“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1
This is the beginning line of the most famous Psalm written. It has been recited and written and prayed for centuries. But it’s not just meant to be recited and written and prayed. It is meant to be lived.
David wrote this Psalm. David is one of my favorite people in scripture to study. That may be because when I really began to do Bible Studies and to dig deeper into scripture, he was one of the first I ever studied but I think it is really because David is so real. We have often heard it said that David was a man after God’s own heart. But when you truly study him, you begin to really know him as someone who is just real, he made real mistakes. He did not live a perfect life. David had many successes in his life. For goodness sake, he killed a giant of a man with one stone. He won many military battles. He was a skilled musician. He was a poet. He was a great king. But David was also a fallible man. He had an affair with Bathsheba then had her husband killed. He had a son who rebelled against him so he was not the perfect parent. He had multiple wives. David probably did as much wrong in his life as he did right. But that’s what I love so much about him. He was real. He did not lead the perfect life. But he knew the one who was perfect enough to know where to return to when he did get things wrong.
He penned this Psalm and he started it with Jehovah Rohi ~ the Lord is my shepherd. David was a shepherd when Samuel found him and anointed him king over Israel. So one thing to note here is that David never forgot his humble beginnings. David knew that when he was a shepherd that his sheep depended on him. He knew the way a shepherd guides and cares for his sheep because he had done it himself. He had to take sheep into green pastures where they could feed and everything was good and sometimes he had to lead his sheep through rocks and hills and dark valleys to get to the green pastures. But he also knew that when he shepherded his sheep through those rocks, hills and dark valleys that he had been with them and was there to protect them. As beautiful the wording of the Psalm 23, it becomes even more beautiful when you know and realize the personal aspect that David would have been feeling when he wrote it. He knew what it was like to shepherd the sheep. He knew the love that he had had for his sheep when he was their shepherd. So he knew the love that his Father had for him because He was his shepherd.
As I studied I came across this quote that bears repeating.
“Psalm 23 is a masterpiece. But not a masterpiece simply to be admired. It’s a masterpiece to be lived. Because the same good shepherd who took care of David is the same good shepherd that wants to take care of you and me.” Bruce Carter ~ Valley View Church (online)
Turn in your Bible and read the 23rd Psalm. Now read it again and personalize it. Think of the green pastures he has lead you to. And know that if your valley is dark that your shepherd is there, right there with you to protect and love you through it.