Ps 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
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.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
Though this is a relatively short Psalm and I would venture to say that most people could recite it from memory it is so full of encouragement and promise.
With the Lord as our Shepherd, we never will want of need. He provides everything, including rest, in green pastures. The green pastures give comfortable rest, but also food. He provides everything for His sheep as we, His sheep, willing follow Him. Notice that He is not driving us, but is leading us beside the still water. He doesn't lead His sheep to rushing rivers, as we sheep would be afraid. He knows what we need and provides it is a way that is best for us to receive it. He restores our soul, as only He can, but it is for His name's sake that He restores.
We are only in the valley of the Shadow of death, not death itself, because for His sheep He has conquered death for us already. Death and evil can't scare us, because we are alive in Him. His rod and staff are for our defense and chastisement. They are used independently of each other, but both are for our good.
This next part is pretty mind blowing. Only the King's invited guests get to sit at HIS table, but not only are we at His table, His children are guests of honor as our enemies are made to eat and give honor to His guests. His anointing is also for those whom He honors. He blesses His children with oil, in a dry and weary land. Not only are our cups full, but they are overflowing. He provides exceedingly abundantly to His flock.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life"; I have never thought of this relating to my life here on earth. I guess I always jumped over to "dwelling in the house of the Lord forever". The Great Shepherd give us, FOR SURE, goodness and mercy in this life; all the days of this life, not just a few. His goodness and mercy is new every morning and is for every day we are left here on earth and when those "run out" we will be immediately in Heaven for them to continue for all of eternity. There will be none wasted and none held back.
What a blessed promise this psalm is. Sing it in your heart today as you worship the One who is our Shepherd, our Pasture and our Lamb. It is only 1 week until good Friday. Prepare your heart early for Easter Sunday. I hope to post more thoughts toward the cross, the grave and the resurrection this week to prod my soul into clearer worship of Him.