Psa. 23:0 ¶ A psalm of David.
Psa. 23:1 ¶ The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
Psa. 23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
Psa. 23:3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Psa. 23:4 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.
Psa. 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Psa. 23:6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
The threefold testimony, I shall lack nothing (1), I will fear no evil (4) and I will dwell (6) encapsulates the psalm, dividing it into three parts: the sheep and the Shepherd (1-3), the traveler and the Companion (4) and the guest and the Host (5, 6), respectively teaching the providence of God, appointing life’s experiences, his protection over life’s pathway, and his provision now and always.
It is not the inexperienced shepherd poet because the writer of the song experienced the valley of death and had enemies. It is the voice of God’s Spirit in the experienced King, David.
1. The Shepherd and The sheep (vv. 1-3)
A. The Lord’s is my shepherd (v. 1)
· Sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection.
· The N.T calls Jesus the good shepherd (John 10:11), the great Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4).
· The verse does not focus on the sheep or himself but the great shepherd, the Lord.
· The great shepherd, Jesus, came to the world to find the lost flock, sinners. That’s why, we celebrate Christmas. Christ chose to become our shepherd.
· Can you say, “The Lord is my Shepherd”?
· If not, the gospel has not yet fulfilled its mission in your heart and life.
· The warrant is not in yourself, but in your Savior; not, “I am one of Christ’s flock,” but, “He is my Shepherd.”
· If you can say this, then you may fearlessly cast all your care on him, and finish the verse, “I shall not want.”
B. When we allow God, our shepherd, to guide us, we have contentment (V. 1b, 2,3)
· The Lord chooses the path for us.
· As the Lord is the good shepherd, he knows what he is doing and where he is leading us. He never makes a mistake.
· Rom 8:28 – He is doing the best for us.
· He chooses the path of righteousness or character development than our comfort.
· When we choose to sin and go our own way, however, we cannot blame God for the environment we create for ourselves.
· Our shepherd knows the green meadows and peaceful streams that will restore us.
· We will reach these places only by following him obediently.
· Rebelling against the shepherd’s leading is actually rebelling against our own best interests.
2. The traveler and the companion (v. 4)
· In contrast with the joyous experiences of the sheep (1-3), the pilgrim pathway traverses harsher terrain.
· Although we are believers, we are not exempted from suffering.
o Jesus was suffering at the garden of Gethsemane.
o Paul was requesting God to take away thorn from his flesh but God says that “my grace is sufficient for you.”
· Shadow of death is really ‘deepest darkness’ which includes, of course, the darkness of death.
· But in these experiences the he of vs 1-3 becomes the you, significant of closer personal touch, and the leader (2) comes alongside (with me).
· The darker the shadow, the closer the Lord! And he brings every strength, rod and staff. The duplication denotes completeness. Rod (taltum) (Lv. 27:32) possibly signifies protection; staff (kinghrol), possibly, support (Ex. 21:19).
· When John Wesley lay dying, many of his friend came to visit him. Strong Christians as they were, they were anxious to encourage him with the promises of God. At one point, however, Wesley raise himself in the bed and with special energy side to them: “Yes, tall these promises are true. But best of all, God is with us. The Great shepherd, Jesus is with us always.
3. The guest and the Host (vv. 5, 6)
· In ancient Near Eastern culture, at a feat, it was customary to anoint a person with fragrant oil.
· The anointed head speaks of the Lord’s welcome; the overflowing cup his lavish provision.
· But this goodness and love will continue as long as life lasts (lit. ‘to length of days’) and beyond there lies the house of the Lord forever.
· God’s goodness and love always welcome you as you are.
· Dwell is a traditional adjustment of the Hebrew text and may be correct, but lit. ‘I will return to the house’, i.e. when earth’s paths (2, 3), valleys and threats (5) are over, there comes the real return home.
1. The Lord is our good shepherd who gave his life for us.
a. He always leads us the best place for us.
b. Let us obey and follow him.
2. Sometimes, the path that the Lord leads us full of harsher terrain. Don’t be afraid. If he allows you to go there, he is always with you. He never leaves you alone.
3. Even if we make a mistake, he always welcome us with his love and grace. Thus, his goodness and love will follow us all the days of our lives. Moreover, when the earth’s paths, valleys and threats are over, there is home that we will go.
December 30, 2017
Dr. Za Hlei Thang teih inn ih ka simmi a si.
J.A. Motyer, New Bible Commentary
New Living Translation Study Bible
Pulpit Bible Commentary