While we’re all familiar with the 23rd Psalm, an Associate Minister at my church (last Fall) helped me see it in a totally different way. Before reading it she acknowledged how David’s relationship with the Lord was plainly evident in the verses of Scripture she was about to read. As she proceeded to read it, much to the delight of most of those in the sanctuary (including me!), Rev. Guila Cooper was quite right. As she read the 23rd Psalm, emphasizing every “My”, “Me”, and reference to the Lord, six very old verses of Scripture were revealed to this 53-year old Christian man in a very new way!
- “The Lord is My Shepherd” (v. 1a)
- The final verse (v. 6) addresses a relationship which can be both earthly and (with God’s grace) eternal.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
- “He leadth me” is stated in two verses (v. 2 and 3).
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
- “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures”. (v. 2)
- “He restoreth my soul” (v. 3)
- ‘Fear no Evil’ verse (v. 4). The protective nature of walking with the Lord.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil: for thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
- This verse (v. 5) sets forth two ‘relationship points’ and states one of core benefits to a Christian who accepts Christ as their personal Savior:
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Thou anointest my head with oil.
My cup runneth over.
- A second assuring benefit of being led by the Lord (v. 1b), beyond having an ‘overflowing cup’.
I shall not want
- In the annotated verses from the Psalm (see below) I highlight “My” and “Me”.
- “He”, “Thy”, and “Thou” are references to the Lord.
- As a result of the Christian relationship which is richly depicted in the 23rd Psalm, David states he was assured of two things:
1. “I shall not want” (In the 1st verse). Shall doesn’t mean could or might; it’s a promise from the Lord.
2. My cup runs over (5th verse)
Psalm 23 (Annotated)
- With emphasis on Christian Relationship Points (in Red) and two core benefits of it (in Green)
1 The LORD is MY SHEPHERD; I shall not want.
2 He maketh ME to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth ME beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth MY SOUL: he leadeth 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 thou art with ME; thy rod and thy staff they comfort ME.
5 Thou preparest a table before ME in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest MY HEAD with oil; MY CUP runneth 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 for ever.
Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 136, and Isaiah 54:17
- Dealing with, respectively, Soul Restoring, Mercy, & Protection which allows one to ‘fear no evil’.
- A post (Psalm 23 – An Eye Opener!) from a blogger (Gertrude Ferguson, Enough Tribulations Ministry) that provides a perspective of Psalm 23 that I enjoyed!
In closing, may this new year be one of the best in your life! Christian Assurance (9 Pillars) is available for all children of God who’ve accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Faith is about that relationship, not being a robotic Churchgoer or Scripture Memorizer; live the words of God (in the Bible) and have a worship which is engaged and ‘for real’. Just owning a Bible and being a Churchgoer will not make every saved person a heaven-bound, Christian disciple. It ain’t that easy; the Devil is going to try to get you to leave the Path which Christ wants you to stay on.
- Let your endurance of trials now lay the groundwork for your triumphs tomorrow.
- As the Apostle Paul tells us (Romans 8), your Heavenly Father wants his children to be ‘more than conquerors’, handle afflictions gracefully, and know that eventually ‘all things will work together for your good’.
Whose your Shepherd? Whose house will you dwell in until the end and beyond in Heaven? To God be the Glory.
Greg Silverthorne, 1/1/15
Photo Credit (Sign): Leo Reynolds/flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Photo Credit (Boy with Bible): Jerry Worster/flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)