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.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s 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
– Psalm 23
A good commentator is worth their weight in gold. Like the Ethiopian eunuch I’m sure that most of us at some point have read the Scriptures and asked, ‘How can I understand unless someone explains it to me?’ (Acts 8:31)
Sometimes though the commentator or preacher just needs to get out the way and let the text speak for itself.
With this most famous of Psalms there is really very little to add. So, my advice would be to go somewhere comfy, go somewhere where you’re not going to be disturbed for a few minutes – the longer the better. And if you want to, get yourself a cup of tea or coffee, settle down, read this Psalm and just soak yourself in these words of David. Let his words penetrate deep down into your mind, into your heart.
Be like the ancients and read the Psalm out loud so there’s more chance of it sinking deep into our consciousness.
Or remember that this was a song, so listen to it set to music. Check out Keith Green’s classic version, Stuart Townend’s modern rendering or listen to it set to that great old hymn tune, Martyrdom.
Whatever you do spend some time with this Psalm, learn it off by heart. This is a Psalm that will sustain you whether you’re in the green pastures or walking in the dark, dark valleys. This is a Psalm and there is a shepherd who will restore your soul all the days of your life.