Psalms 23

Text:

"1 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 forever."

Lexicon:

vs. 1 - shepherd - "to feed a flock, to pasture, to rule, to guard, to care for"

vs. 1 - want - "to cut short, to be devoid of anything, to lack, to be without, to be in want"

vs. 2 - lie - "to crouch, recline, to make rest, idle"

vs. 2 - green pastures - "house, habitation, pleasant place"

vs. 2 - leads - "having the signification of flowing and going, to run with a sparkle, to protect, sustain (carry, feed, guide), to guard"

vs. 2 - still - "peaceful, comfortable, resting place"

vs. 3 - restores - "to return to the starting point, recover, refresh, to turnabout, to renew"

vs. 3 - leads - "to guide, to transport, to bring, to govern, to lead forth"

vs. 3 - paths - "a track or rut, a way, a fortification constructed of the wagons and other baggage of the army"

vs. 3 - righteousness - "straightness, rightness, justice, liberation, welfare, felicity, what is so or ought to be so"

vs. 4 - valley - "a flat, low region"

vs. 4 - shadow of death - "thick darkness, the gates of darkness, extreme danger"

vs. 4 - fear - "to tremble, frighten, to be in dread"

vs. 4 - rod - "a stick for punishing and ruling, the scepter of a king"

vs. 4 - staff - "support, sustenance, a walking stick"

vs. 4 - comfort - "to sigh, to console, to signify, to declare grief or pity"

vs. 5 - prepare - "to arrange or put in order, to place together, to ordain, to handle"

vs. 5 - anoint - "to fatten, to satisfy abundantly, to remove the ashes of sacrifice"

vs. 5 - cup - "vessel, receptacle (container that holds or receives something)"

vs. 5 - overflows - "satisfaction, running over, wealthy, abundance"

vs. 6 - goodness - "good, a happy lot, that it may be well with me, cheerful and merry heart"

vs. 6 - mercy - "kindness, favor, benevolence, pity when referring to those in misfortune, signifies grace in the sense of beauty"

vs. 6 - follow - "to follow after earnestly, to purse"

vs. 6 - dwell - "to sit down, to remain, to settle, to marry, abide"

vs. 6 - house - "family house (persons living together in a house), a palace, temple"

vs. 6 - forever - "length of days, longevity, 'so long as I live' would greatly limit the sense"

What does this reveal about God's character?

*A few years ago I saw this passage explained in such a way that I really identified with and was able to understand God's character and promises more fully - see below.

Relationship - "The Lord is my shepherd" 

Supply - "I shall not want"

Rest - "He makes me lie down in green pastures"

Refreshment - "He leads me beside still waters"

Healing - "He restores my soul"

Guidance - "He leads me in paths of righteousness"

Purpose - "For His name's sake"

Testing - "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death"

Protection - "I will fear no evil"

Faithfulness - "For you are with me"

Discipline - "your rod and your staff, they comfort me"

Hope - "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies"

Consecration - "You anoint my head with oil"

Abundance - "my cup overflows"

Blessing - "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life"

Security - "and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord"

Eternity - "forever"

Questions:

1) Do I have a relationship with God?  And, not the Christmas and Easter relationship or the pray when life gets hard relationship, but do I have a day in-day out relationship with my Creator?  If not, please visit our Resources page.

2) Do I allow God to lead me?  Or do I take control of the reins?

3) When things get tough, do I focus on the trial in front of me or the God inside of me?

4) Am I receptive and open to the Lord's discipline?  What might He be correcting in love that I am resisting?

5) Have I experienced the abundance of the Lord's presence and provision in my life?  What or who may be preventing me from fully trusting in the Lord and resting in His abundant peace, love and joy?

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, for being my Abba Father.  Help me to cling to You, as a young child clings to his parent.  Lord, help me to be open and receptive to You, even to your discipline.  Open my eyes and give me self-awareness to see any unclean thing in me that needs Your truth and light.  Father, I allow You to lead me and take control of the reins.  Forgive me, Father, when I get afraid and choose to take back control.  I know that Your ways are perfect and I know You are always with me, so there is nothing and no one to fear.  Help me to rest in You and Your faithfulness.  I ask you to restore my soul - refresh and revive me.  Give me a heart that seeks you fervently and wholeheartedly all the days of my life.  In Jesus' name, Amen!