Psalm 23, a psalm of David, is full of healing words millions of people have memorized and meditated upon over the centuries. They have comforted people in times of challenge, temptation, sickness, and loss.
I memorized the twenty-third Psalm when I was a child. Perhaps you did too. It continues to have fresh meaning to me. I could see in it major keys for healing the soul and confirmation of several other insights received through praying for others and myself. Let’s look at it together.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD. He always has His eye on me to know that I’m safe. That I haven’t wandered away from Him and the flock. In this metaphor a sheep all alone is dangerous as a Fox finds them delicious. The Shepherd counts the sheep at night and checks for cuts and sandspurs in the fur.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD. This Shepherd isn’t only a “sheep tender,” but He is The LORD (in capital letters). Originally written in four Hebrew letters as “YHVH” (“Yod Heh Vav Heh”). He is the Creator of Heaven and earth and all of us, His people.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD. We have a very personal relationship with our LORD the good Shepherd. This Psalm is referring to our first and most important healing experience, Salvation. Jesus can be someone else’s Shepherd, and that is great, but it will not help you, or me.
IS HE YOUR SHEPHERD? If you have asked Him to be, then you have access to the range of a thousand hills, the everlasting spring fed streams, and His tender care when you’re hurting, wounded, or sick.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish: neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27- 28 KJV-MOD).
PRAY WITH ME. “I claim these promises in Psalm 23 to be mine. Please be my personal Good Shepherd, Jesus. Forgive me from straying from the fold and away from the safety of Your presence. Help me to always hear and know Your voice, so I will come when You call me. Help me mark in my Bible where You speak something special to me. Thank you LORD for the awesome gift of Eternal Life, and for the safety of Your loving care. My love always, Amen. Here are some promises Jesus gives you:
• You will know His voice
• He knows you personally
• You will never perish
• Jesus will lead you to His Father
I SHALL NOT WANT. “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.” Just as sheep feel no anxiety, because their Shepherd sees their every need, so do we express our complete contentment in the knowledge that God will not deny us any legitimate need. That is quite an encouraging biblical promise for our world today. America has its ups and downs, but in the past we have always been there to help other countries during environmental challenges or serious financial needs. Not so much in the 21st century.
My dad was born in 1893, and at the age of 16 during the financial depression he had to leave his home in Port Huron, Michigan, and catch a train to the big city of Detroit. As an assertive young Scotsman, he walked into the office of the president of the postal service and landed a job. In those days postal delivery was done with horse and buggy. He had no money so went across the street to a Bar and Grill and asked the owner if he could eat from the sandwiches laid out for the men’s lunches and he would pay him at the end of the month. With that nutritional help, my dad survived and slept in the post office that first month on the job.
Psalm 34 says, “Oh taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord (hold in awe) you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing” (Psalm 34:8-10 NKJV).
HE MAKES ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES (Psalm 23:2a KJV). Meditating on this beloved Psalm can help to take stress away.
When I think of my childhood in Florida, this verse reminds me of rolling down a beautiful green hillside in my neighborhood. At age six or seven, I was totally relaxed as I rolled round and round until I came to the bottom of the hill. The fresh cut grass also had a sweet smell and, as usual, the Florida sun was shining. Then I wanted to go to the top of the hill, and do it again!
I can picture Jesus, my Good Shepherd, sitting there and enjoying my childlike activity. Maybe He would begin to quote Psalm 23, which He had learned from Scrolls in the Synagogue. Thinking about this makes me want to take a deep relaxing breath. (Excerpts: A New Look at the News by Rita Bennett.)
©2016 by Rita Bennett, CRA Inc., www.EmotionallyFree.org