Daily Devotional: Psalm 23
Psalm 23 is likely the most known chapter in the Bible.
Sometimes we might be tempted to think of Psalm 23 as a Hallmark cliché instead of a war-time reminder, which is exactly what this section of Scripture is; a reminder of the nearness of God in the midst of trial and hardship.
Life is excruciatingly hard. Whether you are 80 and have seen a lot of life or middle-aged, life can seem to fluctuate and turn with intense pressure and speed. There is a war at hand and there is an enemy seeking to blind us and cause us to be deaf to the Lord and we need to see and know The Good Shepherd.
David lived throughout many seasons of trial and difficulty. As he lived through these personal, political and familial trials he testifies of God’s abundant care for him. He does so by seeing God as a caring provider. Not only is God the shepherd but David highlights he is “my shepherd” (verse 1). There is a personal union in this relationship. The Shepherd is the one who provides nourishment and is the one who leads (verse 3). We, like sheep, do not naturally go the direction or to the location that is best for us, but The Good Shepherd leads us “to green pastures and still waters.” It is God himself who "restores the soul and leads us in paths of righteousness” (verse 3).
No only is The Good Shepherd a caring provider, but a comforting protector who leads us, and his nearness is what causes fear to subside. It is not the relief of a trying circumstance that we always need, but a riveting view of our great God that will cause our hearts to shout out in firm belief, “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” (verse 4).
The Good Shepherd is also the ruling and reigning King and is the one who pours out his goodness and mercy to those who are His sheep (verse 6). Our souls are to be quieted and comforted by the assurance of the faithfulness of the eternal Shepherd; we can trust him for the future because of his steady and constant faithfulness in the past and present.
In John 10, Jesus declares, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Praise be Jesus who laid down his life for his sheep!