Meditations on Psalm 23
May 7, 2015 0 Comments
I found myself meditating on Psalm 23 recently, and here are some observations I discovered.
The chapter of Psalm 23 is divided into 3 sections. The first section speaks about our Good Shepherd leading us in times of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. The writer lists four specific ways that God acts as our shepherd
- He makes us lie down in green pastures – God gives us rest
- He leads me beside still waters – God gives us nourishment
- He restores my soul – God rejuvenates our spirit
- He leads me in paths of righteousness – God glorifies Himself by making us righteous
Keep in mind the fact that God is leading us, as a good shepherd would lead his sheep. He does not necessarily walk beside us, or behind us, but rather leads in front of us – always a step or two ahead.
In the second section, we find ourselves in trials and tribulations (the valley of the shadow of death). But the thing that amazed me for the first time about verse 4 is that God has lead us into the valley of the shadow of death. It’s not that we find ourselves there and then God shows up next to us.
No, rather he intentionally leads us there. And we can find comfort in that. His rod and His staff bring us comfort because we know the Good Shepherd has all the weapons to keep us safe. We have no need to fear the evil we see around us because God is intentionally leading us through the valley to bring about good in us.
In the third section of this chapter, God leads us in triumph. Verse 5 speaks of preparing a table – this is feast language. He does this in the presence of our enemies which makes me think of us coming through the valley victorious.
Food is often associated with triumph and feasting in the Bible so we see in verse 5 a feast of abundance with oil and an overflowing cup. Our Shepherd is both wealthy and generous (a wonderful combination indeed).
Finally, in verse 6, we discover the fruit of a life lived by following God – goodness and mercy. You see, goodness and mercy will follow us, as we follow our Shepherd. We don’t leave behind a trail of destruction, but rather goodness and mercy. As we allow God to lead us, we leave a legacy of goodness and mercy that brings Him glory. A legacy in which others can follow as they are also lead by the Good Shepherd.