The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
David, the psalmist, started his life as a shepherd.
He knew what it was like to try to get a sheep to bed down or even to get them to drink water. Sheep need safety and security. They will not rest when hungry or scared. They will not drink if water is rushing. As he goes through the first three verses he is saying God, my Shepherd takes care of me.
God has given us His commandments as a reminder of His protected path.
David goes on to say the Shepherd leads in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. It is like an umbrella of protection. As long as we stay under God’s protective umbrella of obedience, He provides security and provision. When we get outside, we veer off His path and we can find ourselves in danger.
I love the next verse that says, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me.”
David was not speaking of a near-death experience, it was an area in the path that was dangerous.
There could be predatory animals waiting or robbers. It was important for the sheep to stay close to the shepherd for protection. Oh, how our faith family needs to hear this in these dark days. Staying with the Shepherd doesn’t mean that dangerous things will not happen. It guarantees His presence in the midst of the danger.
Hallelujah! WE ARE NOT ALONE!
His rod and staff are used to prod us away from danger. They can also be used as protective devices against the predator.
He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies.
David was constantly challenged with adversaries. He knew God’s provision even as Saul chased him. God fed him and provided for him as he faced the Philistines. When David’s son Absalom tried to usurp the throne, God provided for David. That is why David, God’s anointed one, could say, “My cup runs over.”
Although David knew much adversity, his eyes were on the One who brought provision. In the end, the psalmist’s desire was to dwell in the presence of the Lord forever.
Keep our eyes on our Provider.
What a great challenge to each of us. No matter what you face, you can know He is there with you. Then you too can end your prayers, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all of my days!”