Surely goodness and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life.

No other Psalm is so universally known and loved as the 23rd. In just 6 short verses, it captures the wonderful completeness of God’s love for all his children.

The author, David, spent much of his formative years tending sheep for his father. He had plenty of time to study the relationship between sheep and shepherd. The sheep were completely dependent on David for food, protection, and water. Even the smallest lamb was precious, and a good shepherd was not willing to lose even one. In his time, and in that region, lambs were sometimes even raised as family pets. Such was the love and trust between sheep and the shepherd.

Later, David would lead a band of desperate men fleeing Saul’s demonic persecution. Several times David had the opportunity to kill Saul, but he wisely waited on God’s perfect timing to place him on the throne. During those nomadic years, David learned how to lead men. At the same time, God was teaching David to trust Him, just as David’s sheep had relied on him. After Saul’s death, David became king. He was fully prepared to be the shepherd for God’s chosen people.

In John 10, Jesus makes it clear that HE is the GOOD SHEPHERD, assuring all Believers of God’s desire to save, love, and care for the sheep of His pasture for all Eternity. In David’s short Psalm, God encapsulates His Love revelation. Only Love Himself could have inspired this much wisdom so beautifully. Read these verses out loud. Make Psalm 23 your personal confession. Believe it, receive it, and enjoy all that God has done for you.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

(Psalm 23:1 <NLT>)

Is Jesus your Lord? Is he your Good Shepherd? Even after you make Jesus your Lord, you must continue to follow the Good Shepherd to enjoy his care. Jesus promises that, “His sheep will know his voice, and they will flee from another.” How does this happen? By building a relationship through the Word. Speaking the Word, hearing the Word, and thinking about the Word. Pray continually, and with your spiritual ears, listen for the Good Shepherd’s voice. He wants to be involved in your life and lead you along the right path. (Joshua 1:5-9, Psalm 1, Proverbs 3, John 10:1-30, 14:15-26, Romans 8:12-17, Galatians 5:13-26, Ephesians 3:14-21, Hebrews 3:12-14, Revelation 3:20-22)

Just like any good shepherd, God will provide bountifully everything you need. He will protect you, keep you well, and in perfect peace. I like the Amplified Bible best that says, “I shall not lack.” Take God at his Word. Believe and receive all that the Good Shepherd has given you. (Psalm 84:10-12, Philippians 4:6-8, 19)

He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.

(Psalm 23:2 <NLT>)

Sheep are timid and defenseless creatures, so they completely depend on their shepherd to find calm streams to drink from, and peaceful meadows for grazing. In the same way, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, came to give you perfect peace, and victory over all the power of the enemy. (Psalm 34, John 10:1-18, Romans 8:31-39)

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he writes “Let the Peace of God guard your heart and mind.” And in Hebrews, he reminds Believers that there is a spiritual rest available to people who trust God and His Word. Seems like an odd combination of thoughts, but they are related. When God completed His creative work, He rested. Same for Jesus, he sat down at the right hand of God when he had completed his mission. Believers have been offered a similar rest. Its a confidence, a peace, a worry-free existence, knowing that whatever God has promised, He will provide. Do you think sheep in the presence of a good shepherd worry about life? No. They graze, drink water, and do what sheep were created to do. If you are a Believer, and your life is filled with anxiety, worry, stress, sickness, poverty, and lack, there is something amiss. Jesus came to give you life, in abundance, to the full, till it overflows. Cast all your cares on Jesus because he cares for you. Let Jesus take your cares and requests, and thank him for supplying all your needs. Relax and rejoice. God loves you. He knows you from the inside out, backwards and forward. He has everything under control. (Psalm 100, Psalm 139, Matthew 6:25-34, 11:27-30, John 10:10, Philippians 4:4-9, Hebrews 4, 1 Peter 5:6-11)

He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

(Psalm 23:3 <NLT>)

When you accept the free gift of Salvation by faith in Jesus, you are spiritually reborn, a new creation with a clean slate. You are declared righteous, or in right standing with God, by your confession of faith in Jesus. But don’t just stop there. Read, study, and meditate on the Word. The Word is Jesus and it brings life, renews your strength, heals, provides wisdom for success, and draws you closer to God’s perfect will for your life. Which in turn brings glory to God. (Joshua 1:1-9, Proverbs 3, Isaiah 53, John 1:1-18, 15:1-17, Romans 8:1-17, Colossians 1:9-14, James 1:6)

One of my Mother’s favorite verses was Isaiah 40:31 – “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Jesus renews you from the inside out. First, you are spiritually reborn. Second, your mind is renewed by the Word of God. Third, your body is healed, and your youth is renewed. God renews and empowers you so you can serve others, be His Hands, His Voice, and spread the Blessing to a hurting world. This is how you Glorify God and honor His name. This is LOVE. (Psalm 103:1-5, Proverbs 4:18-27, Isaiah 40:30-31, 53:1-5, Luke 4:14-21, John 7:37-39, 15:1-8, Romans 8:10-16, 2 Corinthians 4:10-18, 12:9-10)

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

(Psalm 23:4 <NLT>)

Lord Is My Shepherd.

The Lord Is My Shepherd. I Shall Not Lack.

This is a wonderful promise. As a child of God, if you know that He loves you, how can you be afraid? You have the Creator of the universe and an army of angels ready to defend you. You have the shield of faith to stop all the fiery darts of the enemy. The Holy Spirit dwells in you and is available to share God’s wisdom, and when difficulty arises, direction. You have the name of Jesus, the name above EVERY name, to wield along with the sword of truth, God’s Word, when its time to go on the offensive. There is a reason the phrase “Fear not!” appears so many times in the Bible. There is no need for fear when you have built your faith on God’s Word. You cannot lose. (2 Kings 6:11-18, Psalm 34:1-9, 91:9-12, Matthew 18:10-14, 26:52-53, John 16:5-15, Ephesians 6:10-18, Philippians 2:5-11, Hebrews 1:13-14, 4:12-13, 1 Peter 5:1-11)

One of the most important phrases in verse 4 is through the darkest valley. The Believer should never stop and camp in the dark valley. They should go THROUGH it! Jesus told his disciples that they were going to the other side of the lake, and then promptly went to sleep at the back of the boat. A major storm erupted while they were in the middle of the lake and the disciples panicked. They woke Jesus up and asked, “Don’t you care?” Jesus stood up and spoke peace to the storm. He then turned to the disciples and asked, “Why are you afraid? Where is your faith?” They were going to the other side – they had Jesus’ Word on it. Any one of those men could have spoken to that storm and told it to calm down. Fear had paralyzed them, neutralizing their faith. Otherwise, it would have made no sense for Jesus to ask them why they were afraid, or question their faith. (Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25)

Persecution comes because of the Word. And the enemy will immediately attempt to steal the Word when it is sown into your heart, because that is how faith grows. Don’t let him succeed. Build your faith on the Good Shepherd, the Living Rock, and the storms in life will not destroy you. Satan was attempting to thwart God’s will by sending that storm and sinking Jesus – which is ironic since Jesus would have simply walked on the water, as he did a few months later. The enemy is no match for someone boldly speaking God’s Word, and believing what they speak. (Matthew 7:24-27, 13:18-23, Mark 11:22-24, John 17:10-17, Romans 10:17, 2 Timothy 3:10-17, 1 Peter 5:5-14)

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

(Psalm 23:5 <NLT>)

The assurance of verse 5 is seen multiple times throughout the Bible. In 2 Kings 19 for example, King Hezekiah was threatened by Sennacherib’s army. The Assyrian invasion force had swept away everyone they had faced, and now they were openly threatening Jerusalem, and defying God Himself. Hezekiah turned to the Lord for instructions. God replied, “He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield, or build up an assault ramp against it.” That very night 185,000 Assyrian soldiers would die. Sennacherib would return to Nineveh where he was assassinated by his own sons. When you are in Covenant with El Shaddai, the God that is more than enough, Salvation is guaranteed. With Jesus as your Lord and Savior, victory is assured. As a child of God remember, greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. (Deuteronomy 28:1-14, 2 Kings 19, Psalm 91, John 14:23-27, Romans 8:37-39, 1 John 4:4, 5:1-5)

For Believers, there is only one enemy, Satan. And he has been thoroughly defeated by Jesus. You can sit down in peace and enjoy the Blessing, even while armies are surrounding you. Whether its a pesky bully, or an army of terrorists, you are not afraid. To a child of God, they mean nothing because they are already defeated. You rejoice in the victory and the enemy is forced to flee, or destroy themselves in panic and confusion. God has anointed you for a great purpose, and people will oppose you. But again, it does not matter. By faith you overcome every obstacle, win every battle, move every mountain, and live so victoriously that you win people to Christ simply out of awe for what God has done in your life. Now is a good time to give God some praise. (Exodus 14:13-14, Deuteronomy 28:1-14, 2 Kings 8:1-6, 2 Chronicles 20:1-30, Psalm 91, Psalm 92, Mark 11:22-25, Hebrews 2, 1 John 2:7-14)

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

(Psalm 23:6 <NLT>)

The Aramaic Bible In Plain English renders the first phrase of this verse, “Your kindness and your mercies pursue me all the days of my life.” Young’s Literal Translation has, “Only — goodness and kindness pursue me.” What is the Holy Spirit really saying through David’s Psalm? God is Light. There is no darkness in Him. So obviously only good can come from a GOOD GOD. The goodness, kindness, and love mentioned here is God’s Favor. It is the Blessing of God. Jesus redeemed you from the curse, so you are free to enjoy God’s Favor. The Blessing is pursuing you. Receive it! Expect it! Thank Him for it! Don’t let fear, sin, or unbelief block the manifestation of God’s Favor in your life. (Genesis 1:26-28, Deuteronomy 28:1-14, Psalm 5:11-12, Psalm 30, Psalm 84, Proverbs 10:21-22, Matthew 7:7-11, John 10:10, Galatians 3:10-14, James 1, 2 Peter 1:1-11, 3 John 1:2)

I will live… What is life without Christ? Living in darkness, or being spiritually dead, is no way to spend your time on Earth, much less Eternity. Spiritually dead means cut off from Life, from God Himself, your Creator. Jesus did not come to the Earth to start a religion. He came to build a family. You may have not been born into God’s family, but by a simple confession of faith in Jesus, you can be forever adopted into His Eternal Family. You depart the kingdom of darkness and enter the Kingdom of Light, God’s Eternal Kingdom. There are many rights and privileges available to you now here on Earth, whether you receive them or not. You are a child of God, a joint-heir with Jesus, part of the Body of Christ, and an Ambassador of Christ, with diplomatic immunity. As long as you stay attached to Jesus, the Vine, and let his Words abide in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from him, you can do nothing. You are blessed with ALL Spiritual Blessings, and alive in Christ. The Holy Spirit is in you to guide and comfort you. Not even death can separate you from God’s Love, because Jesus already tasted death for you. You are right now, as a Believer, spiritually sitting together with Christ Jesus in Heavenly Places! Read Paul’s letters carefully, and receive by faith all that Jesus did for you. Enjoy your Heavenly Father’s immeasurable Love and Favor now, and throughout Eternity. (John 15:1-8, 17:12-26, Romans 6:1-14, 1 Corinth 15:20-22, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Ephesians 1:1-6, 2:4-10, 3:1-21, 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11, Hebrews 2:9-18, 1 John 3:1-24)

 

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Lamb – Image: James Barker / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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