“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 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 your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
Those are the words from the well known 23rd Psalm. This Psalm is commonly read at funerals, and is often thought of only in that context – comforting words for those in sorrow and mourning. The psalm is very comforting and soothing to those who are hurting. But it is so much more; it is a psalm about a shepherd’s provision, protection, and preservation. It is about the sheep’s confidence, contentment, and courage.
We know that the Bible often refers to God as the shepherd and his people as the sheep. We read this in Psalm 100:3 – “Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”
So no matter whether life is good and you find yourself sitting on a sunny beach or life is a struggle and all you see are dark clouds, today put yourself in the place of the sheep and now re-read the psalm, looking for the ways in which God provides for you, protects you, and preserves you so that you can have confidence, contentment, and courage, regardless of the weather conditions in your life!
I have Confidence because of my Shepherd’s Provision:
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
I have Contentment because of my Shepherd’s Protection:
“Even though I walk through the valley 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.”
I have Courage because my Shepherd’s Preservation:
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
So don’t just think of the 23rd Psalm as words to be read at a funeral, think of it also as a daily reminder that Jesus, your Good Shepherd, looks out for you each and every day, and that you can trust in Him and look to Him for everything you need, always and forever!
We will end with these wonderful words from Jesus himself, found in John 10:14-15 – “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.”