Psalm 23 (part 1)

This Psalm has really come alive to me recently. Have you ever thought about what it really is saying? It’s such a popular scripture but have we slowed down and really thought about what it means and what it’s really saying and how it applies in our lives. It’s so powerful if you really break it down and make it applicable.

Psalm 23:1-6 NKJV

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads 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 You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs 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

When you break it down, you really start to see the incredibleness of it.

The Lord is my Shepherd

The root of the word that’s most commonly associated used for “shepherd” comes from a word that means best friend. So not only is the Lord referenced as responsible overseer of his flock (that’s us….we are His sheep) but he is our best friend; He never leaves us or abandons us. He is always there for us. He is a caring, loving nurturing father-figure who doesn’t just tend to his flock out of sense of duty but out of a deep sense of love. Shepherds were also fierce protectors of their flocks; keeping them safe from harm and predators. That’s amazing to see it like that. To see the depth of meaning in those five words! It’s so much more than just some random person guiding a bunch of dumb sheep around.

I shall not want.

I will have more than enough. I lack nothing. I have everything that I need. My emotional, physical and spiritual needs are met. I am provided for. What a powerful truth. What would it look like if we truly walked out our daily lives believing this truth and living in it! I’m pretty sure that we’d operate differently than we often do. How much more confidence would we have if we fully believed that everything we needed was taken care of? What would we do differently, if we really embodied this truth? Think about it! Wow!

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

In God’s incredible love for us, He provides a safe place. A place where I can rest, free from all fear, because I trust that He has led me there and is watching out for and protecting me.

He leads me beside still waters.

I can confidently follow where He leads me, because He brings me to peaceful, calm places where I can be refreshed.

He restores my soul.

When we follow the paths where He leads(to the green pastures and still waters) and rest in His loving, safe presence; our souls and lives are refreshed. So often life wears us down as we do our own things, our own ways, on our own; but He wants us to follow His ways, His path and be refreshed and restored!

He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.

This phrase actually translates as “circular paths of righteousness.” Did you know that the sheep on the hills in Israel would wander in circles as they grazed and they would slowly circle their way up the hills to the tops. It was so much easier than just heading straight up. Even though it may seem like we are just going in circles and not really getting anywhere, when we follow where our Good Shepherd leads, we gain ground; and in doing so, we bring honor to His name.

How incredible are those first three verses? I’d love to hear what part stands out to you the most.

I’ll share more of my thoughts, on the rest of this Psalm, in another post.