Psalm 23 is one of the most memorised chapters in the Bible. It’s a Psalm about contentment, submission and a special relationship with God. It makes us realise, of how dependent we are on God, and that He is Somebody on whom we can trust completely.
1. A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Sheep stays with their shepherd, trust in him and depends on him every day to provide for all their needs. A sheep never feels the need to overeat, out of fear that tomorrow might bring a shortage of food. The shepherd searches day after day for the best pastures for his herd. In the evening, it’s the shepherd’s duty to ensure that everything is in order, so that the sheep can have a peaceful sleep.
It’s a difficult task to get the sheep to lie down. One after another, the sheep are examined to make sure that everything is in order, and then prepared for the nights rest.
First, the shepherd will feel the sheep’s stomach to ensure that he has had enough to eat. If the sheep didn’t eat enough, he will cry the whole night. Then the shepherd will feel the sheep’s nose. A wet nose indicates that the sheep has had enough to drink, if not, the shepherd will take water from his own supply so that he can enjoy a peaceful rest.
Sheep also have the problem of parasites and ticks in their noses, from standing head down the whole day, while feeding. This makes them itch, and their eyes water. Every night the shepherd will take out a white cloth and wipe their eyes and clean their noses.
Truth of Life:
God looks after our physical and spiritual needs. With the same amount of care that the shepherd looks after his herd, God also cleans us of wrong things we allow in our lives on a daily basis.
2. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
Sheep needs to feel safe before they can come to rest. They normally sleep in a sheep-pen without a gate. The shepherd sleeps in the doorway, and is thus the “door”. The sheep only feels safe if he sleeps there with them, because they know, that no danger will get past him.
Truth of Life:
We can know that we’re safe when God is with us. He protects us, and will not, like a mercenary, who is only there on a temporary basis, run away when trouble comes.
3. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Sheep are very scared of running water. They’re even scared of the sound of running water and will run away when they hear water. There is a very good reason for this. The best part of their wool is between their front legs and their chins. When they stoop down to drink water, this part absorbs the water. It can get so heavy that their weak front legs can give in, which will cause them to fall forward and drown.
A good shepherd knows exactly what scares his herd. For this reason, he will dam off a portion of the water for his sheep, or he will take the water to his sheep. He will also wait until the water is calm, before he will take them to drink.
Truth of Life:
God understands our fears. He goes before us, and prepares a path for us. He brings us to places where we need to rest and regain spiritual strength.
…… to be continued.
(extracted from "Lig" by Rene Badenhorst)