Reading through the Bible together
Psalm 23 is the most familiar psalm of all. Its words and images sweep over us with the certainty that we are not alone, that our Shepherd is always with us. In fact, our Shepherd is the central theme. On at least thirteen instances throughout this psalm, it makes reference to our Shepherd. “He makes me… He leads me… He guides me… You are with me… Your rod and Your staff… I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Over and over again.
This psalm makes three affirmations about our Shepherd … and us. First it says that we do not have needs that our Shepherd cannot fill. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1, NRSV). Whatever challenge or quandary we face, the answer to our difficulty is found in our Shepherd.
Second, the psalm says, we do not walk through valleys where He does not come. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4, NRSV). Simply put, whatever you face today, you don’t face it alone. There is no valley where Shepherd doesn’t go with you.
And finally, the psalm says, we do not face a future without His presence. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6, TNIV). The good news of the gospel offers us, through the grace of Jesus, the promise of eternity in His presence. That promise can sustain us through the darkness of separation.
We don’t have needs that our Shepherd cannot fill.
We don’t walk through valleys where our Shepherd doesn’t come.
We don’t face the future without our Shepherd’s presence.
No wonder the psalmist says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” (Psalm 23:1, TNIV).
Loma Linda University Church