The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
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.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
Psalm 23 is probably everybody’s favorite psalm. I know it is mine, especially the ESV translation I read today. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were David’s favorite, too, because it is such a beautiful expression of the Lord’s care for him.
David knew about shepherding. He spent much of his youth looking after his father’s flock. David was very protective of them and fought off lions and bears who wanted to have lamb chops for dinner! As David journeyed through life, he realized how much God was like a shepherd, looking after his flock earnestly and lovingly, ever ready to defend them.
Years later, Jesus would say in words as familiar as this psalm we are singing. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Jesus laid his life down for his sheep — all of us in the world. And by his death and subsequent resurrection, he gave us abundant life.
We can lie down in pastures where he provides for our needs. We can rest beside still waters as he calms the storms. We need fear no evil, because he walks beside us. He comforts us in our sorrow. He raises us when our enemies try to take us down. He anoints us with his Holy Spirit. And best of all, we will dwell with him for all eternity.
If we don’t experience the goodness David sings about, we might be making the wrong choices. Make the right choices — choosing heaven over the world and God over the devil — and see the difference you start to experience.
God be with you.