“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23:1-6, ESV)
It is unfortunate that this psalm is most often pulled out at funerals, for it is not a psalm of death, but a psalm of life. David’s magnificent words portray the comfort and beauty of life with the Lord as our shepherd (guide). Consider the three areas of life it affects:
1) I want for nothing (I shall not want). With the Lord as my shepherd I will be cared for in every respect. He lists 4 ways in the psalm: he gives rest, he sustains, he restores the soul, he leads in paths of righteousness. So, the Lord takes care of both physical and spiritual needs.
2) I will fear no evil. When the Lord is my shepherd, I have nothing to fear. For I know the power and authority of the Lord is in control of all things, thus I can have comfort. I also know that God will make it possible for my cup to overflow, even in the worst conditions, because I put my trust and confidence in him.
3) I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. When the Lord is my shepherd, there is only one place he will lead me: home. If I follow my shepherd’s lead and hear his commands, there is no doubt where I will find myself at the end.
This is truly one of the most beautiful psalms about life ever written. Is the Lord your shepherd?