Psa. 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psa. 23:2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
This week I want to share some powerful truths from one of my favorite Psalms. Many of the Psalms are prophetic, and speak of events to come. Psalm 22 was a prophetic Psalm speaking of the days in which Jesus walked on the earth. Psalm 23 is prophetic of the time we live in now, and therefore a great Psalm to study as we live out the last days of the church age. Psalm 24 speaks of what is to come as Jesus returns for His church. I will go through Psalm 23 a few verses at a time this week as we find out more about how it applies to us now.
Here in verse one we have the statement that the Lord is our Shepherd, and because He is we shall not want. When you learn about how Christ is the One who makes you complete in this life you will understand this statement. Unfortunately many who know the Lord are still living a life of want. They are focused on and chasing after what this life has to offer instead of relationship with Christ. When you come to the place where you are fully submitted to Jesus as the Lord of your life, you will both find true contentment, and you will see Him provide and care for your needs.
Matt. 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
When you seek first the kingdom of God, you are seeking above all else in life the King of that kingdom. When you do, the things you have need of Jesus said would be added unto you. Think about how easy it is to get sidetracked in life and be seeking first things above the Lord. This will lead to you being discontent. Things cannot make you complete; it is only Jesus who makes us complete. As a child of God you must keep things in perspective, and above all else make sure you keep Jesus as the shepherd of your life. That doesn’t happen just because you are born again. This comes as a result of wanting to be a sheep and follow after Him.
When we have Jesus as the One who is shepherding our life, leading us through this life, it is then that we will lie down in green pastures, and be led beside the still waters. This is a place of rest. Sheep were led by their shepherds to places where there was more than enough grass for them to feast on, and water to refresh them. This is a place where you know you are at rest in life because you know Jesus is determining your steps as you hear His voice, and you will live a life of rest and be taken care of by your Shepherd.
Psa. 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
People often think when scripture speaks of our soul it is referring to our spirit man, but the soul is usually referring to our mind, will, and emotions. The book of James tells us that our soul is not saved. When you get born again your spirit man is the real you, and it is your spirit that has been saved. The soul must be continually renewed if you want to walk in what God has for you here on earth. This is what David is referring to that you and I have the ability to do. Jesus is the Word of God as John chapter one tells us, and it is through the Word of God that our souls are renewed, or continually being restored.
The reason it is so important to have our souls continually renewed is because this is how we learn to walk in the paths of righteousness. There are many paths one can take in life, but there is only one path that leads to what God has for your life. The many other paths that people choose all end up in the same destination, which is taking you farther away from what God wants for your life. If you are not on the path of doing that which is right in the sight of God, then you are being led farther away from Him, not closer to Him.
There are those who walk a path of man-made religion and just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, that does not bring you closer to God. But that does not change the fact that there is a path of righteousness, which leads us to God and what God has designed for our life. If someone is going down the path of idolatry for example, this means they have made a god to fit them. This would include believers who know what scripture teaches us, yet they choose to follow their own path. Doing things that God speaks about clearly in the New Testament that will hurt your life, and you know it’s wrong but choose to do so anyway is idolatry. Doing so one has made a god to fit them, instead of chasing after God and experiencing the life He desires for you.
Psa. 23:4 Yea, 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.
This is powerful when you understand this is a time again that applies to us right now. Even though we are going through what is currently a valley of the shadow of death, remember we have been redeemed from spiritual death. There is death all around us. I am not talking about people physically dying. Death signifies separation from God, and therefore also represents darkness. Even though we are going through this valley where many are walking separated from God, the believer is not! We have no reason to fear any evil around us for God will not leave us nor forsake us.
His rod and staff comfort us in the midst of this valley of death. The staff refers to the hook shaped staff the shepherd had and is used for several things. He would use this to fight off predators who would come after the sheep. He also would use that staff to hook the sheep when they would get caught in a thicket and would pull them out. Jesus is the One who fights for us when we know who we are in Christ, and He is the One who pulls us out of that which tries to ensnare us. The rod represents the Word of God. It was something the shepherd leaned on for support. We can lean on God’s Word to support us and thus bring comfort to us no matter what we face.
Psa. 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Jesus has also prepared a banqueting table for us right in the midst of this darkness and our enemies all around. On that table is everything we need that pertains to life and godliness. Everything we have as a part of the redeeming work is sitting on that table. To become a partaker of what is on that table you must stop turning your back to the table and looking at your enemies. Instead you need to turn your back on your enemies and look to the table, and by faith jump into the feast of all that Jesus has for you. As scripture reveals for example healing is a part of the children’s bread. That bread is sitting on that table, not in heaven, but right here in the midst of our enemies.
Jesus also has anointed us to walk in the power and presence of the Lord for our lives so that we can receive revelation through the Word, walk in that anointing on our lives, and therefore fulfill His work here on earth. Every believer has been anointed by God to accomplish His work that He Himself did. Jesus said if you believe in Him, the works He did you would do also. How did Jesus do those works? God anointed Him and He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil. When you start yielding to and walking in this anointing seeing the captives set free, your cup will run over. You will experience the fullness of His joy and His goodness in your life.
Psa. 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
Last but not least because of who Jesus made us to be, God’s goodness and His love will follow us all the days of our life. Often people believe that God must not love them anymore, or that God will not show forth His goodness to them because of something they have done. Not true! God’s goodness and mercy will always follow us, all we have to do is believe in His goodness and His love for us.
Notice what this prophetic Psalm of our day finishes with. Often the last words spoken are the most important in any conversation because it is what you remember the most. We are to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Simply put, during this church age we are not to abandon the house of God. Many have and don’t realize they are only hurting their lives. Scripture clearly reveals that Sunday is the “Lord’s Day”. This is not to become a bondage to us. God’s house is a place where we get to be blessed by spending time in His presence, which helps us to get refreshed, and is where we grow through the Word of God in our walk with Him. If you don’t want to dwell in His house as the Lord instructed me earlier this year about this, the question is, “Why don’t you want to be in My house?” God designed His house as a place of blessing for our life. If you do church right and are where God called you to be, you will be blessed.
So take time to meditate on this powerful Psalm as this is referring to the church age you and I live in right now. What a wonderful God we serve, and what a blessing to know Him, experience who He is and what He has for our life, and help others do so as well.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker