The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
– Psalm 23:1-6 NASB
The rightly esteemed 23rd Psalm is another psalm that prophesies Jesus. Wait, you may say. Didn’t the Old Testament Jews read this psalm as referring to God…and don’t they still? Indeed, they did and they do. And it’s also true that some Christians today still read this psalm as referring to God the Father and not to Jesus. How are we to understand it?
We understand that it applies to Jesus…because Jesus is God. Yes, this psalm portrayed God a thousand years before He came to earth. And it had great meaning back then. But oh, how much more meaning it attained once Jesus came to earth to shepherd us up close. Moreover, because we’ve seen how much He loves us by sacrificing Himself on the cross, we can allow His Spirit to touch the deepest parts of our heart when we come to Him and walk with Him through each day.
Jesus is the shepherd who “restores our soul” through our daily devotions with Him. He “guides us in the path of righteousness” as we think conscientiously about our plans for the day – how we want to focus on doing what is right in His sight rather than winning everyone else’s approval. We “fear no evil” because He is with us. We do not live in fear of “valley of the shadow of death” because we know we are going to heaven when we die.
God drew near to us in Jesus Christ that we might draw near to Him. That’s just what we’re doing – one day at a time.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, God, and Father: (Go back through this psalm and let the words be yours to God).…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.