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The Twenty-Third Psalm

Comments by Mary Cage

The Lord is My Shepherd

I am a sheep among His many sheep. When He speaks I listen, for all of His sheep hear His voice, and a stranger they will not listen to or follow. His voice comes from His Word and from His Holy Spirit breathing life upon His Word.

I shall not want.

My Shepherd is my Provider.  As I obey Him, I know that He provides everything that I need with tender loving care.  I trust in Him.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;

He alone can bring me to the green (ever blooming) and fertile place of spiritual abundance and there cause me to lie down and rest from my labors.  His green pastures are places of peace and contentment.

He leadeth me beside the still waters;

The living water He provides is not troubled by worry and insecurity, but is peaceful and still.

He restoreth my soul;

Before the Good Shepherd became my Lord and Saviour, my soul was lost, cast about, stormy and confused.  In His green pastures where I feed and beside His still waters where I rest, I become new and whole.

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake;

I belong to the Good Shepherd, so I follow Him along the paths that He would take me.  He leads me into Truth, goodness and purity.  I eat only the spiritual food He provides; I go only where He goes; and rest only where he rests.

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

The paths He leads me along are not always straight or easy. There are sometimes brambles and briars, forests, rocks to climb over, mountains to traverse and deep, dark valleys to go through. Such are the ways of life in the world.

I will fear no evil;

I know the Good Shepherd loves me and cares for me no matter what I may face; and in that is the peace that passes understanding.

For thou art with me;

He has assured me that He will never leave me or forsake me. If need be, He will go out to seek and find the one lost sheep that has strayed from the fold.  And He always finds and restores those that are His.

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

By His Word and Spirit, He wards off the ravening wolves that would consume me.  And He corrects me and keeps me on the right path so that I cannot long stray into evil paths and ways.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;

There are enemies of my soul all around me; but in the midst of trials and tribulations, I feed on the provision of My Shepherd.

Thou anointest my head with oil;

He binds up my wounds gently, and heals the hurts of life.

My cup runneth over.

He gives me Living Water in abundance -- more even than I can ever drink.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

The Good Shepherd leads me from above, and provides a rear guard of goodness (grace) and mercy to keep me from straying off the path. 

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

I am His, and I will always be His.  He is the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient Good Shepherd; He is God the Son.  All power is His. I can rest and trust in Him forever.

Several relevant Scripture passages:

John 10 Christ is the Good Shepherd.
John 4:10 Christ brings Living Water to the soul.
Phil. 4:6,7 He provides the peace that passes understanding.
Luke 15:4
Luke 19:10
Christ goes out to seek and save the one that is lost.
Col. 2:4-3:3 We are complete in Christ.
1 John 5:12 In the Son (Christ) is life; outside Him there is no life.
1 Ti. 6:11 Those who are Christ's follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
John 16:33 Life in the world holds tribulation; but Christ  has overcome the world.
Matt. 6:25, 26 Christ is our Provider, even of material sustenance.
1 John 4:18 Christ is Love; perfect Love; and in Love there is no fear.
Heb. 13:5 Christ never leaves nor forsakes those that are His.
Luke 4:18 Christ heals our inner hurts and binds up our spiritual wounds.
Heb. 12:5-13 Christ chastises and corrects those who are His.
Heb. 4:16 Mercy and grace are found in Christ.