IN PSALM 23, DAVID LOOKS TO HIS HEAVENLY SHEPHERD
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.” — Psalm 23:1
David, once a mere shepherd boy and now king of Israel, pens this most popular of psalms. This psalm perhaps is written later in his life as he looks back upon his life’s journey. David is a man after God’s own heart because his Shepherd is the Lord. He relies upon God, just as sheep rely upon their shepherd. In God’s presence, David lacks nothing.
Jesus is our Shepherd. He is the Lord and Giver of Life. We bask in the love and comfort of His presence. He is our life and our all. In His grace and goodness, He fulfills our deepest needs, both physical and spiritual. All we could ever truly want can be found in Him.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.“ — Psalm 23:2-3
David begins his psalm with the cherished memory of times in the pasture with his beloved sheep. Fields rich in green grass with streams of cool water satisfy and refresh the flock under his watchful care. He is their shepherd who provides in abundance. He speaks of the peace and serenity he experiences in these times.
Our spiritual journey begins with the treasured time when we are drawn to Jesus, our Shepherd. Under His attentive care, we are nourished with the Bread of Life and the Living Water that only He can provide. We are refreshed and revived in His presence. The Shepherd of our souls nurtures and cares for us, blessing us abundantly. In Him, we discover the peace and contentment that is beyond all understanding.
“He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” — Psalm 23:3
David remembers shepherding his flock in their journey to new pasturelands. He guides them along paths through hills and valleys… alongside turbulent rivers and quiet streams… in rainy weather or sunshine. Always he is there to lead them to safety.
Jesus is our Guide on this path of life. He forever journeys with us. We set out as new creations in Him to do the work of His kingdom in His power and righteousness. Our Shepherd leads us as we travel through life’s ups and downs… along paths of sorrows and joys… in times of trouble and in times of happiness. Always He leads us safely through.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” — Psalm 23:4
David recalls being the protector of his flock through their treks in the Judean wilderness. The sheep trust their shepherd as he guides them on dangerous paths… along steep, treacherous cliffs and through the shadowy gloom of dark canyons. David remembers how his heavenly Shepherd had been his Rescuer in his battles against armies and nations. In the same way, this shepherd boy protects his sheep against lions, bears and wild animals who prey upon them. He wields his shepherd’s crook and club as weapons against their assaults to rescue his flock.
Jesus is our Defender who guides us through the wilderness of our most trying times. Our Shepherd is the Light in our darkest hours. We place our absolute trust in Him to see us through times of danger and fear… times of tears and heartbreak… times of grief and loss. He is our Warrior God who protects us, rescues us and comforts us.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” — Psalm 23:5
As David looks back on his life’s journey, he sees the faithful hand of his Shepherd always upon him. For David is God’s chosen one, anointed king and ruler of Israel. Amidst his trials with many enemies, David trusts in the presence and goodness of the Lord. God’s bountiful provision always sustains and strengthens him to persevere.
Jesus is our Ever-Faithful One. We are children of God, anointed with the blessing and power of His Spirit. Amidst our foes… worldly trials and spiritual enemies… we are victorious. Our faith overcomes our fears. We trust in the abundant favor of our Lord who delights to bless us beyond our imagining.
“Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” — Psalm 23:6
David reflects upon his lifetime… seeing the endless love God showers upon him. He looks in faith to its continuance throughout his earthly journey and his heavenly destination. This once shepherd looks to his heavenly Shepherd with a longing to live in His holy presence forever.
As we reflect upon our life’s journey, we see the abundant love and goodness that Jesus, our Shepherd, has lavished on us. He faithfully guides us, blesses us and protects us along our path through the wilderness of this world. Our path leads ever homeward to our forever home in heaven. There, our eternal Shepherd will welcome us into His heavenly sheepfold where we will be in His love and care for all eternity.