Psalm 23The above statement brings to mind the 23rd Psalm, which is the most recognised psalm of them all, but do we know what it is saying to us! The psalm was written by David and he fully understood what he was writing, because he was a shepherd long before he was a King.  When Samuel went to anoint the next King of Israel, after Saul, he found David attending his father’s sheep. We see, on television, a shepherd and his dogs, driving the sheep to where he wants them to be.  In the Middle East, the shepherd walks in front because the sheep know his voice and will always follow.  So what David is saying here is, “I will always follow the Lord because I know His voice”.

He leads me by still waters

Sheep will not drink from water that is moving, so the shepherd digs a shallow pit beside the stream and a channel to divert the water so that the flock can drink in peace. Jesus does the same for us, in the sense that when we are frightened or wary of a situation, He gives us a peaceful eddy to stay in thereby restoring our soul.

 

 

He guides me in paths of righteousness

We need to incorporate the next part of the psalm “even though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil for you are with me and your rod and staff they comfort me”, in order to understand what this means.  All shepherds knew that the valleys were where the wild beasts roamed and it would be foolish to take the sheep there.  So what the shepherds had done  was build a narrow path on the side of the valley and they would be able to lead their flock across in safety. That was all very good for the sheep immediately behind him, but what about the ones who could not see him?  This is where the rod and staff come in.  The shepherd would tap on the walls and on the floor so the sheep would know where he was, so he guides them in paths of rightness.  We must listen for God’s voice to ensure we are walking with Him.

He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies

When the shepherd has arrived at the new pasture, the first thing he does is to clear the area of any large rocks and builds a closure of loose rocks to make a night shelter.  
He has optimized the area of grass so the flock can graze comfortably.  When night comes, he calls the flock to the enclosure so he can protect them.  The enclosure is made of loose stones so that if any wild beasts try to get in the stones will move and he can chase them away.  As the flock enters the fold, the shepherd checks the health of each one and if he sees anything wrong he anoints with oil he carries on his belt.  We must never forget that Jesus wants us in good health and is prepared to anoint us with the oil of healing.

The psalm ends . . .

“Surely goodness and love shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall live in the house of the Lord forever”.  David has laid out, previously, all the things that God has done for him and why he can make this statement.  We can look back on our walk with Jesus and see where he has led us in paths of righteousness and give thanks.  And all God’s people said,

“Amen”.