Psalm 23



Psalms 23:1 says, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Men are like sheep, and sheep are lead astray very easily. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Sheep are very stupid animals. And sheep are relatively defenseless against wolves and lions. Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Thankfully, Jesus Christ is the great and the good shepherd. That is why all men need Jesus because men are sheep and Jesus is the shepherd. John 10:14-15 says, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep


King David before He was a king was a shepherd. And so he understood the illustration of a shepherd and its sheep. A shepherd guides the sheep. A shepherd feeds and provides for the sheep. A shepherd protects the sheep from danger. And a shepherd even lays down his life for the sheep.  “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” The word “want” can mean to desire, and it can also mean to lack.


The reason that men are so easily lead astray is because of their own sinful nature. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. James 1:14-15 says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”


Once you turn from your sins and turn to Jesus Christ, He becomes your shepherd. All we like sheep have gone astray. We are lost in our own sins. But God sent His only son so we might be redeemed from the slave market of sin and from the spirit of iniquity that is now at work in this world. Once Jesus becomes your shepherd, then you can be certain that He is going to guide you in this life and provide for you and protect you both physically and spiritually.  Of course, the spiritual is always more important than the physical. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ


“I shall not want.” Godliness with contentment is great gain. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. There are always mountains and valleys in life. Therefore, be sure to give thanks to God for all things through Jesus Christ of Nazareth who died on the cross for the sins of the world some 2000 years ago and rose from the grave 3 days later defeating death. It is God that worketh in you who have trusted in Jesus both to will and to do of His good pleasure. “I shall not want.”


Psalms 23:2 says, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” The grass always seems greener on the other side of the hill. However the best place to be is in the will of God. Because Christ is both our rest and our peace and that is what this verse is saying. The good shepherd guides the sheep into green pastures where they may feed. Another way of saying, “He maketh me to lie down,” is by saying grace through faith. The New Testament equivalents to these words are the words “lodge” and “rest.” Acts 2:25-27 says, “For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope


Matthew 13:31-32 says, “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof


In the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible these New Testament words are used in place of the Hebrew word. It is not that God makes anyone do anything. That is not what this verse is saying. “He maketh me to lie down.” It is about faith in the promises of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. There is nothing more precious in this life than faith in Christ. Faith means to believe. It is the substance of things hoped for. What we hope for is the promise of eternal life through the blood of Jesus and the promise of all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. “He maketh me to lie down”, or you could say, “grace through faith, not of works lest any man should boast.”


That is why when it comes to the study of God’s Word it is best to choose a translation of the Bible that is as accurate as possible. Even though the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Koine Greek, translation is not an issue when it comes to the preservation and inerrancy of God’s Word. God created language. Just as God used men to write down His words, He has used men to translate His words into other languages. That is why when it comes to an English translation of the Bible the King James Version is the best to use. Even King James VI said "The worship of God is wholly grounded upon the Scripture, quickened by faith.” Jesus said, “Not one jot nor tittle shall pass away until all be fulfilled


Psalms 23 tells us we are sheep and Jesus is the Shepherd. Just as there are sheep, there are wolves. The wolves sometimes go about in sheep’s clothing both as false sheep and as false shepherds; tares among the wheat, false prophets. Some of these wolves will attempt to manipulate and deceive and to tear down God’s Word through making bad translations of the Bible.  The purpose of such bad translations is to subtly and slowly water down the word of God by slightly changing the meaning of words so that the gospel of Jesus Christ and the milk and meat of the word is changed. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.


“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:” the green pastures of the Word of God. Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Because a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, and because there is nothing as precious as the trial of your faith, it is best to stick to the best translation that you can.


Psalms 23:3 says, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names’ sake.” Sin destroys the body and the soul. Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. The Word “restore” means to turn back or to return.      Jeremiah 12:15, “And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land      The restoration of a soul begins by repentance of your sins and trusting in Jesus Christ of Nazareth as your Savior.


Ephesians 2:4-5, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” Anyone can be saved. It does not matter how much you have sinned. It does not matter how many years you have wasted of your life by turning away from God and destroying your own soul through the lust of the flesh and of the mind because Jesus restoreth the soul. God is rich in mercy. Jesus is the good shepherd because “He restoreth” the soul.


 Sin is like quicksand. The deeper you fall into it the harder it is to escape. However there is redemption in Jesus Christ. He restoreth the soul. It is the last days. And there is a falling away. No matter how far you fall away, the good Shepherd can restore your soul.


“He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” The way a soul is restored and turned back again is by repentance of sin through faith in Christ and then by giving the proper effort to flee temptation and to do what is right.  Righteousness is always of faith and not of works. The reason that God leads a man to do what is right is for the glory of the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory.” No matter how good and consistent you are at doing what is right the glory belongs to Jesus Christ because you are still a sinner and Jesus is Holy. If you are successful at doing and saying what God wants you to in any giving situation, it is only because of the strength and the grace of God and not because of your own strength.


Psalms 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” It is appointed unto man once to die but after this the judgment. Some die young and some die old. Some face death because of disease or war or consequences from sin. Those who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. For the believer sometimes following Christ means facing the possibility of death at any given moment day after day because the forces of evil want to kill God’s children.


“Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” A rod is something that gives support; like a walking stick. Man is weak and on his own He cannot stand against his own sinful nature nor the forces of evil.  Philippians 1:27, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Once a person turns from their sins and turns to Jesus, they are given newness of life. Instead of being dead in sins, they become alive with a new nature, the nature of Christ, a holy nature; because the Spirit of God comes to dwell inside of them. In a way you could say the Spirit of God is like a rod or a staff. It is something that you can lean upon for comfort especially in times when you must walk through the valley of the shadow of death.


First Kings 19:11-12 says, “And he said, go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” We live this life by faith, not by sight. God is not going to do physical signs and wonders because the only sign and wonder given to this generation is the empty tomb from which Jesus rose. God is going to lead you in the still small voice of His Spirit. The way that you become connected to this voice is by learning God’s word and then keeping it in your heart and in your mind. The Word of God will connect you to the Spirit of God. It is more than just following your conscience, but it is also making sure you have a peace within you about decisions that you make. The more you know about God’s Word, the sharper your conscience will be and the greater your connection to the Spirit of God.  


It is not that the Spirit of God speaks in an audible voice, but it is a groaning which touches the submissive heart. Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Comforter. Psalms 23 says, “thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Quench not the Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed until the day of redemption. Make sure you are quick to repent of your sins and ask Christ for forgiveness because then when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you can fear no evil because the comforter of the Spirit will be like a rod to support you. 


Psalms 23:5 says, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Those who follow Christ will always have enemies. But even in situations of persecution Christ will continue to provide for your needs. Oil is symbolic of the Spirit of God. If there is ever a time that we need to be led by the Spirit of God and filled with the fruits of the Spirit, it is when we are among our enemies. Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance    


Psalms 23:6 says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Salvation from sin means eternal life: eternal existence in the presence of a Holy God, a God who is love. In this life you will have the opportunity to learn about God, mostly through His Word and to serve him. If you learn anything about Jesus, you should learn that goodness and mercy will always be given to God’s children because they are joint heirs with Christ. The more you learn about the goodness and the mercy of God day by day, the more likely you will be to continue following him by faith no matter how much you fail or suffer.


Jesus is the Good Shepherd. John 10:26-27 says, “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” We know that Jesus is the good Shepherd because He set aside the glory of heaven, and garbing himself in sinful flesh, He came to this earth born of the Virgin Mary. Here he lived for 33 years a life without sin, then died on the cross for your sins and mine. He rose again the third day defeating death. The good shepherd feeds the sheep, gives his life for the sheep, and guides the sheep into eternal life.


Turn from your sins and turn to Jesus today. Once you have the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, you will never be without the goodness and mercy of God. Hebrews 13:20, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our LORD, Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen

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Copyright; 2012 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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