalm, and the declaration that the Lord is our Shepherd, brings us great comfort.
But if we really want the Psalm to bring transformation into our lives, we need to understand two things:
- We are like sheep - and we often wander off and get lost. We follow each other without considering the consequences, which places us in many dangers.
- If the Lord is really going to be our Shepherd, then we need to submit to him and become his sheep.
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
Psalm 23 (NIV)
Do I really lack nothing? Am I trusting in the Lord to meet all my needs? Are there things that I want, but that I don't really need? Is my yearning for these things, preventing me from enjoying the Lord who provides all that I really need?
Do I willingly lie down in God’s green pastures, or am I resisting him?
Am I allowing him to lead me beside quiet waters? Am I allowing him to refresh my soul?
And what about guidance? Am I allowing the Lord to guide me into making the right decisions, for myself, for my family, for my church, and as a witness to my community?
What about when things are hard and it feels like I am going through a dark valley? Do I choose to believe that he is with me even in the valley?
What about his rod and staff? Are they a comfort to me? Do I accept that he can use them to protect me from danger, but that he can also use them to pull me back onto the right path if I have wandered off again?
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep.
God wants to bless us with good things. He wants to anoint us.
The blessings he offers are for today and for eternity!