The Lord is My Shepherd
Psalm 23 is a thoroughly familiar and well-loved psalm for most people. I first heard of Psalm 23 through the movie The Elephant Man. It is a psalm from which I have drawn a lot of strength and comfort through times of extreme emotional and mental distress, injustice, rapid change, and discomfort.
[Psalm 23 NIV]
A psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides 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 love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Sometimes my life, upon reflection, may have seemed to resemble going through a laundry cycle followed by a tumble dry cycle. Somehow God allowed me to experience several baptisms of fire. God allowed me to experience the pummeling, not once, but many times, so that I could become an expert in victorious living, whatever the circumstances.
The psalmist knows that as long as the LORD is his shepherd, he will have everything that he needs. Likewise, as long as the LORD is our shepherd, we will have everything that we need. The symbols of a shepherd’s office are his rod and his staff. The rod is the straight part of the shepherd’s staff that he leans on and walks with. The staff is the crooked part of the shepherd’s staff with which he hooks the wandering sheep’s legs to keep them on the path. Both are used to fend off hungry predators that might come to attack the sheep. Our Good Shepherd provides us with guidance, direction, and protection. He leads us into green pastures and quiet waters, where there is plentiful food and water. He leads us into places of rest and restores our soul. He keeps us on the right paths so that we might bring honor to his name. Even though we walk through places of extreme distress, difficulties and challenges, we will not fear evil, because the LORD comforts and strengthens us. Though at times enemies might be pressing in from every direction, the LORD prepares a table before me laden with the choice food and drink of His goodness. As the guests of honor at the LORD’s table, He blesses us abundantly and our cup overflows. This blessing is not a transient or temporary thing. It is a permanent blessing as we dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
[Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT]
28 Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
God is in control. Whatever our circumstances might be, God is in control. Find rest and peace in the LORD. Those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
[Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT]
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
God is limitless in His power and His wisdom. He is able to open the doors that no man can shut. [Revelation 3:7-8 NLT] “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
[Ephesians 3:20-21 NLT]
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Thank You, Abba Father, Lord Jesus Christ.