Sometimes it is good to take a leisurely stroll through Psalm 23. Care to join me?
The Lord is my Shepherd
but I must choose to follow Him. Why would I make this choice? Because His plans for me are for good and not for evil, to bring me to a glorious end.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures.
Sometimes, if I keep myself too busy, this will be through trials or illness. He does not afflict me, but allows affliction. His purpose is to feed and nurture me; to bring healing and growth.
He leads me beside the still water.
This is a symbol of peace and tranquility. Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. Not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
I do well to remember that Heaven is my home; I am just a pilgrim passing through this earth. It is my training ground – boot camp, if you will. His plan is for me (and you) to rule and reign with Him during the millennium, and He does not want whiners or tyrants ruling, but humble servants like Himself.
He restores my soul.
When I wander from the flock, and return after a while, He restores me to fellowship. Part of the restoration involves my transformation by the renewing of my mind. As my thinking is corrected, I become conformed into the image of God’s Son, and less prone to wander.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness.
He is holy, and His desire is for me to be holy as well. He leads me in righteousness because it is in His nature to do so.
For His name’s sake
– not so I will make Him look good, but because He is faithful to complete the work He began in me. I am His workmanship – His project; and He is at work molding me into His Son’s image.
Even thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
– note that it is the “shadow”…and not death itself. Jesus said that if I obey His commands, I will not see Death. Death seems to be an entity, and not a process, for the Bible states that Death and Hades will both be cast into the Lake of Fire. One day this mortality will be swallowed up by life. “Death, where is your sting, Grave, where is your victory?”
Death is nothing to fear: Absent from this body is to be present with the Lord.
His rod and staff comfort me.
The rod is used for protection, and sometimes for correction. Both are a comfort, for the Bible tells me that only illegitimate children go undisciplined…and who doesn’t want protection??
His staff is used to guide and also for deliverance as I am pulled out of snares when the enemy manages to entrap me.
He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
The Bible is full of everything I need for life and godliness. My enemies are forced to look on whenever I partake of its nourishment – either through reading the Word or by listening to others teach from its contents.
He anoints my head with oil
– and my enemies are forced to watch while I am equipped and given authority to defeat them. The word anoint also denotes being made fat…I must be in pretty good shape in the anointing department. 😉
My cup overflows
…If a waitress is carrying a tray of full glasses of orange juice and she is bumped, orange juice will slosh out of the glasses – not milk or tea. When I am “bumped” emotionally, what sloshes out of me? Is it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control – or bitterness, anger, or resentment? This is an excellent test of the condition of my heart, for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
– every good and perfect gift is from above, I have a Father who loves to spoil me – and can afford to. It is not always in material goods, but also in love, grace, mercy, peace, or a variety of other ways.
I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
This is my destiny. It must be my goal – something I long for. (What will we be doing a million years from today? We will certainly be doing something – and it would blow your mind if you knew what that would be!)
There is no such thing as being so heavenly minded that I’m no earthly good. The Bible exhorts me to set my mind on things above, not on earthly things. To try to keep an earthly mind is contrary to His Word. I will be of no earthly good until I am heavenly minded, for then I will have an entirely different set of values – a different mindset.
When I know God’s purpose is good, I can:
Trust in the Lord with all my heart – like a toddler: joyous and carefree.
Not lean on my own understanding. The Bible says that God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…that would be me! My understanding does not amount to much, for His thoughts are higher than mine, and so are His ways.
In all my ways acknowledge Him: this pertains to more than just my plans. It includes my road, journey, direction, manners, habits, course of life, as well as my moral character. Because He is my good Shepherd, I can confidently seek His direction in everything.
He will make my paths straight – no dead ends, no drop-offs, no overgrown trails, but He will put me on the Highway to Heaven!
Scriptures used (although not in order – sorry :():
Psalm 23 Jeremiah 29:11
John 14:27 1 Peter 2:11
2 Timothy 2:12 Revelation 20:6
Romans 12:2 Romans 8:29
1 Peter 1:16 Philippians 1:6
Ephesians 2:10 Isaiah 64:8
2 Corinthians 5:4 John 8:52
Revelation 20:15 1 Corinthians 15:55
2 Corinthians 5:8 2 Peter 1:3
Luke 6:45 Galatians 5:22,23
James 1:17 Colossians 3:2
Proverbs 3:5,6 Matthew 18:3
1 Corinthians 1:27 Isaiah 55:9
1 Thessalonians 5:17
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