The Shepherd is my Provider (Psalm 23 Explained)

  • Meaning of Psalm 23 Explained

I was asked today by a dear friend on my Google Plus network if I could explain the meaning of Psalm 23 and what was the reason this is also read on funerals when someone is getting ready to meet the Lord. I have never been to a funeral so I didn’t know what they read but is a beautiful chapter and here is what I would like to share about it.

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads 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 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 runs 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.
Psalm 23

As we see in verse 1 “The Lord is my shepherd,” we must put ourselves as sheep in the care of Jesus Christ our Messiah and savior who is Himself God as we read in John 1:1-3, 14 and Heb. 1:2

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.
John 1:1-3

And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.
Hebrews 1:2

Christ is our shepherd and we are His chosen ones as sheep (John 10, John 21:15-17 and Hebrews 13:20). The shepherd is the provider and protector of his flock. The sheep are helpless without him. Similarly, human existence is but a sinful, carnal experience without God in our lives (John 5:30; Rom. 8:6-11).

Now may the God of peace — who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
Hebrews 13:20

How about this phrase “I shall not want,” this is an indication that as sheep in Christ’s care, we won’t lack anything. We should have a full understanding in regards to putting God and God’s way first in our life. (Matthew 6:25-34). See also the blog post “What is the Motive in your Life” which talks about not getting distracted and to focus in God’s plan in everyone’s life, and also the blog post “God Gives Life and a calling in everyone’s life” which talks about seeking God’s will in our life and then follow it.

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters.” Both the “green pastures” and “still waters” indicate a blessed abundance, further illustrating the benefits of a God-led life.

Psalm 23:3 begins, “He restores my soul.” We must understand that we are sinners, but also that Christ had redeemed us and would continue to restore us upon repentance. The blog post “Forgiveness is not an option but a command” is a good example showing an understanding of repentance and forgiveness.

“he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake,” indicates that it is Christ’s example that we are to follow, and that is to God’s glory when we obey. Yet is only through the power of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ in us, that we are even able to do so (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 4:13). All of our Lord Yahweh’s commandments are righteousness.

My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.
Psalm 119:172
New King James Version (NKJV)

King David was the one who wrote Psalm 23 and he knew that occasionally the shepherd had to lead his flock through treacherous terrain, and so he writes (as the sheep), “Yes, 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.” David had complete trust and confidence in God and His way—He had no fear, even in the “shadow of death.” The rod and staff are the shepherd’s tools, and are used to guide and correct the path of the sheep—much in the same way God has to oftentimes guide, and occasionally correct, our path. This comforted David and should also confort us. Paul indicates in II Timothy 1:7 that this mindset comes only from God: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.” We must understand the promises of blessings and protections even in our hardest times of our lives we must have complete confidence. (Eph. 3:20; Luke 11:9-13; compare though with James 4:1-3).

We should all know that as long as we would follow Christ, “…goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” in the kingdom of God: “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” We must dwell in his house as servants, to serve him for ever. If God’s goodness to us be like the morning light, which shines more and more to the perfect day, let not ours to Him be like the morning cloud and the early dew that passeth away.

Personally, I would say that the reason why this is read in funerals is because it remind us of God’s promise and because it comforts the people left behind that God is taking care of the recently deceased as He will also take care of us left behind as we wait upon His return.

In Conclusion

 The best possible way to put it is that the Lord is our shepherd, and He knows what we need better than we do. God wants us to have what is best for us. As long as we trust in Him as our shepherd, He will lead us to places of safety. He knows how to direct us away from places where we will stumble. Even when we have fallen, He can still rescue us.

Has this message touched you in any way? The love of our Heavenly Father could change hearts even at the last minutes of our lives. Don’t wait until is too late before repenting of your sins and make a better change in your life to walk away from all the earthly pleasures. They give no life but bring sorrows and pain into our life and ultimately they only lead to death. Start the walk and make a change for yourself and your family. Be the leader your family deserves. All you have to do is Surrender and make the decision to follow Christ and be ready to be use in a magnificent way to glorify the name of the Lord.

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Is so wonderful to see how the love of Christ could bring healing to the lost. A simple blog article, a Tweet, a simple post on other social networks could make someone smile. Social media is a powerful tool, the more we share, the more that our Lord is Glorified. Online Evangelism, Social media Servant dedicated to spread the good news to the lost.

  • http://twitter.com/gruumsh Gruumsh (@gruumsh)

    BEFORE OUR ENEMIES

    I was just running into this 23rd Psalm again during my morning Bible study… thinking about the word BEFORE. Sometimes amazing depth comes to the light when we study all the different ways a simple word is used in scripture.

    Here, David writes “You set a table before me in the presence of my enemies, and my cup overflows.”

    Why? So we can gloat? So they can become more jealous of us and maybe hate us even more because we have it so much better than them?

    I don’t think so. When God DOES bless us and give us amazing things and amazing opportunities, what do we do with those in the presence of OUR enemies? Why does God give us these things in places where our enemies will see? Look at other uses of the word BEFORE for clarification…

    “Eat such things as are set BEFORE you” (Luke 10:8)

    “A friend of mine has come from a journey, and I have nothing to set BEFORE him” (Luke 11:6)

    And here’s the important one, the eye-opener…

    “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. “But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. – (Luke 12:8-9)

    So what are we doing with our enemies, with this table that God has set before us? Are we gloating? Or are we feeding them?

  • http://twitter.com/gruumsh Gruumsh (@gruumsh)

    One of the most recognized and memorized passages in scripture, and for good reason, right?

    A couple things I noticed recently…

    1) He MAKES me lie down. Sometimes we don’t have the good sense to rest when we need it. Our Shepherd knows that we need breaks from our routine. That’s why he gave us the Sabbath. And one of Jesus’s titles is Lord of the Sabbath.

    2) Speaking of breaks, “Your rod and your staff comfort me”. The staff is easy – it has a looped hook in the end so the shepherd can pull the sheep out of a rough spot, like a ledge. But you know what shepherds used the rod for? To break the legs of lambs that would keep running off. They would break the legs of the lamb and carry it around until the broken bones healed, and from then on the lamb doesn’t WANT to run away any more. Is it a comfort to us when God needs to “break our bones” because we keep going in the wrong direction? Are we grateful for his guidance? Or do we get angry and rebellious?

    • http://chr1stl1ke.wordpress.com chr1stl1ke

      Indeed I agree with you and awesome point of view. Very nice brother. Words of wisdom given by the father. Blessing to fall upon you and your family. Thanks for sharing such wonderful insight. God bless

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  • Maria

    wow i truely at loss for words
    this wonderful i truely enjoyed reading this !!all 3 times

    i think it helped me get a better understanding of what “i was looking for in this verse”
    i want to thank from the bottom of my Heart you are simply awesome
    Your friend
    Maria

    • Maria

      I am sorry for the mispelling
      however, i hope you get what im saying
      and once again
      thank you .
      Maria

    • http://chr1stl1ke.wordpress.com chr1stl1ke

      You are so welcome sister. I really enjoy the time I spend putting together this blog post. It kept me busy and focus on the word of God. God bless you sister and I pray for the Heavenly Father to give you many blessings upon your life and much wisdom in Jesus name I pray!

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