Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through
the valley of the shadow of death,
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 goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
This is probably the greatest of all of King David’s psalms, and Jesus takes it to Himself when he says, “I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11) In so doing, Jesus offers to walk with us, behind us, and before us as a good shepherd would with his sheep. David had been a shepherd, but he could put himself in the place of the sheep: the clueless, mindless, helpless sheep. Only such a person could understand that the rod (to prod the sheep forward) and the staff (to hold the sheep back from the neck) could possibly comforting (lifesaving, actually). One more thing about sheep—they are worth more alive than dead, and as long as they are alive they keep growing wool (in Spanish, “wool” is slang for wealth).
Prayer: Dear God, like a sheep I am most often clueless, mindless, and helpless—especially when I feel that I am in control. I do not like to be prodded forward or held back, but I pray for the “comfort” of your rod and staff to keep me on your way. Thank you that I am worth more to you alive than dead! In the name of that Good Shepherd who gave His life for us sheep. Amen.