1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even 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 overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
This is one of the first psalms that many young people memorize and place in their heart. It is a simple psalm yet rich in meaning. The relationships are simple. The Lord is the shepherd, and we are his sheep. He leads and we follow. He takes care of us and we enjoy the life he gives us. Our companions are goodness and love and they will be with us along the entire journey. Our dwelling will be in the house of the Lord forever.
I could go deeper with this psalm as many other writers have in the past. However, this is a personal psalm, a psalm of a personal relationship between the Lord (shepherd) and the believer (sheep). Once you know the Lord and walk with Him then these words will have a special meaning to you. You will recall times in your past walks that he gave you rest, times in the past that he had to restore you, times in the past when everything seem too far gone to be save and yet he rescued you, times that he blessed you as your enemies were watching and observing how great God rewarded you, times when the peace of God that passes all understanding came over you and finally you truly realized that this world is not your home but heaven is and you enjoy your life on this as a journey with friends and family. If you don’t know the Lord and you are going about this journey on earth alone, then you are missing the most precious relationship that you could have on this earth.
As I read this Psalm, I realized that it is a Psalm that I have hidden in my heart. As I journey daily on this life, I must realize that this shepherd in Psalms twenty-three is also the one who opens and closes the doors of opportunity for me as I continue on this journey of life on this earth. Verse six which states “surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life” should be the goal we pursue daily. It is easy for us to want more. I remember a picture of four cows divided into four pastures with each cow reaching between the barbwire into the pasture of the other cow. The words underneath this picture were “The grass is greener on the other side”. Ask yourself this question today, “are you happy to be in the green pastures that the Lord makes you lie down in today”? Remember it is the shepherd that leads you in the path of life. Stay on the path and Goodness and Mercy will follow you all the days of your life.