David wrote Psalm 23 based on his experience as a shepherd. He knew better than anyone how a shepherd takes care of each need for his sheep.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
When sheep rebel against the shepherd, they rebel against what is best for them. The same is true for us, for it is God, the Great Shepherd, who restores our soul. It is He who knows how to give us rest and contentment. He watches over us, His flock, with care and mercy.
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.
Death, sickness and fear are impossible for us to avoid. In fact, in this life, it is death that has the final control over our bodies. It is only when we choose to walk beside the Lord, our Shepherd, that we can walk through the valley of death and walk on the other side. But in this life, in the midst of suffering and pain, it is the Lord who walks alongside us providing comfort and eternal perspective.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
In ancient times, it was the responsibility of the host to take care of the guests. Not simply making sure they had enough to eat, but also protecting them from evil and harm that may exist in the city. The Lord promises to protect each of us as we sit at His table and He is the great host.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
What a great God we have who cares for us as a shepherd tends to his flock. Wise is the sheep who follows the shepherd closely. For away from the shepherd there is trouble, restlessness and death. Make the choice today to follow the Shepherd through your life.
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1. Looking at the different verses in Psalm 23, what part of the path are you on now as you follow the Great Shepherd?
2. What promises from this verse can help you continue to follow the Lord even when other temptations come your way?
2 Samuel 5:1-5; Ecclesiastes 12:8-12; Matthew 9:35-38
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