Psalm 23New International Version (NIV)
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will 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 your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
What Kind of Literature is This? – Poetry. Psalms are prayers and songs set to music
What did it mean when it was written? That culture would have been familiar with sheep and the role of the shepherd . They would have understood the shepherding language in the first four verses. They would have also noted the shift in verse 5 to the palace banquet scene. Because this psalm is associated with David, they would have recognized it scenes from his life.
Who am I in the story? Obviously not shepherd. I am one of the sheep in verses 1-4, who needs provision, guidance, rest, and assurance. In verses 5-6, I am the honored guest of the King, who has invited to a banquet. He invites me to dwell with him forever, so I no longer live in fear or anxiety.
Where is God in the Story? God is the shepherd who provides, leads, and protects. He is the King who honors me at a banquet and who invites me to live in His Kingdom. always.
Why is this in the Bible? To remind me to let God lead me; and to remind me to stay in His presence.
What is God saying to me? If I am going through a tough time, He is telling me I am not alone. If I am feeling devalued, He is telling me I am his prized participant in the Kingdom.