Last night, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. Psalm 23 kept repeating itself over and over in my mind. I knew there was a reason God brought it to me, so this morning I opened it up.
With pen and notebook handy, I dragged my heart through the text asking God what He wanted me to glean from it this time.
The refreshment this Psalm brought me was satisfying.
And I just know that someone out there needs this encouragement too.
Maybe right now you’re in a season of plenty. A season of joy. You’re experiencing and savoring the blessings of God.
Or maybe you’re in a trial. You’re not on the mountaintop; you’re stuck in the valley wondering when (and if) God will deliver you.
Whether you’re in a sunny or a stormy season, these 3 beautiful truths from Psalm 23 will refresh and revive you.
First let’s quiet our hearts for a moment… and read the passage. Though it may be familiar to you, let yourself linger.
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
1. The Lord Jesus Christ is our Shepherd
Isn’t it amazing that Jesus relates to us as our tender Shepherd? Maybe you don’t think of yourself as a sheep, but just pause and think of the analogy for a moment.
The Shepherd lovingly cares for His sheep. As Jesus Himself says in John 10, the Shepherd will protect the sheep from any danger.
Jesus cares for us so much that He promises to lead us to good places, restore our soul, and sanctify us for His Name’s sake.
I just love the word pictures here. Don’t you just imagine yourself there?! Don’t you walk away feeling soothed?
Green pastures – a good, fruitful place to rest. Still waters…beautiful, serene, meeting our thirst. And the loving Shepherd with us guiding us in His good ways.
Now pull yourself out of the picture for a moment, and realize that this is written for us.
Jesus is with us ALL the time. He desires intimacy with us! Now THAT just blows my mind!!! We constantly have access to our Savior. He is right there for us to talk to, seek counsel from, and enjoy at any and every point throughout the day. He never leaves His sheep.
As Jesus says in John 10:14, “I know my own and my own know me…” It’s an intimate relationship with Jesus himself leading, protecting, and loving us.
2. The Lord will never, ever, leave us or forsake us
When trials and temptations come, it’s easy to feel like God has left us. We wonder why we’re suffering and why we don’t seem to feel God’s presence.
But constantly God reminds us in His Word of two things – first that trials are from Him, and are good (James 2:1-4, 1 Peter 4:12-13); and secondly, that He NEVER leaves us (Psalm 37:28, Hebrews 13:5).
If you read verse 4 again picturing yourself there, it’s a very scary place to be. The valley of the shadow of death. The word picture here makes us think of the worst possible thing that could happen to us here on earth.
But the psalmist says he will fear NO evil. Why? Because he is strong and doesn’t need anybody? No!
Because His Shepherd is still there walking with him in that valley. He is not alone. And the Shepherd’s rod and staff show the Shepherd is still protecting us even in the trials.
No matter what trial we are in, God is still sovereign, He is strong, and He is with us.
As Charles Spurgeon said, “Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.”
3. The Lord is eager to heap abundant blessings into our lives (v. 5-6)
Not only does God meet our needs, but He also lavishes us with good things!! “Our cup runneth over”.
This is not a prosperity gospel point. I’m not saying God’s biggest desire is to give you material riches.
He pours goodness and mercy into our lives and gives us not only salvation from God’s wrath, but the gift of Himself; intimacy with Him.
Look at what the psalmist says at the end of verse 6 – “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” That is what the psalmist longed for and enjoyed.
The psalmist enjoyed dwelling in the Shepherd’s presence.
So my question for you is – do you see your relationship with the Savior this way?
That He is a tender Shepherd, always providing for you, leading you, and lavishing you with good things?
That He is with you and you can talk to Him at any moment?
If you don’t, dear friend, stop and ask Him. Ask Him to give you eyes to see and know Him in this intimate way.
As Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Hold on to the faithfulness of God. Believe, when you do not understand, that He knows all about you, that He is committed to taking care of you. He has promised it”