“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. ... I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”John 10:11, 14
Psalm 23 is one of the most famous and quoted Psalms in the Bible. It’s also one of the most widely memorized and beloved passages of Scripture. If you haven’t memorized it yet, I encourage you to do so over the next 31 days. With just six verses, it’s easy to memorize and will bring comfort and peace to you every time you say it. I also want you to read it through each day, verse by verse and phrase by phrase, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through His Word and reveal how wonderful our Good Shepherd really is and how much He wants to know you and give you an abundant life.
As you read this Psalm, you’ll notice three important things the Good Shepherd does. The first thing He does is provide. Psalm 23:1 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” The word “want” here means “lack.” In other words, because our Shepherd, Jesus, provides everything we need, we lack nothing! And although we may not get everything we want, He does give us everything we need.
It’s easy to feel like you need to do more, work harder, and sacrifice all you can to make things better for yourself and your family. However, the Lord is showing us that He wants us to look to Him for provision. He can open doors and bring opportunities your way when you trust Him and ask Him to provide.
Psalm 23 demonstrates how our Good Shepherd provides for us:
He provides contentment and peace. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters (verse 2).
The green pastures refer to the rich Word of God, and the still waters refer to His peace. In other words, as you feed on His Word and abide in the Lord, He will fill you with contentment and lead you in peace.
He provides restoration. He restores my soul; ... (verse 3).
We all experience things in life that are devastating to our mind, will, and emotions. This is why our souls need to be restored. Your Good Shepherd not only wants to restore your soul to the way it was before that devastating thing happened, but He also wants to refresh your soul to an even better place!
He provides guidance. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (verse 3).
Righteousness means to be in right standing with God. Because of God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, God views you through the lens of His Son when you receive Him as your Savior and Lord—you are brought into right standing with God. And you continue to walk in righteousness when you allow Jesus to lead you through life in such a way that even your thoughts, words, and actions are pleasing to Him. By letting your Good Shepherd lead you, you’re able to remain in close relationship with Him and you will lack for nothing.
The second thing our Good Shepherd does is protect. Psalm 23:4 tells us that even in the valley of the shadow of death, we should not fear because God is there with us. For most of us, death is our greatest fear. A friend once told me he didn’t fear death, but he did fear snakes. The truth is he feared getting bitten by a snake and dying. In the same way, when someone says they’re afraid of heights, they’re afraid of falling and dying. Death is what brings us the most fear. But Jesus annihilated death when He conquered it on the cross! The Lord wants us to rest in the assurance that He’s our protector and provider.
The third thing our Good Shepherd does is promise. The final verse of Psalm 23 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.” The word “surely” means “certainly.” It is certain; it’s a fact. You not only get provision and protection, but you also get goodness, mercy, and eternal life. If I were to sum up Psalm 23, it would be, “You get all of this and eternity in heaven with your Savior!” Isn’t that amazing?!
One of my favorite verses in the Old Testament is Ezekiel 34:12: “As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.” In this verse, God is saying, “Listen, I’m coming. I’m going to come and deliver all my sheep that have been scattered from everything that has held them in bondage. And you’ll know when I do it because it will be a cloudy and dark day.”
This is what Jesus did for us because He is our Good Shepherd. He gave His life for His sheep on a dark, cloudy day so we could be delivered from stress, anxiety, worry, fear, and even death. He promises to protect and provide for you. You simply have to learn to recognize His voice and follow Him.
Today, no matter what you’re experiencing in your life, you can be blessed knowing the Lord promises to protect and provide for you. That’s who our Good Shepherd is, and it’s why this is the most beloved Psalm!
• Read through the verses for further study and take note of the ways the Lord is your Good Shepherd and how He promises to protect and provide for you.
• Reflect on all the wonderful benefits of having the Lord as your Good Shepherd.
• Pray a prayer of gratitude, thanking God for all the ways He has protected and provided for you throughout your life.
Holy Spirit, what are You saying to me today?
• What was a moment where you saw God provide, promise, or protect you?
• Psalm 23 tells us that God will give us what we need. But this doesn’t quite mean what we want. Find two objects in your house, one that is a need and one that is a want, and explain why you picked them.