Satisfaction, significance, and security are all abundantly supplied to the believer by God, as indicated by the imagery of the hospitable host. They are especially consoling in times of distress. These characteristics of God are linked to His covenant with Israel. Most significantly, David is not a guest for a few days at the home of his gracious host; he is a permanent part of this household.
Although he desired to build the temple, this task was left to his son Solomon 2 Sam. David may have been looking forward to that future day in eternity when he could fellowship with God in the temple. It may well be, however, that David is simply looking forward to continued fellowship and communion with God as he has already experienced it in his life. The blessings and the calmness of soul which David experienced in his life and expressed in this psalm would be a delight to anyone, but how can we be assured of them in our lives? The answer is almost too simple to believe: in order to enjoy the benefits of the care of the Good Shepherd we must be one of His sheep.
They understand that He has laid down His life for them John They enter into eternal blessings through Jesus Christ who is the door to the sheepfold John ff. It is amazing to ponder that in order to become the Good Shepherd our Lord first had to become a sheep—the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world cf.
John Christian comfort is only for Christians. David never lost his sense of individual pastoral care from the hand of his Shepherd. Two doubts tend to make us question this kind of personal and individual care. The first is tribulation. Some seem to feel that God cares about them only when everything is going well.
In sheep-like terms, they think God is with them only when they are lying in grassy meadows alongside restful waters. However, once they find themselves in a dark valley they question the presence and the pastoral care of their Shepherd. God cares for us individually, but He also cares for us through others. When human shepherds fail us, we may begin to question the concern of the Good Shepherd. Let us learn that God Himself never fails us, never leaves us, and never will forsake us.
While this message does not dwell on this area of application, allow me to suggest that Psalm 23 not only describes the Good Shepherd, but also good shepherding. Let us see this psalm not only as a superb text on the Shepherd, but as a model for all shepherds. That which makes God a Good Shepherd also serves as a model to us of proper shepherding. In conclusion, let me note also the providence of God in the life of David. That seems to be the inference of his older brothers who were off doing more important work such as fighting wars cf.
It readied him for battle cf. The seemingly insignificant tasks and experiences of our lives are of great importance. Let us do them well. Romantic as that thought may seem, it would be far more in keeping with what the Scriptures reveal elsewhere concerning him, when they tell us that after his anointing the spirit of God came upon him I Sam. Details found in v. In verses Yahweh is portrayed as the Good Shepherd who cares for his flock; in verses 5 and 6, on the other hand, Yahweh is the Host who offers hospitality to a guest and protects him from enemies. He is the protector of the sheep as they wander in search of grazing land.
Yet he is also the protector of the traveler who finds hospitality in his tent from the dangers and enemies of the desert. Anderson, Psalms Grand Rapids: Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
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Anderson, I, p. I fear that Leupold does the same in his interpretation of verse 5. In like manner shepherds are still known to carry a little flask of oil to anoint the scratched face of the sheep that was obliged to seek its food among thorns and brambles.
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One must allow for deeper values and not insist on purely mechanical procedures. It may picture the straying sheep brought back, as in Isaiah , or perhaps Psalm Heb.
In our context the two senses evidently interact, so that the retrieving or reviving of the sheep pictures the deeper renewal of the man of God, spiritually perverse or ailing as he may be. For paths cp. Such a translation here cf.
But although darkness is the leading thought in most of the Old Testament contexts, death is dominant in a few, including in my view the present verse. In times of need, companionship is good; and He is armed. It could occasionally be tipped with metal or studded with nails cf.
POEM PSALMS: A Lay Persons Interpretation of the Psalms
Staff was probably a wooden rod, longer than the club, which could be used as a support. The Apostle Paul expanded this idea in Romans 1. Paul told us that because this testimony had gone out through all creation, all men are without excuse for rejecting the God who gave us such clear and beautiful evidence of His power and wisdom.
He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun : David poetically described the nighttime sky as a dwelling place — a tent, a tabernacle — for the sun. Like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race : The sun makes its course through the sky with strength and joy, like a man in his prime or an athlete running a race. Its rising is from one end of heaven…there is nothing hidden from its heat : The sun covers the whole sky, and its strength extends everywhere.
It is a wonderful example of the glory of God declared in the heavens. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. The law of the Lord : Here David abruptly shifted from praising the God who reveals Himself in creation to praising the same God for revealing Himself in His word.
One reason the word is a greater revelation than creation is that it tells us much more about God. It reveals Him as the covenant God of love, as reflected in the structure of this psalm. In Psalm , God is referred to as El — the most generic word for God in the Hebrew language even more generic than the commonly used Elohim.
Yet here at Psalm , God is referred to as Yahweh the Lord , the God of covenant love and faithfulness to His people. David then explains seven glorious statements about the word of God: how wonderful and effective it is. As is common in other places — especially the great Psalm — David used a variety of expressions to refer to the word of God law , testimony , statutes , commandment , fear , judgments.
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul : The word of God is perfect. It gives us all things that pertain to life and godliness 2 Peter While it does not give us all knowledge, all the knowledge it gives is true and perfect. There is power in the reading and hearing and studying of the word of God that goes beyond intellectual benefit; it actually changes for the better — converts — the soul. The Hebrew word translated here as converting is perhaps better understood as reviving — that is, bringing new life to the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple : The word of God is sure , being reliable and certain.
Because it is so sure and certain, it does the work of making wise the simple. Many people of simple education or upbringing have tremendous wisdom unto life and godliness because they study and trust the sure word of the Lord. They are morally right , they are practically right , and they are universally right. They are right because it is the revelation of a God who is holy, true, and always right. The one who knows the word of God and the God of the word rejoices in this. He finds joy, actual pleasure in the truth of God and relationship with God revealed in His word.
A pure God can communicate no other way. We never have to worry about the word of God leading people into sin or impurity; if it seems to have happened, it is evidence that the scriptures have been twisted 2 Peter It will bring the cheer and comfort and knowledge and confidence that a light in the midst of darkness brings. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever : The word of God is clean , and therefore is enduring forever.
It will never fade or corrode, diminishing because of impurity. It is clean and it makes clean. The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether : David summarized this beautiful chain of seven pearls, each describing some aspect of the word of God.
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They organise the thought itself, and enable the segments to work dramatically, rather like the lines of a poem. Psalm 23's metaphorical language has produced many interpretations. One of the most ingenious I've come across claims that the whole is a pastoral metaphor: the "table" refers to the raised boards where fodder was spread for the sheep, the anointing alludes to the shepherd's use of oil to heal the animals' wounds.
The pastoral one concludes in verse four, when the speaker is conducted through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, helped by the shepherd's rod and staff.
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After that, imperial and somewhat militaristic symbolism replaces pastoral. The shepherd becomes the King — describing the course of David's own career — and the concerns are no longer earthly and pastoral but eschatological. Notice the abrupt change from third person "he" to vocative "thou" in the middle of verse four, the point at which the speaker is most in need of comfort.
In the slow-gathering crescendo of that verse, the double possessive "the valley of the shadow of…" , normally so clumsy-sounding in English, plays a major role. The stroke of genius, though, is in four words: "my cup runneth over".
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As for verse six, perhaps the Tyndale version is more artistically satisfying, as well as more heart-felt: by giving us "thy loving-kindness and mercy" for a generalised "goodness and mercy," the pastoral imagery of the opening, in all its quiet tenderness, is evoked once more. Psalm 23 Metrical Version by Thomas Sternhold, 1 My Shepherd is the living Lord, nothing therefore I need: In pastures fair, near pleasant streams, he setteth me to feed.
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