Psalm 23 (April 26, 2011)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads 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 scup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Green Pastures and Still Waters

We find David, in the second verse of this Psalm recounting the goodness of God in leading him to places of nourishment (green pastures) and refreshment (still waters). He comes to explain the specific ways that God provides for his people as their shepherd in the first verse here in the second.

Green Pastures of Scripture

The green pastures that the believer in God rests in is clearly the Scriptures that God has given to nourish our souls. Pastors and teachers are called by God to lead his people into the green pastures of his Word, where they will find nourishment for their souls:

Under-shepherds (cf. Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2) are expected to feed the flock (Ezek. 34:1-10; John 21:15-17) as well. Food for the soul is the Word of God (Heb. 5:12-14; 1 Peter 2:2). –Bible Knowledge Commentary.

This has to do with finding rest in the Word of God. The ‘green pastures’ represent food to the sheep. The lying down represents leisure or time. By the grace of the Lord, then, his people spend time meditating on the food which he has prepared for them, which is the Word of God.

We can go further and say that the Lord provides a green pasture for his sheep every time the Word of God is truly preached. This challenges all who know the Lord to prize biblical preaching heartily. And it soundly rebukes all those ‘preachers’ who lead their people away from the green grass the Lord has provided in his Word to the brown, withered grass of human wisdom. -Roger Ellsworth

Still Waters of Spiritual Refreshment

Sheep don’t drink from rushing water. It scares them. They drink from still water and they find their strength returning. Our shepherd leads us to waters that are cool and still to refresh our souls. Where do we find such refreshment?

Are we not refreshed when we contemplate the greatness of our God? Do we not find it when we ponder his glorious plan of salvation in which he placed his love on us before time, appointed his Son to be our Redeemer, sent him in the fullness of time and accepted on our behalf his sinless life and atoning death? Are we not refreshed by pondering Christ’s ongoing intercession for us? Are we not rejuvenated by calling to mind his promise to come again and receive us unto himself into eternal glory? –Roger Ellsworth

All of these wonderful ideas are found in the Scriptures. Again, we come to the Bible to find refreshment in God. We don’t come to the Bible for the Bible’s sake. We come to the Bible because we find rest, nourishment, refreshment and strength in the transformation of our souls in the presence of the chief-shepherd, our Lord Jesus, who has saved us and walks with us, even now. Give thanks to God this day that the Scriptures are God’s tools to feed and nourish you, his sheep.

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