Dear Precious Friends,
On this beautiful new day I pray you are embracing the gift it is and remembering all the truth of God's word no matter what season of life you are in. One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 23 and is one of the readings you hear most often at celebrations of life.
One of my amazing Spiritual Mentors Shirley Cashion really taught me the importance of memorizing scripture years ago. The first scripture we worked on memorizing is the 23rd Psalm. It is such a wonderful prayer to have in your heart because it applies to so many things we go through on this earth. When we study scripture we look at who wrote the scripture, what was happening at that time and we read what came before and after to really understand how it applies to us today.
King David, who wrote the psalm, grew up and worked as a shepherd, so he knew a lot about sheep and shepherding. He loved the metaphor of seeing God, or the Lord, as a shepherd. The shepherds job is to care for his flock, making sure they are safe, nourished, calm and happy at all times.
Sheep are vulnerable to danger from wolves and other predators because they cannot run very fast, and they are not always smart enough to avoid danger. To care for them correctly and safely, sheep require a shepherd to take them to the fertile areas to graze, protect them from predators and other hazards, and keep them together so they don't stray from the group. This is the job of the shepherd. One can extend this idea and say that God does this for us, if we submit to His will.
Let us now explore Psalm 23 line by line and phrase by
Just think of all we have when we say:
"The Lord is my shepherd." Sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for provision, guidance and protection. (RELATIONSHIP)
He makes me lie down in Green Pastures. Green pastures speaks of provision. A green pasture is abundance in expression, constantly renewing, overflowing good. Still waters are peaceful waters. David affirms an abundance of good and the peaceful mind he experiences in this sheep/shepherd relationship.(SUPPLY)
*He leads me beside the Still Waters. Still waters speaks of peace. He refreshes us when we take time withHim and especially in His creation.(REFRESHMENT)
*The restoring of my soul speaks of healing. We can expect right guidance as we follow the steps revealed to us by our shepherd. The indwelling Christ leads and directs our path.(HEALING)
*He restores my soul. Restoration of the soul can occur when we “let go and let God.” True healing comes when we are able to do this and tension, anxiety of worry are dissolved.
*Leading in the paths of righteousness speaks of providence. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT WORD TO UNDERSTAND: Everything in creation is under the providing care of God. Not only does God supply all things, He arranges them according to His plan for His glory. THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES!
*For His Name Sake: All things were made for Him and by Him. Our purpose here on earth is to know Him, share Him, Glorify Him. (PURPOSE)
*Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death:
His being with me in the dark valley speaks of His presence no matter what we face. We know in His presence is fullness of joy and He didn't say this life would be a cake walk. No my friends He said "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world: John 16:33... He did remind us that He will never leave us or forsake us. Every time we walk through difficulties beyond our human understanding, we must remember that these difficulties make us more like HIM... We become more Christlike every single time we walk through difficult trials in life(TESTING)
*His rod and staff speaks of PROTECTION:Even through the rough times, as we walk through what may temporarily appear as our valley of death, we have the confidence and trust that our Lord and shepherd is present. Knowing this can lessen fear, doubt or worry, thus providing comfort to the troubled mind. (DISCIPLINE)
*You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. The table in the presence of my enemies speaks of protection. No matter how deep the valley or dark the night, David had full confidence in the ability of the good shepherd to provide for him regardless of what he was experiencing. (HOPE)
*You anoint my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” God will always do more than we think or imagine.His provision will always be more than enough to meet the need! The anointing of my head with oil and overflowing speaks of plenty.
Consecration is giving yourself to the Lord to become “a living sacrifice,” as Paul says in Romans 12:1:“I exhort you therefore, brothers, through the compassions of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service. This means we put ourselves completely in His hands. Before we consecrated ourselves, our life was for the pursuit of our own goals and satisfaction; now, it’s for Him.
When we present ourselves to the Lord as a living sacrifice, we’re simply telling Him: “Lord Jesus, my life is for You. I no longer belong to myself, the world, or anything else. I’m here for You and for Your satisfaction.”CONSECRATION)
*My cup overflows. We recognize all the blessings our Good Shepherd has given us and the abundant life we have because our greatest treasure is Jesus and when we have a personal relationship with Him, our cup overflows. What does this mean?We are urged to be filled with the Spirit as well (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16, 25). Before we can be filled to overflowing, we must be willing to empty ourselves of everything that would hinder the Spirit’s working in our lives. It is only when our hearts are filled with God that we can accomplish all He desires to do in and through us. His grace knows no limits for those whose hearts are wholly His (2 Chronicles 16:9a). He desires to fill us with His Spirit until our cup runneth over.9BLESSING)
*I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
David sums up his life in this final verse. Needs will be met, guidance will be provided and forgiveness through mercy are all his because he is determined to depend on the good shepherd for the rest of his life.
Dwelling in the house of the Lord speaks of paradise. The ultimate joy for every follower of God is “to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” God rewards those who make Him their Shepherd. No more a visitor or temporary dweller, but you will be a permanent resident in God’s house.
The house of the LORD is only reserved for His children – those people who have sought God and follow His will in their lives.
The reward of the righteous won’t be another perishable crown. It won’t be money, wealth, prestigious titles, or a successful career. Those earthly things, even if you combine them all together, pale into comparison when compared to the great reward God has in store for us.
II Corinthians 2:9 tells us:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Romans 8:18-19 added:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are NOT worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”
If you are suffering right now, if you believe that running the Christian race isn’t worth it anymore, or if you simply want to give up already, remember these verses. Whatever you are experiencing right now, they are NOTHING compared to the great and indescribable reward God has prepared for us!God is a zealous protector of his sheep, training us to hear His voice, leading us into pleasant pastures, and even walking with us through the darkest valleys. And He is extravagant in his goodness. He doesn’t just feed us; He prepares a feast in the presence of our enemies. He doesn’t just bless us; He fills our cup to overflowing. He doesn’t just offer His goodness and love; He pursues us with them. We aren’t simply His assignment; we are His passion—forever.
IF YOU HAVE GOTTEN THIS FAR, YOU ARE TRULY SEEKING THE LORD AND HIS WORD DEEPLY!
... One of my weaknesses is I don't understand brief. I know I write such long devo's each day and its mostly to share what the Lord teaches me and what I need to hear. I JUST CAN'T HELP MYSELF!!!
I pray you can take time to write in your prayer journal each one of these verses in Psalm 23 and take each verse and relate it to a personal situation where God’s love was revealed to you.
Not only will it bless you greatly, you will have it in writing to remind you when you are walking through difficulties.
SO PLEASE SHARE YOUR FAVORITE VERSE AND WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU! Have a beautiful and amazing day knowing how loved you are!!!