“The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
He makes me lie down in fresh, tender green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
He refreshes and restores my life; He leads me in the paths of righteousness, not for my earning, but for His Name’s sake.
Yes, though I walk through the deep, sunless valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod to protect me and Your staff to guide me, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my brimming cup runs over.
Surely goodness, mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord and His presence shall be my dwelling place.” (Psalm 23)
This Psalm probably has been recited more than any other scriptures in the Bible down through the ages, but there is so much more to this Psalm than just saying it as a litany. These scriptures show the completeness of God’s salvation and commitment to us.
Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd. Being confident in the promises of this Psalm requires first that you know Him personally and second that you trust and believe that these promises belong to YOU specifically.
What are these promises? Let’s break it down:
- As the Shepherd, the Lord will feed you physically AND spiritually. He will guide you along the path to heaven. He will let bring you back on the path if you veer off into trouble. He will shield you from predators like false teachers and prophets, and also He will protect you from untimely death or injury.
As the Shepherd, He will lead you to the best places to rest. The scripture says “the lines are fallen to me in pleasant places.” He is not a slave driver, He cares for His sheep. He makes sure you have rest and times of refreshing to strengthen you to keep going.
As the Shepherd, He restores you to right standing, or into the fold if you wander off. He refreshes and strengthens your soul. He chooses the paths that lead to God, to righteousness, not because of anything you have to do to earn it, but simply for His Name’s sake. Because that is who He is! He loves you. He has made a commitment to you and He will not forsake that commitment.
As the Shepherd, sometimes to get to the greenest pastures, He has to take you through a deep, dark and dangerous valley. A valley full of predators and dangers. Unquestioning trust is required during the valley times. A sheep doesn’t question the Shepherd’s motives or His wisdom. They just follow Him, knowing that He’s got this. In the valley, He will comfort you, He will guide you and He will keep you.
As the Shepherd, He will prepare your table right in the middle of your enemies. He will cause your cup to run over with all the good spiritual and physical blessings you can handle. And there isn’t a thing Satan can do about it!
As the Shepherd, He will bring you all the way into the Father’s presence on that day and truly, you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The promises in Psalm 23 are there for each one of us to grab onto. The key is believing that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and that these promises are YOURS specifically and that you TRUST Him to fulfill these promises. It sounds simple, but it’s kind of hard when the waves are crashing around you. If you can get to the place of trust in Him and in His motives to you, you can walk in the victory that is Psalm 23. It is a Psalm of victory in Jesus!