Summary: Psalm 23 is a commonly known, oft-quoted Psalm which many have memorized or display promptly in their homes. However, from the very beginning of the Psalm, we see that it is quite personal.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
Perhaps as a shepherd, David often mused or thought on the things of the Lord. The word muse means to think, ponder, or consider. Psalm 23, is evidence that David spent time considering and meditating on God ("musing").
How much the Lord might reveal to us about Himself if we would only muse on Him more. Sadly, these days so many seek a–musement; the prefix a- meaning contrary or opposite of.
And so we have the opposite of muse – NOT thinking. Thus, we spend so much of our time these days pursuing non-thinking activities: computer games, movies, sporting events, shows, and the like. How sad for us when we could know the God of the Bible even more intimately, yet we choose to not think upon Him.
Psalm 23 is a commonly known Psalm which many have memorized or display promptly in their homes. Often called the
Shepherd’s Psalm it is quoted often by those who are having hard times in their lives. However, from the very beginning of the Psalm, we see that it is quite personal: The LORD is my shepherd…
The possessive my identifies the rest of the Psalm as something which relates to those whose Shepherd truly is the LORD.
Regarding our condition as sheep before the LORD, we may look at Isaiah 53:6 which tells us, “all we like sheep have gone astray …” and that from the womb we are estranged (alienated from God), we go forth speaking lies (Psalm 58:3). We are all born sinners (Psalm 51:5) and we all sin (Romans 3:23).
So somehow we must come to a place where we have been found and returned to the fold. John chapter 10 tells us that the sheep know the Lord’s voice, and they follow Him. Thus, to claim this Psalm, one must have turned from their way (Isaiah 53:6), which is the way of sin, and looked to the Lord in saving faith as the Lamb of God slain for their sin: Our Perfect Sacrifice.
It must be a personally appropriated faith upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross; and His resurrection for our justification. Only then can we claim the Lord as our Shepherd, when we have submitted to His Word in saving faith and follow Him, His voice (John 10:4), which is His Word.
Therefore, to claim this Psalm without a personal relationship with the Lord would be misleading. How many who display this Psalm; who rely on this Psalm actually have the Lord as their Shepherd?
The remainder of the Psalm provides so many precious promises to those in Christ. We know from 2Corinthians 1:20, that in Christ, all the promises of God are yea (positive; in the affirmative; yes).
First, we see that when the LORD is our Shepherd, we shall not want. We read in John 6:35, that whosoever believeth on Christ shall never hunger and never thirst. Colossians 2:10 tells us that we are complete in Him. Thus, when the Lord is our Shepherd, spiritually speaking, we shall never lack, for we can be satisfied in Him, never lacking any good thing. It does not mean that we will have material gain, but rather spiritually speaking, we lack nothing.