My Shepherd – A reflection on Psalm 23

“A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul.”

Psalm 23 is a favourite for many Christians. It’s a Psalm which people like to memorise and recall during troubling days. Children’s Bibles will often include this Psalm as THE PSALM for the kids to learn.

Psalm 23 is popular for good reason. It speaks of God’s care, his guiding, and leading during time of trouble.

Our world, both global and local, has been hugely changed by this pandemic. We see Covid statistics flashing before us every day. Sickness and death are constantly being recalled before our eyes for the first time in generations. Troubles are seen in the economic sphere with governments taking on huge loans that’ll take decades to repay. Major companies have had massive losses, transport prices are skyrocketing. Many local businesses face struggles as well. The troubles flow on into the lives of ordinary people. It’s hard to pay the rent when you don’t have a job.

Our world is seeing all manner of troubles. And this is true of each of us as well. Perhaps you’ve sat with someone at the bedside in hospital. Maybe you’ve walked with a friend through some devastating news. Perhaps you’ve found yourselves in what this Psalm calls a ‘dark valley.’

The question we all must grapple with is this: Is there a way through our troubles? Is there help? Can anyone hear our cries? Is there someone able to lead us and care for us, especially when troubles overwhelm and surround us?

Psalm 23 is a favourite Psalm for these moments. One to hold on to, to memorise, to remember, because of what it says about the God of this Psalm.

The good news is that the LORD is our, my, Shepherd. Our Shepherd provides, guides and protects, and blesses his sheep forever. We know this to be true, because of our Good Shepherd Jesus who lays down his own life for his sheep.

He guides me along the right paths for his names sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

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