Graceful Perseverance: Psalm 23, a Psalm of David- 10/03
Welcome to this week’s blog. Today I am sharing one of my favorite Bible passages, Psalm 23, a Psalm of David. In addition to the psalm itself, I’ve also provided three cross-reference scriptures for each verse. Why? Because the cross-references always help us understand a deeper explanation of each of the versus.
Psalm 23 was written by David. The Book of Psalms was written to provide poetry for the expression of praise, worship and confession of God. In Psalm 23, David describes the Lord as a shepherd due to his earlier years spent as a shepherd caring for his sheep (1 Samuel 16:10-11). As with many animals, sheep are completely dependent on their shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection. As the Lord is our shepherd, we are His sheep, not frightened, passive animals, but obedient followers, wise enough to follow the Lord, who will lead us down the right path, and in the right way. Psalm 23 is all about “disciple assets” of those who follow Christ.
Below is the New King James version of Psalm 23. I chose the NKJV because of its authenticity, and the truth of the word of God that was first written in Greek.
1-A Psalm of David. 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 Forever. – Psalm 23:1-6 (NKJV)
Let’s take a closer look at each of the six verses, as I share with you a deeper definition or meaning of each verse. The next time you recite Psalm 23, you will know exactly what each verse means; therefore, placing a deeper meaning of the psalms of David.
Verse 1: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. – John 10:11 (NKJV).
And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19 (NKJV).
For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. – 1 Peter 2:25 (NKJV).
This first verse of Psalm 23 clearly shows us the Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior laid down His life for us by what He endured on the cross. It also signifies that we are to not want anything, as the Lord is our shepherd, and doesn’t a shepherd always provide the needs of his flock? We are His flock of sheep. We are to be totally dependent on our shepherd. He knows what we need before we do. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and He will provide all of your needs.
Verse 2: He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. – Revelation 7:17 (NKJV).
There is a river whose streams delight the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. – Psalm 46:4 (NKJV).
They will not hunger or thirst, nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them. For He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. – Isiah 49:10 (NKJV).
The second verse of Psalm 23 tells us that if we truly believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, He promises to guide us, protect us, and lead us down a straight path, a path of good. As believers, we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. He will ensure we never hunger or thirst in this life. We are putting all of our faith and trust in these promises, and not relying on our own understanding, the ways of the flesh. By trusting completely in His word, we can be confident that He will show us how we can lie down in green pastures and quiet waters, where we will experience His peace.
Verse 3: He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make straight Your way before me. – Psalm 5:8 (NKJV).
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is trustworthy, making wise the simple. – Psalm 19:7 (NKJV).
Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. – Psalm 143.10 (NKJV).
Verse three confirms for me that if I put all of my trust and faith in the Lord that He will guide me down a path that is His will for my life, not my will for my life. His will for my life is the righteous path, living a life for His name’s sake. The third verse also mentions our enemies. We all have enemies. In the flesh, we are not strong enough to fight off our enemies. God knows we are weak in the flesh; therefore, He promises to go before us and protect us against our enemies.
In prayer and submission to the Lord, we must pray for Him to lead us, guide us and make our path straight. He sent His helper (the Holy Spirit) to teach us His way, His will for our life. To live a righteous life, we must follow God’s will for our life and not our own. It is only then, as His sheep, we will have everything we need from our shepherd.
Verse 4: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the wicked usurpers surround me? – Psalm 49:5 (NKJV).
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? – Psalm 118:6 (NKJV).
He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out. – Proverbs 10:9 (NKJV).
There will be a day of death for all of us. None of us are immune to death. We are totally helpless in the presence of death. The only one who can walk with us through the “valley of the shadow of death” and bring us safely to the other side, is the God of life. In this world we will also experience darkness, troubles, evil and wicked people.
We struggle with our enemies of pain, suffering, disease and injury. God never promised a blissful life here on earth if we follow Him. But He does promise is if we trust Him and live out our lives according to His will, He promises protection from our foes. We do not need to be afraid. No man on earth can take away from those who walk securely with the Lord. No man is stronger or more powerful than the God of the universe. Even though we are surrounded by the darkness and troubles of this world, we know the Lord, our shepherd, is always with His sheep. He will never leave us or forsake us in times of trouble. We can walk securely, knowing He has our back.
The reality is there are many evil and wicked people in this world. Even when they attempt to destroy us by spewing gossip, mocking and scoffing, placing judgment upon us or in cruel ways trying to destroy our name, we must first recognize we walk securely amongst them, for the Lord goes before us. Secondly, we must realize we are protected through our Lord, Jesus Christ against those who despise us and seek to destroy us. Walk through this life with integrity, and those who despise you will be revealed on God’s judgment day, when the Shepherd returns to gather His sheep to go home.
Verse 5: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Let the righteous man strike me; let his rebuke be an act of loving devotion. It is oil for my head; let me not refuse it. For my prayer is ever against the deeds of the wicked. – Psalm 141:5 (NKJV).
How great is Your goodness which You have laid up for those who fear You, and bestowed on those who take refuge in You in the site of the sons of men. – Psalm 31:19 (NKJV).
Let your clothes always be white, and never spare the oil for your head. – Ecclesiastes 9:8 (NKJV).
God knows all things. He knows we are surrounded by evil and wicked people in our everyday lives. But because of His goodness and mercy to those who love Him, He will always be with us, even at a table in the presence of our enemies. We are His anointed children. Our cups overflow because of God’s goodness toward us. We follow His command to even pray for the deeds of our enemies and the wicked. To dress in white is a metaphor of how God wants us to live our lives. Dress in white and live in righteousness in the site of man.
Verse 6: Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Remember not the sins of my youth, or my rebellious acts; remember me according to Your loving devotion, because of Your goodness, O LORD. – Psalm 25:7 (NKJV).
One thing I have asked of the LORD, this is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and seek Him in His temple. – Psalm 27:4 (NKJV).
All the LORD’s ways are loving and faithful to those who keep His covenant and His decrees. – Psalm 25:10 (NKJV).
Verse six tells us that God will protect us at all costs, even in the midst of our enemies. Even when we are surrounded by our enemies, God is the host of protection. He will not allow our enemies to harm us. This verse also shows us that God will guide us and protect us through this life, and one day bring us into His house forever.
What glorious promises we have uncovered in Psalm 23: 1-6. When we allow God, our shepherd to guide us, we find contentment. When we choose to sin, and we go our own way, straying from God, we cannot blame God for the situations we’ve created ourselves. We cannot blame God for getting lost and feeling alone in this life.
What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. – Matthew 18:12-14 (NKJV).
Our shepherd knows the “green pastures” and the “quiet waters” that will restore us. We will only reach these places by obediently following Him all the days of our life. When we reject or snub the shepherd’s guidance, provisions, and protection, we are actually rebelling against our own best interests.
Not realizing it until now, but as I become wiser to the truth, and looking back at my youth, I have literally spent my entire life searching for His green pastures, quiet waters, His peace and His contentment. Finally, at 60, I can say I have truly found Him. I've laid down my life at His feet.
Today I completely trust His will for my life.
As a child of God, I will keep His covenants and His decrees for the rest of my life, because I know He is my shepherd and I would be lost without Him.
Blessings until next week,
Debra Pauli Unstoppable Believer
Scripture Quotes: Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV) / New King James (NKJ) / English Standard Version (ESV) Digital Assets: U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index, Section 107 Archived Blogs: https://www.thewitnesstoday.com/blog-archives
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