Psalm 23:1-6, “ 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 forever”.
Precursor: David wrote this Psalm when he was an old man and reflecting back upon his life. After killing Goliath, getting chased by Saul, being King of Israel, committing adultery with Bathsheba, he reflected back upon all that he had been through in his life and penned the most famous Psalm, as a summation of the Lord in his life. This is written from a shepherd that shepherded sheep and then the nation of Israel.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”– David was well versed in the life of a shepherd for that was his first role as a boy. He personalizes it by saying “my shepherd”. It was God who was leading him. The shepherd always provided all the sheep needed and the Lord was certainly no different.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures”. A shepherd brings the sheep to green pastures because that is where the food is and they can lay down there comfortably. The Lord nourishes our spirit and hearts with His love and truth, which is more valuable than food.
“He leadeth me besides still waters”. Shepherds would always bring the sheep to still waters because if they drink from running, rushing water the sheep could get swept away by the current. If the sheep fell, their wool would act as a sponge and drown the sheep. Surely our Shepherd leads us to places that we can spiritually drink of His living water that are still, and healthy. Jesus said if we drink of the water He gives we shall never thirst again, because the source never runs dry – praise God!
“He restores my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”. The shepherd cares for the sheep and helps them when they are sick or overwhelmed.
“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” The shepherd is there with the sheep through the most horrific times. God is certainly there because there is a shadow, which can only be cast from the light. His rod is there to count and discipline the sheep. God needs to discipline, and He only disciplines those he loves. The staff was to pull the sheep up when they ended up wondering away and the shepherd would find it hanging off a ledge. He would reach down and pull the helpless sheep up to safety.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over”. God can set a feast in the presence of our very enemies. The shepherd would anoint the nose of the sheep to keep a certain kind of parasite from burrowing up the nose of the sheep into the brain. WOW! We are anointed with God’s precious Holy Spirit to keep the enemy from getting into our head with things.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. All in all because the Shepherd stayed with David his whole life, all that God had to offer: His goodness, and mercy never left David. He was a man in the palace of the Lord, and would dwell in the house of the Lord (heaven) all the days of his life (eternally).
Application: Don’t focus on Death Valley, but rather the presence of the Lord in Death Valley.
Blessings, Pastor Phil <><