Rev Renewal – Psalm 23

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1)

The psalmist makes a bold statement to begin Psalm 23.  A statement that affirms there is nothing they are needing.  A statement that reflects they have the necessities to live.  However, this statement does not specifically display the emotion of the psalmist.  Is the psalmist truly satisfied and content?  Does the Psalmist still desire to have more?

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:2-3)

As the psalmist continues, he again provides truths about what the Lord provides for them.  These include the green pastures, the still waters, and restoration of their soul.  Yet, it does not provide any insight into the emotion of the psalmist.  Does the psalmist enjoy the green pastures and still waters?  Do they desire to have “greener pastures” elsewhere?

“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” (Psalm 23:4)

In this verse, the bold statement is that even in darkness or the shadow of death, they will not be afraid. The psalmist declares that the Lord is with them and they are comforted.  There is still not insight though to the deeper emotions of the psalmist.  Do they wish to be without harm and danger?  Does the presence of the Lord remove the darkened moments of life?

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5)

We continue to see what the Lord provides for the psalmist – a table prepared that surrounds the psalmist enemies, their head anointed with oil, and an overflowing cup.  Is the psalmist delighted to have enemies?   Does the psalmist experience a sense of healing from the anointing?  We are unsure.

“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6)

To conclude, the psalmist affirms that goodness and love will follow them and that they will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Even so, the psalmist does not give any detail about their true emotions.  Do they experience ongoing joy without any frustration or pain?  Do they encounter any feelings of pride or envy?

The words of Psalm 23 have been recited numerous times over the course of time since they first were wrote by the psalmist, in which it has been attributed to David.  The message from this psalm for many is the truth that the Lord does provide us with abundance, the ability to experience peace and restoration of our souls, the comfort and strength the face danger and harm, and the promise of the ongoing presence of the Lord.  On the other hand, as I have reflected, the emotions and perhaps selfish desires of the psalmist are not fully displayed, and I believe were still present in some form.  The same is true for us. Life will continue to bring moments of frustration, pain, struggle, and a selfish desire to want more.  May we not discard those feelings or moments.  Instead, may we cling to the promises we know to be true about what the Lord will provide.  May we trust that no matter the uncertainty or struggle, the Lord has provided us outlets to experience abundance, quietness and rest, strength, and the awareness that the Lord is with us until the very end.

Pastor Arlyn ><>