Psalm 23 – Jesus is your Shepherd!

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I ·have everything I need [L will lack nothing].  He ·lets me rest [makes me lie down] in green pastures.He leads me to ·calm [quiet] water.  He ·gives me new strength [T renews my soul].He leads me on paths that are ·right [righteous; or straight] for the ·good [sake] of his ·name [reputation].Even if I walk through ·a very dark valley [or the shadow of death],I will ·not be afraid [T fear no evil], because you are with me.Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me. You prepare a ·meal [L table] for me in ·front [the presence] of my enemies. You ·pour oil of blessing on my head [anoint my head with oil; C oil was a means of refreshment in a hot, dry environment];you ·fill my cup to overflowing [L make my cup overflow; C a cup of blessing].  Surely your goodness and love [loyalty; T mercy] will ·be with[pursue; T follow] me all my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord ·forever [L for length of days].

General Comments

  • David saw himself as a sheep led by God his Shepherd – he knew that he was loved by God and that he would not lack.
  • In a way, this portrays what 1 John 4:18 is saying
  • Key for us to do our best in life, but not in stress. Live life and love, in rest and peace, not stressed out.
  • We don’t need to defend ourselves, neither do we need to fight for open doors. If God opens the door, it is ours. If God doesn’t open the door, it’s not meant to be ours at this present moment.
  • Many think that this is a Psalm for death, however, when we read and understand the Psalm we come to know that it is about our life with our shepherd who loves, leads, cares and is always with us.

Vs 1 –  The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want.

  • Other versions of the bible say, “The Lord is my shepherd; I ·have everything I need [will lack nothing].“
  • As you meditate on this simple verse, begin to realize that the Lord IS (present tense) your shepherd.
  • A shepherd provides for his sheep, feeds them and protects them. In the same way, Jesus your shepherd provides for you, feeds you, and protects you.
  • “I shall not want” = the Lord is our provider! One of the names of our God is Jehovah Jireh, which means “the all-providing One.” He provides more than enough. The God of more-than-enough came in the flesh and walked among His people. And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He did not give His disciples small blessings. That is why He said to Peter, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets [plural] for a catch” (Luke 5:4), and not “let down your net [singular].” And what a catch it turned out to be—a boat-sinking, net-breaking catch! It was such a big and unexpected blessing that Peter and all who were with him were “astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken. He provided while on earth and he provides now for whatever we need.
    • {Health, Healing (“I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26))},
    • Finances,
    • Direction (Are you groping in the dark, not knowing what to do? He says, “I am the light of the world (John 8:12).) Success.
    • Are you looking for a way out of a bad situation? He says, “I am your deliverer. I will reach down from on high, take hold of your hand and draw you out of the deep waters” (see Psalm 18:2,16).
    • What is it that we are facing? Is it wisdom, favor or provision that you need? Rest assured that Jesus, our shepherd, will surely supply it, and you shall not be in want for anything.

Vs 2 –  He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.

  • Since the Lord is providing for all our needs, He wants us to lie down and experience abundance (We are receiving based on His completed work!).
  • When you rest, it’s an act of faith. You’re saying, “God, all right, you have finished everything. And if there’s any area not finished, I’m resting so you can finish it in me, through me.” You are resting in work. It is not inactivity.
  • Are you going to work tomorrow saying, “Okay, there’s a deadline. Okay, my boss want to talk to me, or this”? Are you resting in him? Do you believe he will work in you? Or do you feel like nothing is happening? Let me tell you this, even when He’s sleeping, He’s controlling the storm.
  • The place of God’s rest is where you’ll find everything has been done for you. And if something’s left undone, it will be done in you. It’ll be done for you.
  • This is the essence of Jesus’ message in the Sermon on the Mount when he said, “Look at the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t struggle, they don’t strain, yet your heavenly Father clothed them. Are you not much better than those lilies?”
  • This brings to mind Jesus invitation to us in Matthew to follow Him and to leave a life of worry! Matthew 11:28-30 (Message Version) says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Vs 3 –  He refreshes and restores my soul (life); He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

  • Expanded version says this: He ·gives me new strength [ renews my soul]. He leads me on paths that are ·right [righteous; or straight] for the ·good [sake] of his ·name [reputation].
  • Voice version: He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.
  • Complete Jewish Bible: he restores my inner person. He guides me in right paths for the sake of his own name.

Vs 4 – Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.

  • We are only walking through the valley we DO NOT STAY in the valley.  So much grace and love shown us.  We see also that it is but the shadow of death and not death itself.  Jesus conquered death for us at Calvary and defeated it forevermore.  No more fears (Psalm 91), instead we have His shalom peace (John 10:27-28).
  • Our Good Shepherd would never lead us into the valley of death (He came to bring life).   What happens is that we ourselves get into the valley of the shadow of death all on our own.  Our Shepherd, Jesus, who is always with us (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6, Romans 8:35-39) protects us and leads us through and out of this valley.

Vs 5 – You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You have anointed and refreshed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 

  • Some may say, “Lord, how can you expect me to eat now? The symptoms are still in my body! My bank account still shows the lack! Lord, I will eat well and I will celebrate when all my problems are resolved.”
  • But the Bible says that God doesn’t follow human nature. God says, “I will prepare a table. You eat first! You eat in the presence of your enemies, and I will take care of your enemies.”

Vs 6 – Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord.

  • “Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the day of my life” literally means “Surely goodness and mercy shall HUNT ME DOWN all the days of my life!”
  • Jesus is faithful and with us now, right here right now
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God has equipped us with what we need to achieve the victory

Judges 3:31
New International Version (NIV)
Shamgar
31 After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.

Judges 15:14-15
New International Version (NIV)
14 As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. 15 Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.

In both cases these Judges, servants of God were faced with a task that in human thinking seemed impossible.  Yet they didn’t give in or give up, they used what they had:

1) Faith, trust in God, calling and power of God

2)  Shamgar also used what he had in the earthly sense an oxgoad while Samson used what he had, the jawbone of a donkey.

God has equipped us with what we need to achieve the victory. If only we use what we have.  Important is to remain confidant and see and use it.