The twenty-third chapter in the book of Psalms may be one of the most familiar passages of scripture in all the Bible. It is a beloved favorite for many people and is frequently inscribed on religious paraphernalia. Many have heard it read at a loved one
It was written by King David while on the run from his enemy. He is living or rather hiding, in caves pursued by his very own son. Keep in mind, this is not the first time David’s enemies have wanted to take his life. Remember King Saul was persistent in his pursuit of David as well.
The opening line of the Psalm reads, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” First, we notice right out of the gate, David acknowledges God. He calls God his shepherd which implies that not only is God protecting him, but also God is leading him. David goes on to confirm both of these points when he says, “your rod and staff, they comfort me” and “he leads me beside still waters.”
Second, David implies not only is God the shepherd, but that David is the sheep. Thus, David is trusting and following his shepherd where he directs. He is trusting that God will protect him. David describes how God provides for him using imagery. God’s pastures are not dried up patches of trodden over grass. Instead, God provides green pastures near still calm waters, where the sheep can safely drink and rest without fear. Can you see the lush, thick grass and still waters David describes as you read the second verse?
Finally, in verse 3 David recognizes God as the one who restores his soul and who guides him in the paths of righteousness. Psalms 23 paints a beautiful picture of how God guides, protects and provides for his people when they demonstrate faith and place their trust in him.