A Reflection of Psalm 23

Posted: October 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

Psalm 23 is perhaps the most famous of all the Psalms David penned.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. David knew shepherding. It was his role in the family. He was assigned the sheep to take care of. While the concept can seem foreign to many in today’s culture, David understood. While my knowledge of what a shepherd does is from a distant observation, David lived and experienced it. He protected the sheep. He looked after them. He knew them by name. He had only in mind what was best for the sheep. He would lead the shape to wonderful pastures for grazing and water for drinking. When a predator came, David would risk his life to save the sheep. He would kill or drive away any that would seek to harm the sheep. Yes, David knew shepherding. Perhaps that is why this Psalm is so famous, for David wrote with intimate knowledge and insight – the Lord is my shepherd. I wonder if David recalled the times he looked after his families sheep as he penned this Psalm? He makes me lie down in green pastures – perhaps David recalls those moments of peace as the sheep safely grazed and he looked after them. Did he use this time to reflect on his own heart for his sheep and the great care he took on behalf of his sheep? He leads me beside quiet waters – I wonder if David remembers the peace he and the sheep felt during those time of eating and drinking. As David pens the phrase, “he refreshes my souls. He guides me along the right paths for his names sake” all is at peace. David is at rest, the sheep are safe.

There comes a sudden shift in this Psalm as David writes “even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil.” David recalls how the sheep would often become prey and be hunted by the lion or the bear. David also realizes he is a hunted man. Saul’s jealousy has taken over and he wants David dead. David is often seen running, yet God is always with him directing his paths and allowing to live in safety.

David realizes that in the midst of the chaos around him: the wars, the running from Saul, the people that are out for his life, he remains safe. He is able to have peace, for the Lord (his Shepherd) has prepared a table for him in the midst of his enemies and he is able to feast on the Lord even when so much is going on around him.

We need to be reminded of our shepherd. He loves us. We are His sheep; His children. He takes care of us and watches over us. He provides our needs. Our only task is to follow our shepherd. We follow his lead and trust that He will do what is needed to take care of us. Even when the predator comes seeking to devour us, we trust in the Shepherd. Then we can gladly say along with David, “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

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