Psalm 23: The Shepherd King Becomes a Sheep to The King of
Who wrote it?
David son of Jessie, David grew up as the lesser son of Jessie, it was his job
to take care of his fathers sheep. For this reason David knew what it meant to be a
shepherd and in reciting this worship song he praises how God has been his shepherd.
This is not the only place that God has been called a shepherd, He called Himself the
shepherd of Isreal (Isaiah 40:11) and Jesus called Himself the good shepherd. (John 10)
V1, God Almighty Our Shepherd
“The Lord is my shepherd.”
Who is the Lord? Notice the all caps here, meaning Yahweh. The great I am who I am.
The one and only eternal and all powerful God, creator of the universe, judge of heaven
and earth. The one who holds all things together and spoke the world into existence.
The LORD is my shepherd. What is a shepherd? A shepherd is someone who cares for
sheep. A shepherd is responsible for protecting, guiding, feeding, and caring for the
sheep. A shepherd lives with his sheep and leads from among them.
Notice that it says “my shepherd”. King David is speaking from experience, the Lord is
personally his shepherd. If you have not personally submitted to the Lord being your
shepherd then the rest of the blessings described in this psalm dont apply to you.
“I shall not want.”
Because the LORD is His shepherd he shall not want. David found everything he needed
in the Lord, he wanted nothing else amd lacked nothing. When the Lord is our shepherd
He is sufficient. We shall not want of protection, food, guidance, cleansing, discipline,
care, and provision. He is the source of all these for His sheep.
Do you want to no longer want? Make the LORD your shepherd.
V2,Guidance and Provision
“He makes me to lie down in green pastures…”
When the Lord is your shepherd He makes you to lie down in green pastures. He
provides good food for His sheep. Sheep are very skiddish and fearful creatures; if they
feel scared or threatened they will not lie down. When we know God is our shepherd we
can feel confident that He will protect us and can lie down in safety.
Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV
“Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing
of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.”
The pastures of the Lord are green, and yet so often we do not want to lie down in His
pastures. We would rather stand up and not eat. God calls us to relax in His word, to
find abundant safety as we eat it (or read it) and yet sometimes He has to make us do
it. That might mean taking away other distractions. It might also mean chastening. Most
likely it means a constant calling to tenderly and loving lay down in His presence and
spend some time reading His Word. A shepherd would sometimes break the legs of a
disobedient sheep, then carry it on his shoulders. The shepherd would have to hand
feed it and water it, until by the time that the sheep was healed the sheep would have
such a close relationship with the shepherd that it would never leave his side.
“He leads me besides the still waters”
Sheep wont drink unless the water is still since moving water scares them. When the
Lord gives water to His sheep He does so in way that is gentle and peaceful. Before it
said He makes, and we mentioned more of the chastening of the Lord. But here we see
that He leads.
To be lead you must first follow. How do you follow? You go His Word and there you will
find instructions that will lead you to still waters.
Ephesians 5:26 NKJV
“that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,”
Not only emotionally does God want to provide provision and guidance but physically as
well. He promises to take care of our needs.
Matthew 6:25-34 NKJV
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you
will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the
body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap
nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value
than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do
you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither
toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed
like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and
tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little
faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’
or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly
Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His
righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about
tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own
More then that both of these verses are fulfilled in Christ who is both the bread of life
(our green pastures, John 6:48) and the water of life (our still waters, John 4:13-14).
The best part about the Lord being your shepherd is how He doesnt just feed you or
quench your thirst physically but spiritually as well.
“He restores my soul”
The word there literally means to return back. A good shepherd goes after a lost sheep
and brings it back. Metaphorically it refers to how God can convert the soul, to bring
it back to Himself and repair and restore it. God as our shepherd restores our soul and
repairs it, bringing us back to Himself.
“He leads me in the path of righteousness”
After restoring our lost souls the Good Shepherd begins to lead us in the right path. Just
as a shepherd leads his sheep in right and straight paths so does God lead His sheep. He
makes us to walk in a path that is right, and altogether different than the one we were
lost on before.
“For His name’s sake”
God does this for the sake of His name, or in other words simply for the sake of who He
is. We ask why and says because I am the Good Shepherd. It is part of His nature.
V4, Protection and Discipline
“Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for
You are with me:”
We walk through this valley called life, with death ever hovering its shadow over us.
Yet those who have the Lord as their shepherd have no need to fear death. We have no
need to fear any evil that is a result of death entering into the world, because the Lord is
with us. This too is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 NKJV
“So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then
shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O
Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the
strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord
“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Both the shepherds rod and staff were used for protection and correction. The rod could
be used to fend off wolves or it could be thrown in front of a wandering sheep to bring
it back into the flock. The staff could be used to grab a lamb and gently place it next to
its mother or it could be used to defend against predators. The use of these tools would
have brought comfort to the sheep.
God’s word is both an offensive weapon and a source of correction, both of which bring
comfort to us in the long run.
To fend off the enemy:
Ephesians 6:17 NKJV
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”
To correct us and reveal to us our hearts:
Hebrews 4:12 NKJV
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Word is our comfort:
Romans 15:4 KJV
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
V5, Overflowing Abundance in Blessing
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;”
A good shepherd would go ahead of his sheep and prepare good pasture and clear the
way of potential dangers. But I also think this speaks of a bountiful feast that the sheep
enjoys, free of worry even though it is surrounded by enemies, since its shepherd is
watching over it.
With God as our shepherd we need not fear our enemies.
Romans 8:31 KJV
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
“You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”
A good shepherd would rub oil on his sheep to protect them from catching disease or
Oil in the Bible is a picture of the Spirit of God, and for the believer in Christ who has
made the Lord their shepherd He pours out His spirit on them, so much so that they are
overflowing with it. When we are overflowing with God’s spirit it keeps us free from
walking in the flesh and protects us from sinning, not only that it overflows out of our
life and into the lives of others.
V6, Forever Our Shepherd
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;”
We do not deserve for the Lord to be like this after all, we deserve to be sheep led to
the slaughter. Yet He did that to His own son, the Lamb of God, on our behalf so that His
love shown in His goodness and mercy would follow us all the day of our lives.
What a great life to live if we make the Lord our shepherd.
“And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
The blessings of making the Lord your shepherd not only follow you the days of your life
here on earth, but they are eternal. We will finally be lead from this pasture on earth
into our home in heaven, through the sheepgate Jesus by the Good Shepherd Himself
The question now is, is the Lord Jesus Christ your shepherd?