Psalms 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 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 psalm is perhaps the most beloved portion of scripture in all the Bible. Whenever I read it before a congregation of people, I always see lips moving as people are following me along with me. What makes this little chapter of the Bible so special?
I believe that it is its rich symbolism that causes it to be so meaningful. Who can not envision a shepherd tenderly caring his sheep? Consider with me three aspects of this special psalm.
1) Sheep Needing Protection
Sheep have no natural ability of their own to defend themselves against wild predators. Sheep need a shepherd to watch over them and to care for them. David said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” The rod was a club-like object that the shepherd used to fight off animals that tried to attack the sheep. The LORD is my Shepherd. He fights off the enemy who tries to destroy me.
2) Sheep Needing Provision
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” David declared that God provided for him everything he needed. His gentle Shepherd led him to green pastures where his soul could be fed and to still waters where his spirit could always be refreshed.
3) Sheep Needing Presence
Sheep need the shepherd to be with them. Whenever the shepherd is absent, the sheep are helpless to care for themselves. Sheep can’t naturally fight off their enemies nor find for themselves green pastures. They need someone to lead them. David said, “The LORD is my shepherd.” Please note that the name ‘LORD’ is in all capital letters. All capital letters indicates that this is a reference to none other than Jehovah God. God Almighty takes care of His sheep.
There is a good reason why some portions of scripture become very familiar to God’s people. They are so rich with meaning that we must return to them over and over again. My prayer is that the 23rd Psalm will be a special blessing to each of us who are a part of His flock.