Enduring both in its beauty and simplicity, Psalm 23 is one of the most beloved Psalms of the Bible. It is one of our earliest recollections of memorizing the Scriptures.
From the outset, David, the author of this great Psalm, declares rather emphatically and confidently, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." It indicates an absolute trust in the Lord to provide for all his needs - virtually everything imaginable (and unimaginable!) in this life - from the spiritual to the physical, to the emotional and the material.
To declare such confidence boldly and convincingly speaks of David's deep, abiding, and strong relationship with God without which no one can declare and claim such kind of absolute and utmost trust in the Lord. The key lies in a healthy and abiding relationship with God marked by an authentic and unshakeable faith in Him.
Even in the midst of pain, failure, and turmoil this Shepherd provides rest, refreshment, and restoration for "He makes us to lie down in green pastures...leads us beside the still waters...restores our soul...and leads us in the paths of righteousness." In a world filled with noise and many conflicting voices, we can always withdraw to a place of quiet, clarity, and security - right in the very reassuring presence of this Great Shepherd.
As a mighty warrior who has been to ferocious battles, David has seen the face of death multiple times. Yet through all those times he is without fear. He is oozing with confidence as he boldly declares, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil...for you are with me." He knows that his life is in the Shepherd's hands and come what may, he is eternally secure.
While David has many enemies that threaten his life and his people, he is assured of God's protection and preservation - a special favor that makes even his enemies wonder in amazement as they watch God at work in his life and over His chosen people. God protects. God vindicates.
David wraps up this magnificent Psalm with an affirmation of God's everlasting grace over his life, a prayer and a promise that can lift up anyone's soul: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
This beautiful Psalm points to the One who came to earth one day and walked the shores of Galilee - Jesus. He made a strong connection to Psalm 23 when He declared, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10:11). And indeed He laid down His life for us more than 2,000 years ago at a place called Calvary.
Yes, life can be unfair and downright cruel at times. We live in a fallen world and everyone experiences good things as well as bad things. But as we put our trust in the Great Shepherd, He will help us navigate through all the storms of life. Like a shepherd to his sheep, He will always keep us close, watching over us to make sure we make it safely home.