“God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.” Psalm 23:1-6 Message
This psalm alone presents every reason to be grateful. Often read at funerals, but it isn’t a death psalm, it is a life psalm. It is a reminder of God’s personal care in our lives. It speaks of His abiding presence in all circumstances. It testifies of His direction and correction to us, and of His provision in the midst of the most humiliating of moments. This psalm is a reminder that my life is full of blessing all of the time and that I am being pursued by a love and beauty that is out of this world. True security and hope are my portion when I choose to live out of what God speaks and not what I feel.
David is not offering empty words here. He has lived and understood God’s personal care in his life. He has faced his enemies, been overwhelmed by adversity, and can boldly declare that, as one who understands shepherding, God is a True Shepherd and does what true shepherds do, love their sheep.
We are told that, God is not just any shepherd, but my shepherd. He cares about me. I am provided for and have no lack in my life because of His love and intentions towards me. The possessor of all things, possesses my heart and makes available to me, all that is His. He takes my weary heart and anxious thoughts and brings me to a place of peace. When I am struggling to regain my strength and have lost my way, He brings me to a place where fear does not prevail, but His strength in me overcomes. He lifts my heart from shame, and establishes my life in a place of stability and beauty. My enemies have no hold on me because I am held by the One who loves me more than life itself. His love pursues me and brings my heart back to Him from every place of wandering. If this does not make our hearts rejoice, we may need to allow His Word to break our hardness. For truly this is a psalm of gratitude. Your life, my life is covered and hidden in a God we can trust to keep us and lead us. Applying this truth will establish us as men and women of trust and gratitude.
Today I am grateful that God does not generalize my life, but He is personally interested in me. He is my provision, my security, my feast. I am thankful that in all of my wanderings, He seeks me out and brings me back to His embrace, where I find truth.
Pat McRae says:February 21, 2015 at 12:51 pm
As I looked and pondered this familiar Psalm the Holy Spirit started showing me gratitude is loves twin sister. There should be no boundaries to gratefulness, no conditions, no expectations just plain gratitude for what we have. So often we have grass but it is not green enough we want what is on the other side of the fence. We really don’t need anything but we want everything. God has provided a home, food, finances and so much more but it doesn’t measure up to our expectations so we grumble and complain. The Holy Spirit asked me if I applied this Psalm to my everyday life would I see a change. This Psalm is what God has done for us, could we maybe do the same in our homes, in our work places, in our neighbourhoods and our churches? What would it look like and what could be the results?
What if a child could say: “I lack no good thing because my parents provide for my needs. I have a home to live in that is peaceful, an easy place to rest and be restored. My parents are teaching me how to walk down paths that are good for me and will bring honour to our name. Even when I hit a dark place in life I am not afraid because my parents are there for me. My parents love me enough to correct me and this helps me feel secure. My parents protect me from my oppressors and praise me when I choose to love my enemies. I know their goodness and love for me will never end and I will always be welcome in their home.”
Or what if a congregation could say of their pastor: “my pastor teaches and preaches the Word of God so I lack no good spirit thing. Pastor takes us to places in the Word that are hidden to most and teaches us how to drink in the Word and rest in the Word we know. He/she waters us with the sweetness of God’s Word. Pastor shows us how to walk on correct paths, paths that lead to life and life more abundant. And even when our road gets dark and life seems so unfair pastor is there to hear my story and lift me up. Pastor uses the Word to correct our wayward steps and this gives us the security to move forward with God. The feast pastor provides for us each time we meet comes fresh, and meaty from the Word of God, helping us to face our oppressors with courage and confidence. The anointing that fills us as we soak up the Word makes our cups overflow. The pastor has provided us with goodness and love so we want to enter the House of the Lord with joy and thanksgiving.”
We can not do any of this on our own or any where near as well as God does for us. But what if we tried to live Psalm 23 in our daily lives, and allowed the Holy Spirit to do the rest? I personally think we would live in a different world. I believe children would be more secure, less hurt and less rebellious. Businesses would flourish because it is a proven fact that a happy worker, works harder to please a good employer. Our neighbourhoods would be places of refuge instead of war zones. Churches would be fuller and on fire, growing and reaching out places.
I am thankful this morning that the Holy Spirit challenged me to look past what I would normally see and to think outside the box of my traditional thoughts. I am thankful the Holy Spirit showed me there is always another step I can take to show my loving Father more gratitude. I am grateful that now I see Psalm 23 in a new light, and I do not have to be anxious about living what He has shown me. Why? Because the Holy Spirit will show me how to accomplish the working out of Psalm 23 in my life one step at a time.
Susan Craig says:February 21, 2015 at 9:33 pm
Love your insight on this Pat!I agree that life would be much improved on this earth if we followed this passage faithfully in every area of our lives. 🙂
Susan Craig says:February 21, 2015 at 5:27 pm
Interesting to read the 23rd psalm in this translation. I love the statement-“I don’t need a thing”.How real that is-I really do not need anything when I have the Lord as my Shepherd. He supplies everything we need and that in itself should make us grateful for His blessings. I read a poem once that stated-I’m drinking from my saucer ’cause my cup has overflowed-truly this should be our focus eveyday because our cup truely has overflowed with blessing upon blessing that we are given freely by our Good Shepherd. My parents have always loved this Psalm-so much so that they have it engraved on their tombstone-The Lord is my Shepherd. This Psalm has been beloved by Christians for centuries and it is also one of my own favorites. David had started out as a shepherd and knew what was needed to care for his sheep. He also knew the sheep and how they would wander away and be hunted by predators-how they needed a shepherd watching out for them if they were going to survive!!! We also are sheep and we are prone to wander away from our shepherd- unaware of the dangers and predators that are looking for opportunity to attack and destroy us. We need a Shepherd watching over us-thank God He is our Shepherd-not just any shepherd -but our Good Shepherd. He leads us and guides us to safety,provision,rest,comfort. He never leaves His sheep alone. He walks with us thru all our lives and even right into heaven when it is time for us to leave this earth. Can we find a friend as faithful as He is ?? I would say no-there is no friend like Jesus-He is the best friend we could ever have. He is faithful even when we aren’t. He forgives our every sin and loves us in spite of the hurt we must bring to Him. Unconditional love is His to claim perfectly-He loves each one of His sheep unconditionally and when we wander,He searches for us until we are found by Him. He never gives up on His sheep. Jesus never fails in loving us-never. No words could ever describe adequately the gratitude I feel towards Him-my cup overflows!! Simple as that may seem, it is TRUTH..our cup does overflow with blessings from our God. Praising my SAVIOR today!!! Psalm 23 is my story-this is my song-praising my Savior all the day long!!!