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 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 forever (Psalm 23).
Many times when we see the prayer of David, it’s usually on obituaries or recited while carrying the deceased, but mind you, Jesus told His disciples God is the God of the living, not of the dead, not meaning the dead hasn’t gone into His presence, (He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye, therefore, do greatly err- Mark 12:27). David was placing his trust in the true and living God, knowing what was impossible with him, was possible with God!
Many use this Scripture at burials, but this prayer was prayed for deliverance. When we study the Scripture, David was praying a prayer for deliverance from his enemies. He was running from King Saul, Saul was jealous of David, and he was hunting him to kill him.
David addressed the Lord as, not just being his Savior, but his Lord. Lord is different from Savior. Savior is acknowledging Jesus as One that can deliver you, heal you, and save you, but Lord is when you have submitted yourself completely and totally to God. It’s no longer your will, but His will be done in you and through you.
He acknowledges Jesus as Lord and his Shepherd. A shepherd directs the sheep where to go. The shepherd watches over the sheep and makes sure the wolves don’t devour them. He keeps the sheep from straying behind and getting off the path.
The shepherd protects and provides for the sheep. Sheep follow the shepherd; they don’t rebel against the leading of the shepherd; they submit themselves and are willing to go wherever the shepherd leaves them. The Shepherd knows His sheep, and the sheep know their shepherd ( I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine – John 9:14).
When we make Jesus our Lord and Shepherd, don’t worry; wherever He leads you, He’s watching over you, to make sure you come out with victory when you place your trust in Him when you’re willing to be led by Him. Some of the places the Shepherd leads us will be a place of desolation, a place of rejection, a place of hurt, a place sometimes where we can’t hear His voice, but you have to know for yourself, He keeps His Word.
He promised He would never leave or forsake us. Wherever you may be, if you didn’t place yourself there, He will not forsake you. Even if you placed yourself thereby making bad choices and being willingly disobedient to the Word of God, He’s a merciful God, a God of long-suffering. If you repent and ask for forgiveness, He will forgive you and deliver you.
I shall not want, indicates you will not be in lack; God will supply the need. It may not come by how you think it will come, but if you follow His leading, the need will be supplied. While leading us, the Shepherd will help us to lie down in green pastures. Green pasture is a place where the sheep eat and get nourished, so they will not faint on their journey. God has given us His Word to eat, and we should eat it until we regurgitate the Word of God. Reading the Word of God will change our thinking, and we will begin to see the Word of God in action.
While we’re in the trial or test, if we place our confidence in Him, He will lead us by the still waters, a place of rest. He has promised us; He will keep them in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Him (Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isaiah 26:3). ‘Trusteth”, means no matter what is going on in our life, we will place our trust in God that it will work together for our good.
After the end of the test, trial or persecution, God will restore us. We will be strengthened in Him; we will be stronger than we were before the test. The Bible teaches if we faint in our adversity, then our strength is small ( If thou faint in the day of adversity thy strength is small -Proverbs 24:10), so in order for God to build us, and make us strong, He allows us to go through different adversities to strengthen our faith and to make us more faithful to Him (But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (confirm), strengthen, settle you -1st Peter 5:10).
God will never lead us to do something contrary to His Word. When we allow the Sheperd to lead us, He will lead us to do and say things that will be pleasing to God. He leads us into righteousness, goodness, faithfulness, and holiness. When we choose to lead ourselves, we usually lead ourselves in the wrong way, which causes us to regret our leading.
Somehow some Christians think because you’re a Christian, you will not suffer or go through turmoil, but the affliction we go through creates us more in the image of God and His Son for us to show the power of God here on earth. David said, yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death is informing us we will have some low times in our lives. There will be times you may think that God is not, but if He weren’t on your side, you would faint in the adversity, you would backslide while you’re in the valley, but when you know where your help comes from, you will not fear because you know that God is with you and not against you.
You don’t have to worry about your enemies, the gainsayers; release them to God and let Him handle them. The very ones that came against you will be the ones who see the blessings of God upon your life and in your life. He will prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies, and they can’t take what God has for you!
He will anoint your head with oil, indicating He will give you soundness of mind, your heart and spirit will be calm, and nothing can shake or rattle you. You will have the wisdom and knowledge of God to handle certain people and situations.
When God blesses you, He blesses you so that not only will you have more than enough for yourself, but He will give you an overflow for you to be a blessing to someone else. That’s when God has blessed you to minister to others, and they feel and see a change. That’s when you can bless others with monetary gifts and don’t have to worry about which creditor will not be paid. God will bless you to the point; the blessings of God that overflow in your life, they will flow to others because they are around you.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all of our days because as born-again Christians, we have a covenant with God. God’s thoughts towards us are not evil, but they are good to bring us to an expected end. When we live according to God’s will for our lives, we can know without a shadow of a doubt we will live with God forever! God knows your name. He has written it in the palm of His hand, trust God and allow Jesus to walk you through your valley experiences; when you do, you will come out with victory!