Reading the Word
Psalm 23:1–6 (ESV)
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even 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,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
Understanding and Applying the Word
This psalm uses the imagery of a shepherd to tell us things about God. He is the one who takes care of his sheep. He leads them and guides them. He protects them from harm. And he makes sure they have all they need to live and thrive. This is what God does for us throughout our lives. And, even when we draw near to the end, when we are in the valley of the shadow of death, we have no reason to fear because we know that God is with us and will guide us even then.
As a pastor, I have found this passage of Scripture to be an all-time favorite of so many. When I visit friends in the hospital or in their homes, especially those dealing with serious health issues, they often ask to hear Psalm 23. It is a great comfort to hear these words and be reminded that God is with us throughout our lives. If you have not already done so, take the time to commit this psalm to memory. It will prove to be a great comfort and encouragement to you throughout your life.
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