“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)
The other psalm passage, in case you were wondering, is the psalmist’s testimony that the Lord God will be faithful to David and David’s line. It is true, after a fashion, because Jesus’ earthly father Joseph was in the line of David. But before that point in the lineage of David there were many poor rules and set backs. Evidenced by the fact that Joseph was a humble carpenter and not residing in the court of any king. The other passage, Psalm 89 verses 20 – 37, was written in seems in a position of power and security. Psalm 23, however, is written for the “little people”, those who may not have great power but have great hope.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. ” (Verses 2 – 3a)
Take special note of this, beloved reader. Having the Divine in life does not mean you are immune to or never have problems in your life. It means what problems may come will not permanently keep you or weigh you down. Neither does it mean that you body will not suffer, age, or die. But your soul will be safeguarded. When you are in the midst of trouble, and you cry out “Why is this happening to me?!?! How could the Lord God allow it?!?!”, the Spirit will gently ask you, “Which “me” do you mean? The mortal body that will die or the immortal soul that will be lifted up to heaven?”. And if you are wise, this will silence you and comfort you. My physical body has so many illnesses and ailments that I cannot keep track of it. My life has has disappointments, frustrations, and setbacks. But my soul is safe.
“He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff– they comfort me.” (Verses 3b – 4)
I suspect it is these reassurances that have made Psalm 23 so popular and well-known. And why it is quoted so much. Do not, however, let its prevalence obscure the deep well of comfort it provides. Sufficiency, comfort, restoration, and safety are precious gifts. With these gifts, a person could face a whole lifetime of earthly bodily-based problems. But there is more.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.” (Verses 5 – 6)
These gifts and blessings are given right in the face of all that besets you. Right there in front of the whole world a table of grace is laid out for you. And all that believe in the Author and Creator of this ongoing feast are invited and welcomed to share in it! Shalom & Selah!