Many of us know Psalm 23 because we've heard it read at many funerals.
But Psalm 23 is more than a reading for the dead.
It's a Psalm for the living.
Let's explore it's treasures today, shall we?
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness of his name's sake.
Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
The Lord is my shepherd - that's a Relationship. The Lord is my shepherd; not just a shepherd. This speaks of a relationship of submission, where the sheep voluntarily follows the shepherd; He's my shepherd, I will follow Him.
I shall not want - that's Supply. Because He's my shepherd, I know I shall not want or lack for anything. He will supply all my needs.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures - that's Rest. I can rest in Him, trusting Him for protection, provision, and all else I may need. This is also a place of intimacy. Because I know Him, I can rest in Him.
He leads me beside the still waters - that's Refreshment. In the place of security and intimacy, I will be refreshed, renewed in Him.
He restores my soul - that's Healing. Healing both for the inner man - the heart, and the outer man -my physical body.
He leads me in paths of righteousness - that's Guidance. He will lead and guide me where I need to go; He orders my steps. This also a place of humility; humility of heart that will allow another to lead and direct you; that will allow another to take control. You hand over the "reins" to Him, knowing and trusting He will lead you to all things good in Him.
For His name's sake - that's Purpose. There is purpose and meaning to your life. He leads and guides you to all things for His purposes - that will lead to blessing for you and glory for Him.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death - that's Testing. Oh, that's not one we look forward to, but our faith will be tried as gold in the fire of Testing. But the test is prepared by the One who loves us and redeems us!
I will fear no evil - that's Protection. We can count on his protection in all ways. He goes before us and He is our rear guard.
For You are with me - that's Faithfulness. We can count on His faithfulness. Even when we are not faithful, He is for He cannot deny Himself. We are His and He will be faithful to His purposes in us. His presence is always with us, even we don't feel it.
Your rod and your staff they comfort me - that's Discipline and it's also Security!! The Word tells us that God disciplines those He loves. We can be sure that if we start going "our own way", He will bring us back to where we need to be in Him. His discipline is a result of His love; we can trust that. This also speaks of identity. We belong to Him, thus the discipline. We don't usually discipline other people's children; but we always discipline our own - for their good.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies - that's Hope. The hope we have in Him that we will not be devoured by our enemies; we will live to partake of the table prepared for us. That also is peace - the peace that passes all understanding - that we are kept in Him til the last day.
You anoint my head with oil - that's Consecration. We have been set apart and "branded" by Him for His plan and purpose. We have been anointed with the gifts and talents He chooses to use as He sees fit.
My cup runs over - that's Abundance. The abundant life we have in Him, right here, right now. The Kingdom is within you. He gives freely to us all that pertains to life and godliness here and now. That's fullness - the Holy Spirit is poured out without measure - filling us to all fullness!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life - that's Blessing. We are a blessed people. Blessed beyond measure. He is always good and His mercies never come to an end.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord - that's Security. I will dwell in His house. Eternal life is mine; secured by the blood of Jesus.
Forever - that's Eternity. We will live and reign with Him. His Kingdom is without end - forever and ever!
See the beauty and promise in this Psalm?
A Psalm for us - here and now.