“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
How easy it is to recite the 23rd psalm and never really believe what it says. How comforting is the thought of “green pastures” and “still waters” (v.2), complete satisfaction in all things; but do we really experience these blessings? Can we truly say, “He restoreth my soul” (v.3)?
Many times in Scripture Christians are compared to sheep, notoriously foolish and yet willful animals, totally incapable of surviving in open pasture without constant leading and rescue by the shepherd. In other places, the immature Christian is compared to a child, again needing constant care. How like God watching over us this must be. Thankfully, “He leadeth [literally, ‘forces’ or‘drives’] me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (v.3).
As a helpless lamb or child ignoring what we have learned, we encounter various problems and dangers. As our paths necessarily take us into “the valley of the shadow of death, (we) will fear no evil” (v.4). Why? “For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff [one for gentle guidance and one for chastening] they comfort me.” Without our Father, the Shepherd, who is constantly caring for our every need, we would have no chance of survival or return from this dark valley.
We should remember that God is ruler of all things and knows our wants and desires before we even ask. “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over” (v.5).
If we follow the path our great Shepherd has chosen, we can be sure He is with us, guiding us, helping us, and protecting us. Then we can say with David, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” (v.6). MRT