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. Psalm 23.1-5
Meditate with me, If you read verse one through three you can see that David is talking about God. In verse four he transitions and begins talking to God. David writes, “thou art with me, thou prepares a table, thou anointest me.” David worships God as he testifies to God’s protective presence. God doesn’t need to be reminded of what He does, and that is not the point. David expresses gratitude to the Shepherd. He realizes, throughout His life the Shepherd has led him, protected him, and provided for him. When we stop complaining about what we don’t have, and when we start thinking about God’s many blessings, we will be grateful. And like David, worship the Shepherd.
I have always been a little stumped by verse five. In the past I have made suggestions about what I thought David was saying. About a year ago, I discovered a little book, He Leadeth Me by C.W. Fleming. Fleming helped me understand some of the metaphors that David uses within Psalm 23. I am not going to elaborate in this post. But I will later.
We live in a world where there is no shortage of enemies. And our enemies can be downright cruel and spiteful. Sometimes our enemies will even disguise themselves as friends. It would be nice if we lived in a world where everyone was a friend, a world lacking in war, selfishness, pride, chaos, and jealousy. If you know the Shepherd, one day you will live in such a world. I/we will live in a world void of crime, anger, and hatred. Till that day, how do we manage in this world? I do not believe that the context of Psalm 23 attempts to answer that question, because the Psalm is an expression of worship. David writes his feelings about his God, a testimony to how the Shepherd has helped him. I do believe that the Shepherd’s presence in such a world can console us, comfort us, and remind us. Despite our enemies, we have a Shepherd with a protective rod. One who provides what we need, when we need it. We need to listen for His voice, as He calls our name. He is personal.