Psalm 23:1-2 ESV A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
This is possibly one of King David’s most beloved and well-known Psalms. These first few verses being painting a picture of God’s leadership as the Good Shepherd for us, His sheep.
David begins with a statement and a conclusion. God is my shepherd, therefore, I shall not be in want of anything. David was a shepherd by trade. He knew what it was like to lead a flock of sheep throughout the wilderness. If the shepherd isn’t good, the sheep will be in want of things: comfort, safety, food, etc. With a perfect shepherd, the sheep will be provided for. There will be nothing they lack, nothing they are in want of.
The second verse is just as telling. It’s a description of what God does for us, as our Good Shepherd. He makes us lie down in green pastures. This is significant because in the Middle East, it’s not like there are a lot of overgrown golf courses. There are a lot of mountains and dry plains. A green pasture is one that is well watered. It nourishes the flock. It satiates their appetites, and it gives them a refreshing place to lie. Although it says that He makes us lie down, I don’t think it actually implies that He forces us to relax. We will automatically relax. We want to lie down. Isn’t a green pasture much better than a dry, rocky bed?
Also, He brings us to still waters. Rushing waters can be overwhelming and not comforting for sheep. It’s hard to drink from a fire hose. The waters that God leads His sheep to are easy to drink from. He refreshes us, and doesn’t frighten us. David was a shepherd himself, so he knew firsthand the importance of good shepherding, leading sheep to green pastures and quiet waters. He also understood how often he failed, and how seldom (never!) God fails. In that way, I need to understand that God has already provided for me everything I need. He’s given me rest, nourishment, refreshment, and peace. He continually gives me His Spirit to empower me and lead me in the ways of righteousness.
Today, I will rest in the knowledge that God is the good shepherd who has given me everything I need, and He will continue to. I need to obey Philippians 4:6 and 7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”