The LORD Is My Shepherd - Part I
“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 for 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 mine enemies: You anoint My head with oil; My cup runneth 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” —Psalm 23
This psalm, written by David, was written from the perspective of the sheep rather than the shepherd’s. Psalm 23 may very well represent the greatest height of inspiration ever given to a frail mortal.
The theme of this psalm is not so much what the Lord gives to us or does for us, but rather what and who the Lord is. It shows us that everything the Lord did, He did it for us.
The Lord Is My Shepherd
The word Lord, as used here in the Hebrew, is Jehovah-roi, which literally means “the Lord is my shepherd.” As well, the title of Lord, as used here, also means “Jehovah-jireh”—the Lord our provider. This phrase makes it clear that there is no other shepherd and no other provider except for the Lord of glory.
The word shepherd means “to tend a flock.” All of this tells us that the believer is under the care of the true shepherd, Jesus Christ. Everything we need is found in Christ, the true shepherd, and guaranteed by His death on Calvary’s Cross and His resurrection. Our shepherd is the only shepherd who can save the sinner, heal the sick, raise the dead, walk on water, turn water into wine, calm the storm, multiply the fish and loaves, and cleanse lepers.
I Shall Not Want
This phrase covers everything that we need. Whatever we need—physically, spiritually, financially, and emotionally—is found in Christ. Our shepherd desires us to walk and live in victory with our needs met. There is no lack as it regards what the Great Shepherd can do for His sheep who will believe Him.
He Makes Me To Lie Down In Green Pastures
The pronoun He actually says “Jehovah-shalom”—the Lord our peace. He gives to His sheep peace—satisfying peace and justifying peace. The term “green pastures” proclaims to us a bountiful supply.
He Leads Me By The Still Waters
This phrase actually means “water of refreshing.” This world is a desert place, and there is no living water to be found except in Christ. The leading He does is always to the Word of God, with the Bible being the revealed body of truth that has been given to mankind. The Bible is our “green pastures” and “waters of refreshing.” The Bible contains the answer to every problem that plagues the human heart.
He Restores My Soul: He Leads Me In The Paths Of Righteousness For His Name’s Sake
The first “He” in this verse is Jehovah-ropha—The Lord our healer. The second “He” in this verse is Jehovah-tsidkenu—the Lord our righteousness.
The phrase, “He restores my soul,” refers to the soul being revived and reinvigorated. At times, life gets hard and our soul gets heavy, but if we yield to the Lord and depend on Him, He will restore and reinvigorate.
“Paths of righteousness” means paths of pleasantness and peace. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can provide for us paths of righteousness. He alone knows these paths, and He does it for His name’s sake. In other words, God blesses us for Jesus’ sake, because He is the one who paid the price for the things we need.
As the Lord is the only one who knows the right path, this strongly implies that there are false paths that lead to destruction. You must know the right path, and the right path is Jesus Christ.
Next month, we will finish the rest of this psalm.
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