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Dave Burnette's Commentary

Psalm Chapter 23

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: David, Asaph, Solomon, Heman, Ethan, Moses, and the Sons of Korah
Date Penned: (1440-586 BC)
Overview: Poetry for the Expression of Praise and Worship to God (c 1-150)
Theme: The First Book of Psalms (c 1-41)
Message: A Caring Shepherd (v 1-6)

Psalms 23 Commentary

(23:1) The Lord is Our Shepherd - In describing the Lord as a shepherd, David was writing out of his own experience; he had spent his early years caring for sheep (1 Samuel 16:10-11). Sheep are completely dependent on their shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection. The New Testament refers to Jesus as our Good Shepherd (see John 10:11; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter. 5:4). And if the lord is the Good Shepherd, we are his sheep--not frightened, passive animals, but obedient followers, wise enough to follow the one who will lead us in the right places and the right ways. This psalm does not focus on the passive qualities of sheep but on the shepherd who protects and guides them. When you recognize the Good Shepherd, follow him!

(23:2-3) Our Shepherd Guides Us - When we allow God, our Shepherd, to guide us, we have contentment and refreshment. When we choose to sin, however, we go our own way and cannot blame God for the environment we create for ourselves. Our Shepherd knows the "green pastures" and "still waters" that will restore us. We will reach these places only by following him obediently. Rebelling against the Shepherd's leading is actually rebelling against our own best interests. Remember this the next time you are tempted to go your own way rather than the Shepherd's way.

(23:4) Death - Death casts a frightening shadow over us because we are entirely helpless in its presence. We can struggle with other enemies pain, depression, disease, and injury--but our strength and courage cannot overcome death. In terms of this life, death has the final word. Only one person can walk with us through death's dark valley and bring us safely to the other side--the God of life, our Shepherd. Because life is uncertain, we should follow this Shepherd, who offers us eternal comfort and light in the darkness.

(23:5-6) God Protects - In ancient Middle Eastern culture, at a feast or banquet it was customary to anoint guests with fragrant oil. Hosts were also expected to protect their guests at all costs. God offers the protection of a host even when enemies surround us. In the final scene of this psalm, we see that believers will dwell with the Lord. God, the perfect shepherd and host, promises to guide and protect us throughout our lives and to welcome us as special guests in his house--forever.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

The Lord is My Shepherd

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the Book of Psalm with Chapter 23. Today's text shows a theme of God being a caring shepherd and dependable Guide. Knowing this truth, we can follow Him and trust Him with our lives. In applying, we see that the Lord is our Shepherd, and we can trust him with our lives no matter what we face. How about you? Do you find more than comfort in the 23rd Psalm but a blueprint for our faith in the Lord? Let us learn from our Psalm and text today that the Lord is our Shepherd, and we can place our trust in Him. 


Psalm 23

Psalm 23

 1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.