A Few Thoughts on Psalm 23

A Few Thoughts on Psalm 23
Psalm 23
Psalm 23:1 NKJV A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psalm 23:1 NLT A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
Psalm 23:2 NKJV He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
Psalm 23:2 NLT He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
Psalm 23:3 NKJV He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3 NLT He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Psalm 23:4 NKJV 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.
Psalm 23:4 NLT Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
Psalm 23:5 NKJV You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Psalm 23:5 NLT You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
Psalm 23:6 NKJV Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
Psalm 23:6 NLT Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
Introduction: No Psalm is quoted more than Psalm 23. It has been quoted at times from birth through death, from joy to sorrow, from comfort to praise.
King David knew sheep well, for he was the family shepherd for many years. The intensity of devotion and reverence for Yahweh is clearly seen in his writing. We must remember that this is inspired by the Holy Spirit. King David was King but also prophet.
There are two types of leadership. The best is a shepherd leader. The only other is evil; it is the hunter type.
The Shepherd is
  • Motivated by love
  • Acts with compassion
  • Alert to troubles
  • Awake to dangers
  • Guiding to safety and well-being
The Hunter is
  • Motivated by self
  • Acts to satisfy him/herself
  • Alert to rebellion
  • Awake to any movements for freedom
  • Guides into greater and greater control
The example of the Shepherd is the Lord Jesus
The example of the Hunter is Nimrod, the hunter
The idea of a Shepherd is
  • Authority,
  • Guiding,
  • Safety,
  • Compassion.
  • He or she gives.
  • The principle is to build up, maintain, increase health and well-being.
  • Freedom within boundaries is encouraged and maintained.
The idea of the Controller is
  • Power,
  • Supremacy,
  • Mastery,
  • Make clear who is in Charge.
  • He or she takes.
  • The principle is to use them, and when done destroy.
  • There is a lack of freedom.
Unfortunately, we see many, if not most, leaders, parents, pastors, husbands, etc. as controlling. There is Christian leadership, pastorship, or marriage. The opposite is a controlling leadership, pastorship, or marriage.
God makes sure we do not lack what is needed. What is wanted is not always granted.
There are 4 verbs here describing God’s leadership:
  • To rest in green pastures
  • The word makes appears to be controlling but the Hebrew word is רָבַץ râbats. In the Hiphil, it does not have the idea of forcing or driving them it, rather, it is encouraging. One could almost translate it as have them rest.
    • Song of Songs 1:7 NKJV (To Her Beloved) Tell me, O you whom I love, Where you feed your flock, Where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself By the flocks of your companions?
    • Ezekiel 34:14 NIV I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.
  • The Hebrew word is נָהַל nâhal. It means, according to Strong’s, to lead or guide to a watering place, bring to a place of rest, refresh.
  • Again, instead of driving them, the shepherd guides them to the best for well-being.
  • Psalm 31:3 NLT You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
  • Isaiah 40:11 NLT He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
  • The Hebrew word is שׁוּב shûwb. In the Piel, it means to bring, to restore.
  • The times might be hard, difficult, and tiring, but the shepherd wants the sheep to be restored.
  • Isaiah 58:12 GNB Your people will rebuild what has long been in ruins, building again on the old foundations. You will be known as the people who rebuilt the walls, who restored the ruined houses.
  • Psalms 60:1 NRSV To the leader: according to the Lily of the Covenant. A Miktam of David; for instruction; when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when Joab on his return killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt. O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; now restore us!
  • The Hebrew word is נָחָה nâchâh. It means to guide and lead forth.
  • Genesis 24:27 NRSV and said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the way to the house of my master’s kin.
  • Psalm 73:24 NIV You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
  • Isaiah 58:11 NIV The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. [All emphasis is mine].
The Shepherd leader makes sure the sheep’s needs are taken care of
  • Food (green pastures) Our food is Scripture. Since God is both omniscient and omnisapient, He can communicate perfectly. The plain, normal sense of interpretation is best. Principles of the Literal Bible Interpretation by Cooper Adams III is particularly good if you need some principles of Bible Interpretation. God provides, but we must do the reading and the studying. We have no excuses to not do so.
  • Water (quiet water)
    • Invitation: Revelation 22:17 NRSV The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
    • Prophesied: Isaiah 55:1 CSB Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the water; and you without silver, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without silver and without cost!
    • The Lord Jesus in numerous places spoke of thirsty and God quenching water. John 4:10, 14 CSB Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would ask him, and he would give you living water.” … “But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.
  • Satisfied soul
    • The soul is our emotions and being. It is the real person in the body. Psalms 107:8-9 NKJV Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
    • Jeremiah 31:25 ESV For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.
  • Righteousness
    • He, the Savior, provides for salvation, not condemnation: Romans 5:17-19 ESV For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
    • Philippians 3:8-9 WEL Yes indeed, I consider everything loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of everything, and I consider them just worthless filth, so that I may gain Christ 9 And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is from The Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness, which is from God on [the basis of] faith.
A shepherd leader is one who will be with us in trials, temptations, sorrows, griefs, difficulties, sickness, death, hurt, etc.
  • The rod and staff are for guiding, not punishment.
  • Fear of the unknown and the uncomfortable are very real. Yet, when God is with us, we don’t must be fear. He provides a comfort and strength to go through this valley.
  • He is here to comfort: Isaiah 61:2 NRSV To proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.
  • Even the hard things of life cannot stop His love: Romans 8:38-39 NRSV For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • He is ever present, even we do not know it. Psalms 46:1 GNB God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
  • We are set free from the fear of death. At the moment of death and earlier, He will comfort. Hebrews 2:14-15 GNB Since the children, as he calls them, are people of flesh and blood, Jesus himself became like them and shared their human nature. He did this so that through his death he might destroy the Devil, who has the power over death, 15 and in this way set free those who were slaves all their lives because of their fear of death.
  • We have hope in our death. Proverbs 14:32 NKJV The wicked is banished in his wickedness, But the righteous has a refuge in his death.
The Lord Jesus IS the shepherd, our shepherd, and hopefully, He is yours, too.
John 10:11-14 NKJV I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.
Some concluding thoughts by Alexander MacLaren: So much for the earthly future. But higher than all that rises the confidence of the closing words, ‘I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’ This should be at once the crown of all our hopes for the future, and the one great lesson taught us by all the vicissitudes of life. The sorrows and the joys, the journeying and the rest, the temporary repose and the frequent struggles, all these should make us sure that there is an end which will interpret them all, to which they all point, for which they may all prepare. We get the table in the wilderness here. It is as when the son of some great king comes back from foreign soil to his father’s dominions, and is welcomed at every stage in his journey to the capital with pomp of festival, and messengers from the throne, until he enters at last his palace home, where the travel-stained robe is laid aside, and he sits down with his father at his table. God provides for us here in the presence of our enemies; it is wilderness food we get, manna from heaven, and water from the rock. We eat in haste, staff in hand, and standing round the meal. But yonder we sit down with the Shepherd, the Master of the house, at His table in His kingdom. We put off the pilgrim-dress, and put on the royal robe; we lay aside the sword, and clasp the palm. Far off, and lost to sight, are all the enemies. We fear no change. We ‘go no more out.’
The sheep are led by many a way, sometimes through sweet meadows, sometimes limping along sharp-flinted, dusty highways, sometimes high up over rough, rocky mountain-passes, sometimes down through deep gorges, with no sunshine in their gloom; but they are ever being led to one place, and when the hot day is over they are gathered into one fold, and the sinking sun sees them safe, where no wolf can come, nor any robber climb up any more, but all shall rest for ever under the Shepherd’s eye.
Posted by Choco in 2019 at 08:20
Labels: Devotional, Psalm 23


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