Project 66 – Psalm 23

The seventh set of three portions from Project 66 is from the wisdom literature, where we get to hear God’s people pouring out their hearts to their Redeemer as they go through the chaos and tumult of this world.

This project is so needful in my life. What a beautiful state it must be to have every thought taken captive by the Lord Jesus Christ! Come Holy Spirit to do that captivating in me!

I’ll divide up Part 7 into two parts, since all of Psalm 23 is a masterpiece unto itself!

The Lord is my Shepherd

Psalms – Intimacy with God

How do you chose a portion from the longest book in the Bible with 150 chapters? Well, probably the most renowned is Psalm 23. It is this portion that a preacher once taught me how to meditate and contemplate the Scriptures. So…

The LORD is my Shepherd;

  • Not merely a lord, but THE Lord.
  • Not has been or will be, but is presently in the here and now, despite my circumstances.
  • And though it is true He is our Shepherd, He drives it closer to home, to a more intimate relationship of, He is MY Shepherd.
  • And speaking of intimacy, He is the Creator, the Master of the Universe, God Almighty, but to me He is a Shepherd. Watchful, caring, present, guiding, providing.

I shall not want.

  • Or better rendered as in the NIV, I lack nothing, or I shall not lack anything.
  • I may not have all I want or everything that I perceive as a need, but my Shepherd knows exactly what is required for my growth and faithfully provides it.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

  • There is much to-do about freewill and I suppose I believe in it (I’d hate to credit God for some of my impetuous sinful selfish behaviors),
  • but I am thankful that there are times when He just has to take over, to overrule my unruly ways.
  • He makes me lie down, to stop, to breath, to rest.
  • Not to stand, or even to sit. But in that most restful horizontal position, to lie down!
  • Not in the barren wasteland, or the desert places, but in the lush, healthy, nutritious green pastures.

He leads me beside the still waters.

  • And I’m also thankful there are times where He affords me the opportunity to follow.
  • And oh the places He will lead if I just let Him.
  • While the raging seas may look “adventuresome” and “exciting”, it is the still waters He prefers to lead me to.
  • Still waters should not be confused with stagnant or standing water, but rather quiet, peaceful, calm waters!
  • And notice that He doesn’t throw me in the deep end for my “own good” or pushes me in to be the butt of some prank. He simply leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;

  • That’s my prayer for 2011, that He would restore my soul and my heart.
  • He doesn’t just wind me up and leave me to myself like a watch,
  • but like a good Shepherd, He feeds me daily and cares for me daily, and daily gets me out of jams that I manage to get myself into.
  • He constantly is always bringing me back to restoration, to Himself.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

  • I may not naturally be attracted to righteousness, but I am most definitely attracted to Him. Where He leads, I will follow.
  • And though the way may seem dark and gloomy and lonely, I can be assured that it is the path of righteousness on which He leads me, if I will only follow Him.
  • Following Him, I don’t have to wonder or teeter back and forth on whether something was right or wrong. I can know it is righteousness.

For His name’s sake.

  • And it provides security to know that all these good things He does towards me does not hinge on me nor is motivated by me or my behavior.
  • It is for His unchanging namesake.
  • It is motivated for the glory of His name.
  • That is a motivation that will always remain constant and good.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;

  • Thankfully I have never been near the valley of death or even the shadow of death
  • But the darkest valleys that I have experienced, He has shown Himself faithful to care for me and be with me.
  • Broken hearts, shattered dreams, severed relationships, failures, etc…I will not fear
  • Why?
  • For Thou art with me. Right now. Always. Uninterrupted. Constant.
  • You are my light, my shield, my refuge, my lover, my Shepherd.

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

  • It is YOUR rod that disciplines me
  • It is YOUR staff that rescues me
  • They are instruments of YOUR guidance
  • What rest there is in knowing that You have me girded in and protected…even from my own dastardly choices.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

  • The Lord goes from Shepherd, to Guide, and now to the Host!
  • We are to wait on the Lord, but in this Psalm we find Him waiting on us!
  • Why in the presence of our enemies?
  • I count my enemies to be my doubts and fears. And the Lord responds to my doubts and fears and questions with His abundant provision, as if to silence them.

You anoint my head with oil;

  • Because of Psalm 133 I associate anointing with fellowship. He will provide friends.
  • Also, biblically, royalty was commissioned by the anointing of the head. A good reminder than I am royalty, daughter of the King.
  • And back to my prayer for 2011, anointing was used for healing. To heal wounds caused by my enemies of doubts, fears, and “old tapes”!

My cup runs over.

  • A sure sign of abundance.
  • Blessed so much that I cannot contain it all.
  • And presumably it is filled with wine, which signifies happiness and a carefree life.
  • At the beginning of the Psalm it is said minimalistically, “I lack for nothing.”
  • But after taking some time to count his blessings it is now reported in fullness “My cup runneth over!”

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

  • Two beautiful angels to have escort you through this life!
  • But why “follow” me? Why not “go before”?
  • Because some of my enemies are in the rear; they attack me from behind.
    There are foes in my yesterdays which can give me fatal wounds.
    They can stab me in the back!
    I have turned my face toward the Lord, but my yesterdays pursue me like a relentless hound!
    So I have an enemy in the rear.
  • But, blessed be His name, my mighty God is in the rear as well as my foe.
    “Goodness and mercy shall follow me!”
    Between me and my wounded past there is the infinite love of the Lord.
    The loving Lord will not permit my past to destroy my soul.
  • My Lord is Lord of the past as well as of the morrow, and so to-day “I will trust and not be afraid.”

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

  • I will, not I hope so.
  • Dwell, like feel at home with, live, reside, a place to call my own.
  • It is not an enjoyment that I must wait for, but it can be a part of my life here and now.
  • In the same house he prepares me a feast and causes my cup to run over.
  • Why do I ever leave His house to go dine out of the dumpster?

Oh Keep me close to You Lord Jesus and never let me roam on my own.

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