taken from the August 1998 newsletter of
Deeper Life Ministries
Psalm 23 has probably been the all-time favorite of God's people through the centuries. There is something in the ring of the words that calms the spirit and restores the soul. It is a good psalm to meditate on when we are needing direction, when we are facing problems, or when we are feeling overwhelmed with life's responsibilities.
The following expanded version, although it interrupts the familiar wording, hopefully will inspire you:
"The Lord..." The Almighty, the One who knows everything about me, my Maker and Redeemer, my constant Guide, the Omnipotent!
"...is my shepherd." Knows me by name, is committed to the care of my soul, watches over my life, maps out the direction I should take, and personally leads me.
"I shall not want." In His care, I will have not one area of shortage, not one moment of want, not one need left unfulfilled, so that at every moment, in every situation, I can be absolutely content.
"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." My Lord knows when I am weary, when I need sleep, when my strength is half gone, almost gone, gone. And if I follow His leading, He will provide the exact supply for my hunger, the quiet meadow of refreshment, the nourishing soul-food I need.
"He leadeth me beside the still waters." My Lord will know when my mouth is parched, when I am panting because the pressures seem too great; and He will provide for me something still and cool and spiritually invigorating, something that will satisfy me as fully as a cool spring of water on a sweltering summer day.
"He restoreth my soul." And thus as I follow my Lord's leading, my inner being is abundantly refreshed, my strength is restored, my nerves are calmed, my perspective is back in focus, my attitudes are readjusted, my spirit is rested, and I can laugh again...and pray.
"He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness..." My Lord then shows me what He wants me to do, points out my duty, gives me a specific assignment to do today that is clearly His will. I know it is right.
"...for his name's sake." What I am asked to do is exactly what Jesus would do if He were in my shoes today. Under my heavenly Father's orders, I can cheerfully serve my family, my neighbors, and my church. Whether I give a sermon, a cup of cool water, or a word of encouragement, I can give it "in His name."
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." When I walk in danger, when sickness or trouble shadow my life, or when death seems closer, or even dearer, to me than life....
"...I will fear no evil: for thou art with me." I will rest my entire soul upon this one thought--that the LORD of heaven and earth is with me. I will anchor my life on that truth. No evil, no trouble, no problem, no loss, no death, no devil, absolutely nothing, is bigger than my GOD!
"Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." The rod of my Lord is sufficient to deal with any enemy without, and the staff of my Shepherd is ready to deal with any wayward tendency in me, so that by them both I find the security and comfort of my heavenly Father's watchful care.
"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." I have such security in my Lord that in the face of my fiercest foes, in the middle of my worst storms, I will sit at the banqueting table of my Lord's Presence.
"Thou anointest my head with oil." In my Lord's care, I will find the soothing ointment of healing, the refreshing oil of joy, and the anointing baptism of power!
"My cup runneth over." In my heart is a holy Fountain, springing up with rivers of living water that no cup could possibly hold. Hallelujah!
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." As I follow my Shepherd, I will be able to look back on every step of my life as a story about His goodness, a living history of heaven's mercy--sparing me from the misery of my ways and giving me the blessedness of His ways.
"And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." My Shepherd has an eternal fold. When I cross the threshold into His house, I will be at home. I will never, never, no never want to be anywhere else!
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