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

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

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

4 Yea, 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.

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

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

"Adonoy is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing.

In lush pastures He makes me lie, besides tranquil waters, He leads me.

My soul, he restores, He directs me in paths of righteousness for the sake of His name.

Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table for me in the full presence of my enemies, You annointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.

(May) only good and kindness pursue me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the House of Adonoy for long days."


(I hope that the fine folks who publish the Metsudah Tehillim will forgive me for using their translation without written permission.)

The King of love my shepherd is
  Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his
  And he is mine for ever.

Where streams of living water flow
  My ransomed soul he leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow
  With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
  But yet in love he sought me,
And on his shoulder gently laid,
  And home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death's dark vale I fear no ill
  With thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
  Thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spread'st a table in my sight;
  Thy unction grace bestoweth;
And oh, what transport of delight
  From thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days
  They goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
  Within thy house forever.

-- Henry William Baker, 1868
One of the primary purposes of religion and belief in G-d is to make us feel empowered. This world is scary; there are a great number of factors that directly affect our lives that we cannot come close to understanding, let alone controlling. In these uncertain times, it’s especially important to realize that we do not have control, and that we can just place trust in a greater being and then move on.
G-d is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing.

The image of a flock is very important. With the hustle and bustle of modern living, it feels sometimes that we’re being herded to work, and then back home again. We have learned to accept this, and to believe that so long as we participate and move where life takes us, our needs will be provided for.

In lush pastures He makes me lie, besides tranquil waters, He leads me.

Life isn’t always “lush” and “tranquil”, however, those with faith will find the smallest amount of tranquility and utilize it. We can only find spiritual sustenance if we follow G-d.

My soul, he restores, He directs me in paths of righteousness for the sake of His name.

Life’s trials are draining sometimes, and it’s sometimes easy to lose one’s way. When there’s a choice, we should always choose the path of “righteousness.” We should do this not just for ourselves, but because we have faith that doing so is pleasing to that which protects us.

Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Protects us from what? From death, from evil, from loneliness, from fear. We must accept that we are all moments away from possible death at all times, and that our only respite is faith.

You prepare a table for me in the full presence of my enemies, You anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.

We cannot remove evil from the world. Evil is going to be ever-present, but it does not have to be all-consuming. Just by having faith, we can effectively conduct our lives despite the factors that would tend to disturb them.

(May) only good and kindness pursue me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the House of The Lord for long days."

The key word in this passage is “pursue”. When we think of that word, we think of an attacker, or more symbolically, the constant race to outrun our fears. We ask to instead be faced with “good” and “kindness” to overcome our physical and psychological enemies. The passage ends with the request for protection, like a parent protects a child. We ask to be allowed not just to survive, but also to live in happiness, to “dwell”.

Every time I hear or read this passage, I am reminded of my weakness. I live in a very dangerous city; it’s very possible that I could be struck by a stray bullet and die at any time. I could be hit by a car while crossing the street. I could contract a rare illness. I could be a victim of a terrorist attack.

It’s up to each of us. We can choose to let these truths rule our lives, or we can choose to have faith. We can let the chaos and evil of the outside world spread to us, or we can live in a world of (at least) internal peace.

"The Lord is my shepherd;
       I lack nothing."

A terser version of the initial lines, brought to us by the New JPS Translation. Sure, it only loses a shall, but doesn't that get you right in the nothing?

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Psalms
Book: Psalms
Chapter: 23

Overview:
Confidence in God's Grace and care.
- "The Lord is my Shepherd." In these words, the believer is
taught to express his satisfaction in the care of the great
Pastor of the universe, the Redeemer and Preserver of men. With
joy he reflects that he has a Shepherd, and that Shepherd is
Jehovah. A flock of Sheep, gentle and harmless, feeding in
verdant pastures, under the care of a skilful, watchful, and
tender Shepherd, forms an emblem of believers brought back to
the Shepherd of their souls. The greatest abundance is but a dry
pasture to a wicked Man, who relishes in it only what pleases
the senses; but to a godly Man, who By Faith tastes the Goodness
of God in all his enjoyments, though he has but little of the
world, it is a green pasture. The Lord gives quiet and
Contentment in the mind, whatever the Lot is. Are we blessed
with the green pastures of the ordinances, let us not think it
enough to pass through them, but let us abide in them. The
consolations of the Holy Spirit are the still waters By which
the saints are led; the streams which flow from the Fountain of
living waters. Those only are led By the still waters of
comfort, who walk in the paths of Righteousness. The way of duty
is the truly pleasant way. The work of Righteousness in peace.
In these paths we cannot walk, unless God lead us into them,
and lead us On in them. Discontent and distrust proceed from
unbelief; an unsteady walk is the consequence: let us then
simply trust our Shepherd's care, and hearken to his voice. The
Valley of the Shadow of Death may denote the most severe and
terrible affliction, or dark Dispensation of Providence, that
the psalmist ever could come under. Between the part of the
flock On Earth and that which is gone to Heaven, Death lies like
a dark Valley that must be passed in going from one to the
other. But even in this there are words which lessen the terror.
It is but the Shadow of Death: the Shadow of a Serpent will not
sting, nor the Shadow of a Sword kill. It is a Valley, Deep
indeed, and dark, and miry; but valleys are often fruitful, and
So is Death itself fruitful of comforts to God's people. It is a
walk through it: they shall not be lost in this Valley, but get
safe to the mountain On the other side. Death is a King of
terrors, but not to the Sheep of Christ. When they come to die,
God will rebuke the enemy; he will guide them with his rod, and
sustain them with his staff. There is enough in the Gospel to
comfort the saints when dying, and underneath them are the
Everlasting arms. The Lord's people Feast at his table, upon the
provisions of his Love. Satan and wicked men are not able to
destroy their comforts, while they are anointed with the Holy
Spirit, and Drink of the Cup of Salvation which is ever full.
Past experience teaches believers to trust that the Goodness and
Mercy of God will follow them all the days of their lives, and
it is their desire and determination, to seek their happiness in
the service of God here, and they Hope to enjoy his Love for
ever in Heaven. While here, the Lord can make any situation
pleasant, By the anointing of his Spirit and the joys of his
Salvation. But those that would be satisfied with the blessings
of his House, must keep close to the duties of it.

When I'm Walking the Streets (Psalm 23)

 

1) Since the Lord is My Shepherd I rest in His Grace,

He gives me His peace as I go place to place.

 

2) As I walk through this life where none seem to care,

He leads me to pastures and His love blossoms there.

 

Through His love and His peace I enter my dreams,

Where the truth of His Word washes like peaceful streams.

 

3) Through His sleep and His peace I wake up at length,

And by the food of His Word I regain all my strength.

 

4) When I walk thru the 'hood I know You are in me,

In the darkest night You are there for all to see.

I am guided in all my steps by the Word of life,

Through answered prayer I'm given peace from strife.

 

5) Everyday You provide mercies afresh from the windows of Heaven,

All those who trouble me, and despise You see the blessings I'm given.

Morning by Morning You douse me afresh with your Spirit,

Even in my fleshly wants You have provided all that really matters.

Eternal life in You.

 

6) Your most faithful love endlessly pursues me,

It chases me down until I can see.

All of my days are nothing without you.

 

Lord Your pursuit was worth every moment,

You are my shelter and my refuge.

 

Not a moment was lost, not a second wasted each day,

For I have been chastened, and You have provided the way.

 

I will rest in your Grace, and live as a Captive of your Presence.

 

Forever.

 

The above rewriting of the 23rd Psalm came about when my Mum asked me to write a version of the 23rd Psalm based on my tough times of living on the streets. (I currently live on the couch of a Brother in Christ). Right now while not dealing with my multiple headed job search, I am doing the Work God prepared for me to do in advance as an Ambassador for the Kingdom of Heaven. I hope that this verse has been of blessing to you. 

Ross

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