The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
For several years I turned to this passage for needed encouragement. David wrote this Psalm. The shepherd boy who became king, a man after God’s own heart. As a young man God chose David to be king. But not because of his stature, strength, or popularity. In fact, David was anointed as a young man, one who took care of the sheep. One who was not old enough, or prepared enough for battle. Yet on the battlefield God blessed David; he slew Goliath. Despite Saul’s jealousy and rage David respected the king of Israel, and waited. Unfortunately, David did not always wait on the Lord, or respect the people in his life.
David experienced adversity on more than one occasion. Some of his suffering was a result of others, some adversity he brought on himself as a result of his own sin. Sometimes life (living in a sin cursed creation, with sinful people) can cause a good deal of problems. And we don’t want to forget about the greatest enemy (Satan), there are times when his influence causes frustration. I am not sure when David wrote this Psalm, but I know that he must have been old enough and wise enough to recognize that God had been with him throughout his life.
We must learn to be okay with the adversity, frustration, and even suffering in our lives. A broad exposition of this Psalm will reveal that the Lord was with David in the fields. He was with him before and after David’s sin. The Lord was with David when he faced enemies. And David anticipated the Lords presence in his future, which includes eternity.
David was a shepherd for many years. I find it interesting that David chose to identify the Lord as a shepherd, but there is no one who is more qualified to write such a beautiful Psalm. A Psalm that is loved by so many. What is more fascinating, is that Jesus chose to identify Himself with this metaphor and claimed to be the good shepherd. Why is this important for us to know? Because shepherding was not an impressive vocation. And since this is true, we recognize that our Lord (Jesus Christ) provides us another example of His humility.