“The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing.” -Psalm 23:1 (NIV)
This chapter encompasses the importance of having a relationship with God. He is our shepherd. He protects us in a world full of sin and chaos. When we have God, there is nothing we lack.
Have you seen the bumper sticker Jesus + nothing = everything? I love this slogan because it’s so true. You can have all the world possessions and great health, but what does it profit you in the end if you lose your soul? Without God, you have nothing.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.” (Ps. 23:2).
Green pastures represent comfort and peace. He leads us beside quiet waters with confidence and strength. In this life, we will experience adversity, but our trust in God should be so real that we “feel” comforted at all times.
When I would open air preach at bars and night clubs, people would get very angry with me. I would lie if I told you I wasn’t afraid. One time, a drunk threw a glass bottle way up in the air and it shattered in front of me. While I feared for my life, I knew God was protecting me in this situation.
“He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” (Ps. 23:3)
Yes, God refreshes our soul. In our house, we have a wooden poster in our kitchen that reads: “His mercies are new every morning.” Similarly, his mercies refresh my soul. I am reminded by how much he loves and cares for me.
And God guides us along the right path. Before I was a believer, I followed the ways of the world. I went to parties to revel in darkness. But then God wanted to take me out of this environment. When he did, the Lord put me on the right path. And He still does today because of his name’s sake. We are to honor God and have a good reputation as followers of Christ.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Ps. 23:4)
It’s nice to know that God is the ultimate judge. The destiny of our eternal fate lies in the Father’s hands. Consequently, there is nothing we should fear, not even fear itself. Death also has no victory over us. As followers of Jesus, we know He conquered the grave. God will do the same for us.
His rod and staff comfort us. This illustration goes back to the Almighty as our shepherd and king. A shepherd takes care of his flock. A shepherd protects the sheep from the wolves. Similarly, we are protected from evil people who want to harm or taint our reputation. Be careful who you hang out with because bad company spoils good morals.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Ps. 23:5)
The table is God’s provision. He provides for our cares and needs, even in the presence of our enemies. This should give us great confidence that no one can separate us from the love that is found in Jesus. Moreover, God anoints our head with oil and our cup overflows. This illustrates that our satisfaction in life is fulfilled in knowing God and keeping His commandments.
Have you ever been in a situation, such as work or school, where people are trying to make you look bad or trap you into gossiping with them? I have experienced this before. When you are there, in the presence of people who want to harm your soul, just remember that God will grant you wisdom to get out of difficult circumstances like this. So then, do not conform to the world but be renewed by the Holy Spirit.
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Ps. 23:6)
The Bible clearly teaches that God is love. He created us to worship and enjoy Him forever. He is a good Father. A passionate, good, and righteous king who wants the best for us in life.
Growing up and still to this day, I have very supportive parents. They have always believed in me. My parents encourage me daily to seek my dreams and do my best. They love me because I am their child and they want me to succeed in whatever I do.
God is the same way. His love will follow us all the days of our lives. He never gives up on us, even if we are led astray. His house is always open. This last verse reminds me of the prodigal Son. Even though He spoiled all of his Father’s fortunes, He immediately forgave and embraced him when the son came back to his senses. This is great news because the most powerful being in the world is limitless in His love.
I hope this devotional in Psalm 23 has encouraged you. Remember that the Lord is your shepherd. He will protect you from your enemies. God wants the best for you. When you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you do not need to fear any evil. The Lord will be with you through your darkest days. And as the Psalmist ends, God’s love will follow you all the days of your life and you will someday dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Are you looking forward to this day? I know I am. Let’s pray.
Dear heavenly Father,
Thank you for being so good. We love and adore you for being a righteous Shepherd and our God and King. Father, you have been so gracious to send your Son to die on the cross for our sins. Thank you Jesus for obeying the Father, rescuing us from death, and atoning for our sins so that we may be one with the Father, as you are one. Father, you are the Almighty God. May you be continually praised and adored. In Jesus name, Amen.