If He is my Shepherd

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, January 29, 2022

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” — Psalm 23 (NKJV)

This Psalm must be in the top few of the greatest passages of Scripture ever written; certainly it was David’s crowning effort as a Psalmist. It contains all that we could hope for in life, both here and in the hereafter. Its promises give us cause to know His peace, and trust His presence. Psalm 23 contains promises of freedom, freedom from want, fear, sickness, and of protection from our enemies. Lastly, but certainly not least, is the promise of dwelling in the House of the Lord forever.

There is one little detail that David was supremely aware of that many today conveniently overlook while attempting to apply this Psalm to their own lives — the Lord must be our Shepherd, therefore we must be those who follow Him and obey His commands for these promises to apply to our lives. John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

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Psalm 23 is not a blanket blessing for all people; it is very pointedly, a Psalm of promise to those who listen to the leading of God in their lives and follow Him.

When we, like David, are “after God’s own heart,” then we will be the recipients of the promised blessings that David spoke of so eloquently. David made this the Psalm of all who love God in the very first clause, “The Lord is my shepherd.” For us today we may read it as, “If the Lord is my shepherd” in order to understand what David was saying; then we can expect the blessings promised to be “yes and amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Praying that the Lord is your Shepherd.

Bobby Thornhill is a retired Methodist preacher.