Psalm 23 is one of the most well-known passages from the Bible. Many people have memorized it and the words have brought great comfort in the midst of pain or tragedy.
The beauty of the Psalm is the simple words which come so easily to memory….even for those, like me, who struggle with Scripture memory. However simple the language is, the meaning is profound. I want to pull it apart section by section and share the character and promises of God that are woven throughout the text.
Psalm 23 begins: The Lord is my Shepherd
The initial statement is a declaration made by David: The Lord is my Shepherd (manager or owner). What a confession of faith. David is saying~ Lord, You are the only One who will govern my life. This statement implies a profound, yet practical relationship between man & His Maker. This Shepherd, who is involved with every area on one’s life is the Maker of heaven and earth~ what a profound reality!
For a sheep (in the natural sense), their lot in life depended on the type of man who owned them. Some men were kind, selfless, brave, and loving; truly devoted to their flock and because of the owner’s care, the sheep would flourish. Other sheep whose owner was unkind, cheap, or a hired hand who didn’t have the best intentions for the flock, those sheep would not flourish~ they would be sick, infested with bugs, unkempt, etc. Sheep require endless attention and meticulous care, more than any other class of livestock. It is no accident that the Word of God uses the term “sheep” or “flock” in referring to His people~ we need endless attention and meticulous care! Isaiah 53:6 reminds us of our sheep qualities, “…all we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all”. Our Shepherd is one of endless devotion to His flock. He paid the highest price so He could have me as His own! Jesus spoke of Himself in John 10, “I am the Good Shepherd, the Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”
Each sheep bears the mark of its owner (shepherd). In the natural realm, the shepherd catches each sheep, lays her ear on a wooden block & notches the ear with a razor sharp edge of the shepherd’s knife an indelible lifelong mark of ownership. If someone tries to steal the sheep or if the sheep ventures off somewhere away from the care of the Shepherd, his mark is on her. Supernaturally, our Good Shepherd marks his sheep. Those of us in His flock, we bear His mark! It is the lifelong mark of ownership!
Is this a confession of your life: The Lord is my Shepherd. I’m so thrilled to belong to Him! I shall flourish and thrive no matter what life may bring me!