A main goal for me as I write these devotions, is to encourage you to read, find Hope, Joy and direction in God’s Word!
I had the honor of officiating at a funeral the other day. After most funerals, people will come up to me or email me, saying things like…”Thanks for explaining what Psalm 23 is all about.” They say that they read, but sometimes do not understand the Power of God’s Word…How it applies in the good times as well as the not so good times…Hope this helps!
PSALM 23…with explanation
Many times, when life gets tough, we turn to God’s Word for comfort. Sometimes we read the Word and yet we’re not quite sure how it applies to our situation. Now most of us know Psalm 23 as one of those psalms that should bring us peace…. And yet when I ask people about it, they are not really sure what it’s all about. So here is psalm 23 with an explanation of each of the blessings that God offers to us.
“The Lord is my shepherd.” I don’t know about you. But I’ve never met a shepherd in real life. But I do know what they do. They take care of the sheep… they provide for them… they protect them… they guide them…and they are even willing to die for them. Jesus is our Good Shepherd.
“I shall not want.” Well, if we are honest, we will admit that we want a lot of things. Turn on the TV and see the commercials and we all want those things. And they’re not bad in themselves. But this verse is talking about not having to want for anything of value because God generously provides all that we really need.
“He makes me to lie down in green pastures.” I really love this verse. It’s a reminder to me of God’s peace. The image is us lying in a green pasture on a sunny day… Looking up at the clouds and God’s creation. Total Peace!
“He leadeth me beside still waters.” Well, The Bible is full of many references to water. We know that there’s the waters of creation….The waters of the flood. Crossing rivers and seas… and most importantly we know that there are the baptismal waters. The still waters when God adopts us into his family. Heirs to His Kingdom.
“He restores my soul.” Well, we are known by our bodies. The tents we live in… But it’s our soul that is the essence. It’s our relationship with the Lord…and through faith… He restores our soul.
‘He leadeth me in paths of righteousness.” I have to admit that this is one that makes me laugh a little, because I have GPS in my car…. And yet I like to mess with it. I say I want to go to point (A). And it knows the exact right way to get me to point (A). It says turn left after two traffic lights. And I turn right at the third traffic light. And yet it never gives up on me. It recalibrates over and over again with one goal in mind. To get me to point (A). God is the same, He is leading you on a path that leads to His plans for you. He never gives up…His one goal is for you to spend eternity with Him.
“For His name sake.” As Christians we have His name “Christ” in our title. We live by and for His most precious Name sake.
“Yea though I walk through The Valley of the shadow of death.” The most important word in this section is the word “through”. We don’t end up in a Valley of death. Through faith in Jesus Christ we walk through that Valley from life here to life eternal. And by the way, you can’t have a shadow unless you have a light… and of course we know who that light is.
“I will fear no evil.” We live in an evil world…and yet we don’t have to fear any evil. Jesus came to overcome evil. We read in Revelation that God wins…He already won!
“For thou art with me.” That’s the faithfulness that God gives us. His promise is that He will never leave you… He will never forsake you. He is there on the good days and the not so good days.
“Thy rod and thy staff comfort me.” Well, this is an interesting verse because it’s back to the shepherd again. A rod to ward off the evil Wolf…as well as a shepherd staff to gently nudge the sheep back as they wander off into danger. If you have wandered…He is searching for you!
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” The Bible is full of stories and many important ones happened around banquet tables. We gather as well, as we gather around the communion tables at our churches. Opportunities for God to come to us in a very special way.
“Thou anointest my head with oil.” That’s an Old Testament image of a priest having oil poured over his head to anoint him or set him apart. Sounds like it’s just for priests. No! In the New Testament, you and I are the “priesthood of believers.” A great time to share the Gospel with someone is when you’re leaving a funeral. Grieving the loss of a loved one…but in the Hope of eternal life. That is a great time to share your faith with others…The reason for your Hope!
“My cup runneth over.” Your cup is not half full or half empty… it’s overflowing with blessings from God. Count them daily and thank the Lord for them.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Well there is a church word in this section (mercy.)…That’s when God does not give us what we deserve….instead He gives us what we don’t deserve. The word is grace. A free gift of eternal life. God loves you in spite of you!
“and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” That’s God’s blessing, leading to our future face to face with our Lord and Savior. It’s ours simply through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!
**If you have been following these devotions, note that I will be taking a break from creating them. I encourage you to go back, pick a date over the last 19 months, look up the devotion that I wrote for that day…you can find them on royred.org/devotions and reread that devotion.**