The Lord is my Shepherd…

Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want for any good thing…

David describes the Lord’s loving care for His own people as a shepherd’s devotion for his flock and a host’s provisions for his guests.

The psalmist represents his relationship to God as a sheep to his shepherd, not lacking any rest, guidance, or safety.

(23:1a) David begins this psalm by introducing the first metaphor that describes the relationship between the Lord and His people with the tender analogy of a shepherd and his flock.

During his youth David had been a shepherd watching his father’s flock (1 Sam. 16:11,19; 17:15), so he was very familiar with this picture.

Transferring the image to God, he declared, “The LORD is my shepherd.”

The word my emphasizes how deeply personal and close was his individual relationship with God.

Everything in the next four verses flows out of this shepherd motif.

What is so amazing is that in ancient Israel, a shepherd’s work was considered the lowest of all work.

A shepherd would actually live with his sheep twenty-four hours a day with unwavering devotion, day and night, both in fair weather and bad, to nurture, guide, and protect his sheep.

The shepherd would assume full responsibility for the needs and safety of his flock, even risking his own life for their protection.

This is what God has chosen to be to His people (cp. Pss. 28:9; 74:1; 77:20; 78:52; 79:13; 80:1; 95:7; 100:3).

He is their everything, their constant protector.

(v. 1b) Because of the greatness of God and His constant, loving care over His flock, David concluded, I shall not be in want.

Left to themselves, sheep lack everything, being totally helpless and defenseless animals who cannot care for themselves.

But under the shepherd’s care, all their needs are abundantly met.

So it was for David, as well as for all believers who are under the watchcare of Him who is all-sufficient, inexhaustible, and unchanging.

All God’s sheep, precious to Him, shall not be in want.

They will lack nothing that is good and necessary for enjoying life to the fullest.

(v. 2) Continuing the shepherd’s theme, David boasted, He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Sheep are fearful animals, easily panicked and, when scared, will not lie down to rest.

Only the shepherd can provide the calm assurance to make them lie down in green pastures or grassy meadows.

This speaks of the peace and true satisfaction that only God can provide His sheep.

What is more, David said, He leads me beside quiet waters.

Literally, this refers to waters that have been stilled, further expanding this peaceful scene.

Weary and worn sheep need a long, refreshing drink from the rapid stream.

But being instinctively afraid of running water, the shepherd must pick up a few large stones and dam up a place, causing the rushing stream to slow its current and create quiet waters.

Then the flock may drink with no fear. God gives true, abiding peace to believers who abide in Him and drink of His grace.

(v. 3a) Moreover, this good shepherd restores my soul.

This statement is subject to different interpretations.

It may picture the straying sheep being brought back to the fold (cp. Isa. 49:5; Ps. 60:1).

In Hebrew vernacular these words can mean “brings to repentance” or “brings to conversion” (cp. Hos. 14:1-3; Joel 2:12).

Psalm 19:7 uses this same wording to picture the spiritual renewal or revival of a believer.

But since the word for soul (Heb. nephesh) is accurately translated “life,” this may mean that the Lord restores the psalmist to physical health.

Either interpretation is certainly true.

(v. 3b-c) Furthermore, David wrote, the Lord guides me in paths of righteousness.

Unlike other animals sheep lack a sense of direction and can become easily lost, even in the most familiar environment.

They easily go astray as they are prone to wandering.

The shepherd must continually guide them to paths of righteousness, or “the right path,” if they are to be moved from field to field without falling into deep crevices or off ragged cliffs.

Likewise, God by His Word and Spirit guides His flock effectively in the right way.

All this God does for His name’s sake, meaning for the honor of His own glory, which is the highest of all His motives.

Even when believers sin, God is committed to leading them back to the right path.

(v. 4a-b) Taking this image a step further, David portrayed the shepherd as being able to protect His sheep in their moments of greatest danger.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, David stated, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.

The shepherd would lead His flock from one grazing place to another, a move which would often involve passing through a narrow valley between high jagged cliffs, often filled with potential dangers such as wild animals.

The sun would be obstructed from shining into the valley, creating darkness or a shadow.

Such a shadow in the valley would often become a place of death for wandering sheep, hence a “shadow of death.”

Yet even in such danger, the Lord was present to guard and guide His flock, dispelling all fear of evil as He led them into paths of righteousness (v. 3).

(v. 4c) Keeping with this shepherd imagery, David declared, Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

The shepherd’s rod was usually an oak club about two feet long.

It was used to defend the flock against wild animals such as lions or bears, as well as for counting, guiding, and protecting his sheep.

And the shepherd’s staff was his crook. Bent or hooked at one end, it was used to pry sheep loose from thickets, to push branches aside, to pull fallen sheep out of holes, to lead them along narrow paths, and to drive off snakes.

Such tools were sources of comfort for fearful sheep and for David.

He lived his life often surrounded by multiple dangers, yet God’s Word and loving hand were the most effective means of guiding and guarding his faithful servant David.

(vv. 5-6) The psalmist represents his relationship to God as a guest to a gracious host, not lacking any provision, goodness, or eternal blessing.

(v. 5a) David shifted metaphors from the shepherd/flock motif to the host imagery.

As a gracious host would attend to the needs of his guests, so David said to God, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

Though surrounded by many enemies who sought to harm him, David recognized that God was with him for his good, supplying his needs as a host would care for a guest.

Again, the same central theme of this psalm is reinforced.

Even under the most adverse circumstances, in the face of threatening enemies, David would lack nothing (cp. v. 1).

(v. 5b) It was the custom of a loving host to provide oil for the head of his honored guest to refresh him after his travels.

Thus David added, You anoint my head with oil, speaking of the Lord’s ministry to revive his heart, especially when surrounded by many foes who threatened him.

The presence of God invigorated him, renewing him for all the demands of life.

(v. 5c) Further, David testified, my cup overflows, referring to the constant supply of drink provided by an attentive host.

His cup was always more than filled to the brim, overflowing with the most satisfying drink imaginable.

This pictures the abundant supply of divine grace in David’s life which was more than sufficient to strengthen and sustain him in the most dangerous circumstances.

God is an infinite source of all that believers need to live victoriously in difficult situations.

(v. 6) Finally, David concluded, Surely goodness (Heb. tob, that which is pleasant, beautiful, i.e., God’s presence and grace) and love will follow me all the days of my life, even when he found himself in life-threatening situations.

Through thick and thin, in every extremity of life, God’s blessings were chasing David.

Thus, on a triumphant note David wrote, I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Even death would serve David’s greater good, which would usher him into God’s immediate presence where he would enjoy the goodness and love of God forever, or literally “throughout the years.”

Nothing can separate the believer from the love of God, not even death (cp. Rom. 8:38-39).

David describes the Lord’s loving care for His own people as a shepherd’s devotion for his flock and a host’s provisions for his guests.

Everything We Need

The sufficiency of Christ in the life of any believer is astounding, a matter of great comfort and encouragement.

Whenever a person has Christ in His life, he has everything he needs because Christ is everything.

Christ is able to meet every need. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Creator and sustainer of all, the infinite God who can meet whatever needs we may have.

This is the central theme of this psalm, which is a source of grace to every believer.

Because of the indwelling of Christ in believers’ lives, they will never lack anything they truly need within the will of God.

Christ is their peace and protection in every situation, their guard and guide in all they do.

What a blessing it is for every believer, pictured here as a weak sheep and weary traveler, to know that Christ, the Good Shepherd and gracious host, is sufficient to meet every need.

Christ is the full source and abundant supply for meeting every need we have.


God, we declare our dependence on you for our spiritual and physical needs.

You are the Lord and Shepherd who has provided all that pertains to our life and godliness.

For this we bless your name. We know that when death’s dark shadows cover us, we have nothing to fear because you are with us.

Lord, like a host you provide above and beyond all we could ask or think.

Continue to saturate our lives with your goodness and love.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday, July 17


Wherever you are at in your life’s journey, Jesus Christ is waiting for you in Psalm 23.

Psalm 23, also known as The Lord is My Shepherd, is one of the most well-known psalms in the Bible.

“Come!” Jesus says to us. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

“I am the good shepherd,” Jesus assures us.

“I know my sheep and my sheep know me… My sheep listen to my voice.

I call them by name and lead them. They follow me because they know my voice…

I am the good shepherd. I lay down my life for my sheep.”
(John 10:11, 14-15)

In Psalm 23 we meet Jesus, the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), face-to-face wherever we are at in life.

Whatever you need, however you might be struggling, wherever you are at in your life’s journey, Jesus Christ is waiting for you in Psalm 23.

He will lead you through the seasons of the soul that we all go through.

He will care for you and guide you in the steps of grace that are embedded in the Psalm 23 journey.

Watch this video to learn how to pray through Psalm 23.


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This is an open forum where we look into and investigate the Rhema Mysteries of God's Word; and also other issues of importance for our day and time.

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