1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
When I pasted this Psalm into this document, I was surprised at how short this Psalm is because it is so full of good stuff!
The Lord is my shepherd …We’ve all seen pretty pictures of the Good Shepherd holding a nice, sweet little lamb, surrounded by clean, fluffy, docile sheep. I’ve read that this is not what being a shepherd is really like. In the first place, sheep are not particularly clean. They are dirty and dumb. … and they bite! And Jesus left the glory of heaven to come down and live with us. Amazing. I shall not be in want… The shepherd takes care of the sheep. He provides everything they need.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters.
Sheep are also skittish… easily agitated… nervous. They need to feel safe or they won’t lie down. And they won’t drink from a rushing stream, probably because they would be in deep trouble if they fell in. They need quiet waters. So the shepherd doesn’t only provide grass and water, but the safety so the sheep can graze in peace and rest… and the still water so they can be refreshed.
3 He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
I never really thought of sheep having a soul (mind, will, emotions), but we sure do! We all have our fears, our hurts, our “hang-ups”, and the Lord wants to restore us to wholeness. The shepherd guides the sheep from pasture to pasture, and Our Shepherd also guides us. Why? Because we are so great? Well, He certainly loves us, but he guides us for HIS name’s sake. He is Our Shepherd, Wonderful, Counselor, Emmanuel which means “God With Us”, Mighty God, Loving Father, Our Provider, Our Healer, Our Righteousness, Our Savior, The Alpha and Omega… and so on..
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.
The shepherd leads the sheep, and I imagine the sheep don’t always like where they are being led. There are dangers, and maybe even rough paths. And Our Shepherd also leads us. There are dangers – we have enemies – one in particular who would like to see us get off the path and stop following the shepherd! BUT, we can be assured that no matter where we are, even when it is dark, Our Shepherd is near.
It says the valley of the shadow of death. I picture a valley, with death hovering, trying to block out the Light, but it cannot. The light of Christ is always with us. The verse says the “shadow of death” is in the valley – not death itself. And we are not alone. Our Shepherd is near.
The rod and the staff. One fights off enemies (lions and tigers and bears, Oh my!) and the other prods me back onto the path so I don’t wander off.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Again, we have an enemy who is hell-bent on stealing, killing, and destroying. (John 10:10) But the Lord has come to give us abundant life. The shepherd doesn’t just prepare a table for us when everything is calm, but in the presence of our enemies. For me, when I am feeling surrounded by the enemy, I have to remember to look for this table, and look for His healing anointing oil.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
What is interesting is that this does NOT say, “when I get to the end of the path I’ll find goodness and love.” NO! It says goodness and love will follow me … it pursues me … all the days of my life… and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever! God wants to bless us. We don’t have to beg Him to bless us… He longs to bless us. So… don’t run away from God … run towards Him … dwell in Him … rest in Him