The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters; 3He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
This is certainly the best known and most often quoted of the psalms and is rich in both imagery and meaning. My earliest recollection of this psalm was singing a version of this when I was a choir boy in my hometown of Paisley, Scotland at about eight years old as part of the Paisley Abbey Boys Choir. The abbey was a former Roman Catholic church that had been turned over to the Scottish Presbyterian church during Reformation and was still quite “high church” even still. The echoing of our music in the chancel gave a very special almost ethereal quality to our singing. I loved this song so much that my parents had me record it in on an old 45 rpm 7 inch single at our local record store.
As I reflect back on those days I can see that God has indeed guided me along the way with his rod and staff and during dark times through loss of family and friends, his presence in my life comforted me and helped restore my soul. The table of my life so far has been a banquet of blessings that God has laid out for me and he has surely anointed my head with his love. I trust in the psalm that his goodness and mercy shall indeed follow me all the days of my life and I know that I shall indeed dwell in his house forever.
Lord Jesus, you are our good shepherd. Hear us now as we pray Psalm 23 and let us hear the reassuring words anew and have our faith refreshed. Amen.