Summary: An exegetical study of Psalm 23.
God, My Energizer!
Scripture Ref: Psalm 23
Additional References: The Bible Knowledge Commentary
a. We have all seen the commercial featuring the “Energizer Bunny.” Remember, he keeps going, and going, and going. I sometimes think God must be powered by Energizer batteries because regardless of how much I use Him, he keeps on giving, and giving, and giving.
b. How often do you find yourself in the position where you have so much of everything that you can sit back and say, “Enough! I don’t need to work anymore?” I have all the food I could possibly ever want of need. I have more clothes than I know what to do with. My telephone, electric, water, sewage, and garbage bills are paid far enough in advance that they are covered until my dying day. I am rested and relaxed. No stress ever mars my day.
c. Charles R. Swindoll, in The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1,501 Other Stories, told such a story of Dwight L. Moody. He tells the story like this.
On one occasion, evangelist Dwight L. Moody had been the recipient of numerous benefits from the Lord. In his abundance, he was suddenly seized with the realization that his heavenly Father was showering on him almost more than he could take. Encouraged and overwhelmed, he paused to pray. With great volume he simply stated, “Stop, God!”
Now that’s spontaneous. It is also a beautiful change from, “Eternal, almighty, gracious Father of all good things, Thy hand hath abundantly and gloriously supplied our deepest needs. How blessed and thankful we are to come to Thee and declare unto Thee …” and on and on and on, grinding into snore city.
After I had told that story in one service, a fellow said to me, “I’ve got another one for God. God, start! I mean, He can stop on Moody, but I want Him to start with me, I need some of that.”
d. David tells us that we can be like that, to a point. It won’t be given to us all up front, and it requires some effort on our part. The effort, however, is a pleasure, as it requires only one thing—staying in the presence of God.
e. In the 23rd Psalm, David uses the imagery of God as a shepherd and a gracious host as he reflected on the many benefits the Lord gave him in the dangers of life.
2. The Lord as Leader (Verses 1-4)
a. In these verses, David shares four significant blessings we receive from God’s leadership.
b. Verse 1—The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
(1) At the very start, David establishes the relationship between Him and God. We share this same relationship.
(2) David used the figure of a shepherd to recall the blessings he enjoyed from the LORD. The metaphor was a natural one for David, who was a shepherd-king himself.
(3) Shepherd was a common metaphor in the ancient Near East, as many kings compared themselves to shepherds in their leadership capacity.
(4) Calling God a shepherd implied a close, personal relationship with Him.
(a) A shepherd always has the flock foremost in his mind.
(b) A shepherd loves and cares for his flock.
(c) A shepherd defends his flock and protects it from dangers.
(5) Because the Lord was David’s Shepherd, his needs were met. He knew that he would never want for anything because God would provide for him.
c. Verse 2a—He makes me lie down in green pastures,
(1) The first blessing David experienced was spiritual nourishment.
(2) Just as the shepherd leads his flock to fresh grass for feeding, so does the Lord.
(a) The green pastures David spoke provide implied two needs being met—rest and nourishment.
(b) Speaking figuratively, David tells us that God will do the same for us. He will give us rest and he will feed us with spiritual nourishment.
d. Verses 2b-3a—he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
(1) The second blessing David received from God was spiritual restoration.
(2) Just as the shepherd knows his sheep, God knows his flock. He knows the nature of each one.
(a) Sheep are stupid, stubborn, and easily frightened.
(b) If the shepherd took them to a raging stream to drink, the noise would so scare them they bolt and run.
(3) The good shepherd takes his sheep to a quiet, peaceful stream where the sheep can drink without being frightened. There they can experience rest and cleansing.
(4) The Lord does the same for us. He restores or refreshes our soul.
(5) Here the spiritual lesson is clear: the Lord provides forgiveness and peace for those who follow Him
e. Verse 3b—He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.