Psalm 23:1-3 – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
I confess it is a daunting task to make an attempt at writing a brief devotional on Psalm 23, perhaps the most familiar and beloved chapter in the Bible. The beauty and pastoral theme of this chapter has been the inspiration of the Saints down through the ages and the hope of all who passed through the “shadow of death” (23:4). We will consider the first three verses for today’s devotional and notice in them the pastoral qualities of Christ, the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-7, 14-15). The first quality of our Shepherd LORD is He is a Pastor, a herdsmen.
Psalm 23:1 – “The LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God] is my shepherd [herdman; pastor]; I shall not want [lack; be lacking; become empty].”
David, a shepherd in his youth, writes concerning the LORD, Jehovah, Eternal God, “The Lord is my [Pastor] shepherd”. The LORD, in His role as the Good Shepherd serves not only as the Pastor of the sheep, but also as their Provider.
Psalm 23:2 – “He maketh me to lie down [repose; recline; lie stretched out] in green [young, tender grass] pastures [pleasant place; habitation; meadows]: he leadeth [guide; sustain; lead to a place of rest and refreshing] me beside the still [peaceful; quiet; comfort] waters.”
David assures those who follow the Good Shepherd he “shall not want” (23:1b). A shepherd was attentive to his sheep and, when it was time, guided them to new pastures where they would eat their fill and repose surrounded by fresh, tender grasses (23:2a).
Not only does the Good Shepherd provide “green pastures”, He also leads the sheep to “still waters” (23:2b). Unlike a sheep that strays into the danger of the stream and risks being carried a way to its death, the LORD leads His sheep to “still waters”, a quiet place where they find refreshment, comfort and peace in the company of the Good Shepherd.
The shepherd of God’s people not only serves as their Pastor and Provider; He is also their Protector, their guardian ever seeking to lead and spare them from the harm and dangers of straying out of the way.
Psalm 23:3 – “He restoreth [return; turn back] my soul [life; person; heart; mind]: he leadeth [guide; transport] me in the paths [track; goings; way; course] of righteousness [justice; prosperity] for his name’s [honor; character; fame; reputation] sake.”
Solomon observed, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). The Good Shepherd of men’s souls is ready, with a strong, compassionate hand to turn a straying sheep from its wandering ways and back to the path chosen by Him. He loves and knows His sheep (John 10) and is not content with even the loss of one. He desires the best for His sheep and will do all He can to “restore” (23:3a) a wandering sheep into the right way, the “paths of righteousness” (23:3b).
Who is your shepherd? You can answer that question by doing an honest examination of the path you are following. If you find yourself living contrary to God’s law and in rebellion to His Word, you’re either a sheep that needs to be “restored” to the fold, or you are not a sheep of the Good Shepherd.
Christ taught His disciples His sheep “follow Him: for they know His voice” (John 10:4). Is that true of you? Do you read and hear God’s Word taught and respond in obedience knowing it is the Word of the Good Shepherd? Christ, the Good Shepherd promises His pastoral care, provision and, when we stray, His protection that chastens and restores His sheep to “the paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23:3).
Who is your shepherd?
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith