Promises From The Twenty-Third Psalm

The Twenty-Third Psalm is the most well-known to people everywhere. It was written by David, a shepherd boy turned king. It was most likely written later in his life, after he had tested and learned the promises of God. We often recite it mindlessly, without thinking that the promises God makes to us as Christians are the same ones David wrote about. There are many benefits named within that very short passage of Scripture, benefits we can count on. That short passage, only six verses long, is life-changing when we realize all the blessings God has given us there!

The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want. (Psalms 23:1)
Here are the first two blessings: First, it is God Himself who will take care of us, as a shepherd takes care of his sheep. "Lord" is all capitals, and is the name YHVH in Hebrew. This is the national name of God to the Jews, a covenant name. It is a name reserved for His people. As Christians, we also have a new covenant with God, through Jesus Christ.

And second, just as a shepherd provides for his sheep, it is God who will provide for us, and meet all our needs. We don't have to worry or stress, and try to figure out how to meet our own needs, we just have to trust our God, our shepherd, to take care of us.
"He makes me lie down in green
pastures, He leads me besides
quiet waters." (Psalms 23:2)
God promises to give us rest and peace when we're tired. This is "shalom", the peace that comes when we rest in God's goodness and provision. This tranquility does not depend on our circumstances or what's happening around us, for God can give us His peace in any chaos, in any storm. The Apostle Paul called it the "peace that surpasses all understanding". (Philippians 4:7)
"He restores my soul." (Psalms 23:3a)
Let's be honest: all of us have times when our soul is weakened. We may be wearied or saddened by our circumstances, or we may have wandered into sin and are now ashamed of ourselves. Our soul is weak, sinful, and sorrowful. But God assures us that when our soul grows sorrowful He will revive it; when it is sinful He will sanctify it; when it is weak He will strengthen it. We cannot do it, it is of His goodness and grace!
He leads me in the paths
of righteousness for his
name's sake.(Psalms 23:3b)
God will lead us in the way we should go, the pathway of righteousness. We can't depend on ourselves, because of our natural sinful nature. And sometimes a path that seems right to us is not the one God would have us to take. But we can be assured, He will never lead us onto the wrong path. His way is always the path of righteousness, for He is righteous! He does this for the sake of His name, that it may never be besmirched or belittled in any way.
"Even though I walk through the valley of
the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me."(Psalms 23:4a)
Death is the one thing we all have to face, both that of loved ones, and our own. No one is exempt, and the grief and sorrow of death can weigh us down and make us feel alone. However, we do not have to fear death; we have God's promise that even in our darkest and most dreadful days, we are not alone, He is with us every step of the way! This is something we all must walk through, but with God beside us we have assurance that we WILL get through it. Death is not the end of the road, it is merely a valley we must go through.
"Your rod and your staff, they
comfort me." (Psalms 23:4b)
The rod and staff are the two tools that a shepherd uses in leading sheep. The staff is for gathering the sheep close to the shepherd, or to rescue it from danger. The rod is used to protect the sheep from predators that could harm it or destroy it. We can take comfort in the promise that God will keep us close, rescue us when we wander off, and protect us from all that would destroy us. God keeps and protects His own!
"You prepare a table before me in the
presence of my enemies. (Psalms 23:5a)
Christians have many enemies, but the greatest one is the thief that comes but to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) And yet, even as our enemies would destroy us, our God bestows blessings and favor upon us. Preparing a table is something done for honored guests. He demonstrates to us, in front of our enemies, that we are His much loved and favored children. His grace is poured out on us like a banquet, at the table He prepared especially for us.
You anoint my head with oil.
My cup overflows." (Psalms 23:5b)
Anointing in the Bible is something done to set aside a person for a specific, God-given task. Each and every single one of us has a task that God has ordained us to do. As Christians, we are all familiar with what we call the "Great Commission", the teaching by Jesus that we should go out into all the world and teach them, baptize them, and disciple them, as we have ourselves been taught, baptized, and discipled. God anoints us to do this. We need the anointing of God on our lives to accomplish the work He has called us to do! He anoints us to shower His grace upon us, but it is not merely to show favor to us alone. He makes our cup to overflow; we will have an abundance, so that His favor may spill out of us onto others!
"Surely, goodness and mercy will follow
me all the days of my life." (Psalms 23:6a)
Wherever we go, whatever we do, God's goodness and mercy will be with us. We can handle anything that comes our way with God's goodness and mercy. The word translated "mercy" is "chesed" , which is God's lovingkindness toward us, His benevolence, goodness, and care. We have His own assurance of it: "Surely". He promises us that His goodness will not just come upon us once or twice, but will follow after us all our days.
"And I will dwell in the house of
the LORD forever. (Psalms 23:6b)
This is the greatest promise of all the wonderful promises in this short passage of Scripture! We have the assurance that death is not the end of our story, but we will live on eternally, dwelling with the Lord forever and ever! AMEN!!!

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