I remember memorizing Psalm 23 as a young child – probably the first full chapter of the Bible I was able to recite word-for-word. Sunday School teachers through those formative growing up years helped me to understand the importance of the Shepherd in my life. It made even more sense to me when I understood that the author of this Psalm was a shepherd himself – first of real sheep and then of God’s people. David understood the immense value of acknowledging the LORD as his shepherd.
Unfortunately, this has become a Psalm to be read only in times of loss, grief, or desperation. Granted, the truths of Psalm 23 are an amazing source of comfort, provision, restoration, and a promise of the LORD’s presence and care. It is important that we not miss that, or take that lightly. After all, where would we be without His Shepherding care for our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs?
We consistently praise and worship Him, for all that we need is found in our all-sufficient Shepherd, who is present with us through all our dark valleys of fear, unknowns and potential dangers.
But we don’t want to miss the everyday truth and reality of this Psalm when life is experienced in all its fullness – each time and every season our cup runs over. Just imagine this picture; we sit as honored guests at His banquet feast, fully realizing that there are enemies that would rob us of the true contentment, peace, and joy of these occasions. We are assured while dining at that table of the ever-present Shepherd, that His love will always be steadfast and loyal. Add to this, the great hope and anticipation of abiding with the Shepherd forever.
Every day, whether spent in the valley of fear or at the table of plenty, we have the opportunity to experience His presence. Our Shepherd leads, restores, and provides the needed resources to comfort us. Our Host affirms and celebrates our presence at His table of bounty and blessing – assuring us of His loyal love for every day of our lives.
Certainly, there is fear in the unknown, and the potential of danger. And, there is satisfaction in affirmation, and the potential of self-sufficiency. Both days, every day – the LORD is my Shepherd.