One of my favourite books in the bible is the book of Psalms, it contains such an array of different types of poetry. From praise to God, songs of joy and jubilation, prayers of praise, laments and seeking God, the joy of His salvation. It never ceases to amaze me how much depth one can find within the Psalms.
My favourite Psalm is Psalm 23. It is so well known that it is given at funerals, even those of unbelievers! But it is not a psalm of lament; it is rather a Psalm of God’s goodness in the face of obstacles. It changes from light to dark and then back to light again in its imagery. Why don’t we together uncover the richness of this Psalm and see what message it conveys to us, and how we can apply its truths in our daily lives.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
God is the one who leads us, He is our shepherd. A shepherd looks after the sheep in his care; he takes them to places that are safe with grass and wate. This is where our Lord leads us to, it’s in this place that He restores us, encourages us and equips us, so that when we have to move to new pastures, we are prepared. He teaches us about righteousness and shows us how to walk in that road.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[c]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
When we move from the safety of the pasture and into the dark valleys of life do we fear? We should not. We have been prepared for this in the pasture. We know that our shepherd will lead us, He is with us, He uses his shepherds crook to stop us wandering into danger. He is always with us, leading us and comforting us.
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 mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
When we are face to face with danger or temptation God ‘sets up a table’ for us, what this means is He has given us everything we need to combat what we are facing, Christ has won the victory on our behalf, we are conquerors, our enemy/ foes have been defeated. The anointing of oil is symbol of the Holy Spirit, pouring oil on us is a symbol of us being sealed and filled with the Holy Spirit. When we are working in His spirit and being led by his spirit our cup of blessing overflows. If we continue to live a life where we are obedient to Him, letting Him be our shepherd, our life will show mercy, goodness. In fact all the fruits of the spirit will be displayed in our life, and we know to remain in Him we have the greatest gift of all; dwelling in His house, eternal life in Christ our Lord.
There is so much to unpack in this small Psalm of just six verses, this is only just skimming the surface. What from this little study speaks to you about God? How He is our shepherd? I hope that in this coming week you will meditate on this Psalm, asking God to let it sink deep into your heart. Find what you can to apply to your life and situation and ask Him to help you in this. He is for you, not against you. Leave a comment in the box below about what God has and is saying to you through this Psalm.
If you have anything you would like me to do a blog on leave a comment in the box below, I love to read your comments.
In Christ our redeemer Ps Jeff.