This very well-known Psalm is difficult to look at with fresh eyes, and that’s okay. Many people have this entire Psalm memorized, and that is wonderful. It is a good praise to God and is full of truths to cling to in hard times. It is short and still describes much of our walk with God.
God is our shepherd, and with that comes a lot of imagery, thoughts, memories, etc. for us. Because he is our shepherd we are provided for and restored. We have no fear, no matter what, and he brings justice, goodness, mercy, and eternal life in Heaven with Him. It is a very beautiful Psalm.
The Lord, David—the Psalmist, me, my soul, my enemies
You could pick any verse from here as a key verse.
Verse 6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 27:4 “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”
Psalm 21:4 “He asked life of you; you gave it to him length of days forever and ever.”
I look forward to eternity with God because of my walk with Christ, and knowing that it will all be worth it. The suffering, the enemies, all of it is nothing compared to Jesus’ suffering. And the reward is so great that it will make the suffering nothing by even more. Negative infinity suffering in the end.
Jesus in the Psalm
Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
“As the compassionate character of God is revealed in this precious psalm, we are prepared to see how the steadfast love of the final sacrificial Lamb enables wayward sheep to dwell with a holy God (Isa. 53:6).”*
Isaiah 53:6-7 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Keep reading this chapter for more about the coming Messiah’s suffering for us.)
John 10:10-11, 14-18 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…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. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I received from my Father.”
Reading the Isaiah passage and John passage just show me so clearly how Jesus was not only prophesied, but that He is God. The same God described in these Psalms is Jesus, and that is amazing to read about. Jesus is not new revelation, but a fulfillment of what people had the opportunity to know. It is a comfort to know we are so cared for by this Jesus as well.
1 Peter 5:4 “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
Revelation 22:4-5 “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”
Let these promises of the future we have in Heaven wash over you with joy and hope. I pray that your relationship with God may be strengthened through these Psalms in a way that makes Psalm 23 leap off the pages as the walk you have with Jesus, more than just a memorized poem. I pray that the Bible breathes life into you in exponential amounts every day, so you thirst for it all the time.
Tomorrow: Romans 5
*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.
Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.
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