Psalm 23 is one of the most widely read Scriptures in the world. This chapter in the Bible brings comfort to people, especially during times of great distress. In this article, I will cover what each verse means in Psalm 23. Take time to reflect and ponder each verse.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
King David, who wrote this Psalm, also was a shepherd and writes about his experiences in 1 Samuel 16:10-11. In Psalm 23, David speaks of Jesus Christ being our shepherd; we are His “sheep.” Sheep are completely dependent on their shepherd to guide them, lead them, and protect them. In John 10:11, Jesus is called the Good Shepherd and the Chief Shepherd in 1 Peter 5:4.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
When we follow God’s way and are obedient to Him, we are led to His peace. When we choose to go astray, and rebel against God, that path leads to turmoil, destruction, and unrest. One must follow Jesus fully to enter the “green pastures” and “still waters.” Sin kills and brings destruction.
He restores my soul; He leads me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake.
When we turn the wrong direction in life by sinning, Jesus gently leads us back to restoration with Him. If we return to Him, we will be restored and live in righteousness with Him. We must follow the Good Shepherd and His ways, so that we are not taken off course.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.
Death can be frightening because we are entirely helpless against it, but we also have other enemies such as pain, suffering, and sickness. Jesus said, “His rod and staff will comfort you.” Just as a shepherd would use their rod and staff to protect against dangerous predators, and to keep the sheep in the fold; Jesus also does the same for us. Even though you will endure times of extreme hardships, Jesus will guide you through; He will not leave you to endure your enemies alone.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
In ancient Eastern culture, at a banquet, it was customary to anoint a person with fragrant oil as a lotion. Host were also expected to protect their guests at all costs. God offers the protection of a host even when enemies surround us. A shepherd always watches out for his sheep! Shepherds will do anything to protect their sheep; just as Jesus does for us.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
As the Good Shepherd, Jesus promises to protect us and guide us in this life, and then He will safely guide us to the next life.
Jesus is our Good Shepherd, always there to lead us through the terrains of this life, and to protect us from every enemy that comes our way. When we follow His ways, we are kept safe, led to peace and have guidance.
As you reflect on the meaning of these verses, what comes to your mind?