Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
The Lord the Shepherd of His People
A Psalm of David.
Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (lack).
- NEEDINESS (I shall not want)
God keeps men from “neediness”. The number for man is “six”, incomplete and unsatisfied. Needy people feel empty, unsatisfied, longing and working for something continually out of their grasp.
God wants us to know our destiny and purpose – He will fill us with dignity and meaning so that we can say “I shall not want.”
Needy people lack the direction and guidance of God who is the source of our meaning.
It is not pride to embrace the gifts and talents given to us by our creator. Pride is making more of ourselves than what God made us.
2. THE GOOD SHEPHERD (The Lord is MY Shepherd) vs. THE WORTHLESS SHEPHERD
The purpose of the evil one is to separate us from the Good Shepherd. To pick us out of the flock and to destroy us by tearing away our flesh (dignity) one ravishing bite at a time.
- “Woe to the worthless shepherd,” Zech 11:17
- “For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land … he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces.” Zech 11:16
Jesus announced He is the GOOD Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep, filling all the needs of the sheep. John 10:11.
The qualifications for being a good shepherd:
- He gives his life for the sheep.
- He does not abandon the sheep
- He cares for the sheep
- He knows the sheep
- The sheep recognize him
- John 10:11-18 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling (hired man), he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
Side Note from the above verse: Who killed Jesus? He did. He laid it down by His own decision. And who raised Jesus from the dead? He did. He said destroy (kill) this (His) temple (body) and He would raise it up again in three days.
- John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
He raised Himself from the dead because He is the third person of the Godhead and the entire Godhead had a part in His resurrection.
- THE MATHEMATICAL EQUATION CONCERNING THE FALL OF MAN
SEVEN: The sacred number “seven” is the number of completeness and perfection; abundant with NEEDY-LESS-NESS. Nothing can be added to it or taken away from it without marring it.
ONE: is the number of the Godhead; one in unity, one in purpose and one in mind. This Hebrew word is not used for counting but only used to convey unity.
Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One (‘eḥāḏ)!
One = ‘eḥāḏ h259
A numeral from H258: Properly meaning united. It also conveys being first, alike, and together.
H258: ʼâchad A primitive root meaning to unify.
“SIX” is the number of fallen man. Rev 13:18 Man tries to fill his needy soul without God, being led away by his own lusts, taking the bait of Satan.
“God’s perfectly created man (seven) who upon sinning, subtracted himself from God (Who is “One”) resulting in man (Adam) reducing himself (from a seven) to a needy man (six).
Seven – One = Six, the number of man, the number of being needy.Barbara Grover
SEVEN (Completeness) minus ONE (God of Unity) equals SIX (NEEDY MAN)
Psalm 23:2 He makes me to lie down (rest) in green pastures.
Hebrew for “pastures”: Literally, “pastures of tender grass”.
Man’s destination is the green pastures of the Garden of Eden where all man’s needs were met. By trusting in God to be our provider, we are able to rest and have peace.
Note: The color green in scripture is symbolic of “Life”. A green tree in scripture is a “tree of life”.
- Revelation 4:3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.
- Job 8:16 He grows green in the sun, And his branches spread out in his garden.
- Psalm 52:8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
- Note: “olive” is symbolic for an anointing.
For more information on olives and anointing see:
- Jeremiah 17:8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Note: “tree” is symbolic for a man, trees for men.
|SUMMARY OF SYMBOLISM:|
|Green||Full of Life|
|Pitch/Sap||Holy Spirit which Seals in Spiritual Life|
|Fruit||The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”|
He leads me beside the still waters.
Hebrew for “still waters”: Literally, “waters of rest”.
In scripture, violent waters symbolize a sea of people in chaos and turmoil. Satan heats up the rumbling, boiling waters. Satan is described as a sea monster. He is called “Leviathan”. See Job 41.
Satan causes men to fret and stew (boil).
Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul;
Sin causes the soul to deteriorate, but relying on God will restore (heal – resurrect) it. To restore is to bring it back to its original condition.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His Name’s sake.
God’s name is sacred and holy. Holy means to be “separate”. God is separated from sin.
Psalm 23:4 Yea, (even) though I (physically or spiritually) walk (I am walking) through the valley of the shadow of death,
The valley of the shadow of death is life. The valley will eventually end in death. Man has the shadow of death hanging over his head all his life.
I will fear no evil (that which can destroy me physically and spiritually or separate me from God);
“Even the night shall be light about me” Psalm 139:11
NOTE:The Valley of the Shadow of Death: Death, like a dark cloud, shadows over me as I walk through the valley of my life, waiting to swallow me alive at the end of the road.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: And yet, Jesus allowed Himself to be handed over to the evil one so that WE could be delivered.
- He knew for this reason He was born, for this reason He came into the world. John 18:37
When Jesus was arrested for his claim to be the Son of God; Satan, the serpent, symbolically twisted and coiled himself around Jesus’ head like a crown of thorns, thrusting his fangs into Jesus’ forehead unleashing all his poisonous venom. But Satan’s satisfaction was short lived.
Although death, like a sea monster, swallowed Jesus alive, it also spit him up on the beach head of eternal life, just as Jonah was swallowed by a twisting, coiled sea monster that spit him up on the shore of the gentiles.
With His death, Jesus destroyed (bruised) the serpent’s head (power). Gen 3:15
- “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” I Cor 15:55
Jesus predicted his own death many times. “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40. And you are why Jesus succumbed to it.
- “Death is an illusion. The human soul cannot be destroyed; it just changes its address.” ~Barbara Grover
- Adage: Don’t be afraid of your own shadow.
- The Hebrew word for death is also “ghost”. It is like walking in the dark amid the haunting of ghosts. Satan most surely haunts us with the ghosts of our past and the demons of our thoughts.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
- The word “valley” brings to mind something long (lasting) and low (suffering and trouble). A valley is the time in our life when our troubles seem to last forever. It is also “life” since man is born to trouble and in the end, all men die (physically) when they reach their destination at the end of the valley. However, by relying on God we are lifted up; carried on the wings of an eagle (God), able to fly over the darkness below us.
Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
Revelation 12:14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
Note: Being under the shadow of God’s wings is being under His protection. There is no protection in the Valley of Death without God. Death is everywhere whether people know it or not: it’s in the earth, the air, the water, among people, in the blood, in disasters, pandemics, war and suicide. They are all minefields of death. It is up to us to rely on God’s mercies to tell us where to step next.
Psalm 36:7 How precious is Your loving kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
Psalm 57:1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by. (Note: A Prayer for Safety from Saul when he fled from Saul into the cave. Set in music to “Do Not Destroy.”)
Matthew 23:37 [Jesus Laments over Jerusalem] “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
- The Valley of Death is not green. It is dark and full of dark principalities of the air. It is the opposite of green pastures in verse 2.
- Fearing No Evil
Being able to recognize evil is a gift from God. There is no need to fear since it alerts us to the presence of danger. When we are alerted, we react appropriately, therefore; evil has no control over us
Gavin DeBecker “The Gift of Fear”.
Mentally, Red flags warn of danger. They are subconscious reactions to anomalies in the immediate environment. While the conscious mind focuses on the immediate issue, the subconscious mind is looking for anything in the environment that doesn’t make sense or fit in its environment. When an anomaly is found, the subconscious sends a message to the conscious that something isn’t adding up alerting the conscious mind needs to redirect its attention to the anomaly.
For example: The conscious brain is like the president of the United States, when he is about to give a speech to thousands of people. He is thinking about the words, the presentation, wondering about reactions and how he should stand, where the cameras are located. He is focusing on the immediate issue. The subconscious mind however, acts like his bodyguards scanning the crowd; perhaps noticing a man on a hot day wearing a wool coat with his hands in his pocket. Something serious may be about to happen. That uneasy feeling is a red flag of fear that causes a person to act in a way of survival.
However; what one does with fear is another issue.
Fear can lead you do good or evil.
When you see someone needing help, what do you do? Do you think “This person’s afraid, I need to protect myself,” or “This person’s afraid, I’m going to help them”?
Jesus taught us to pray:
“Deliver us from the evil one.” Matt 6:13, Luke 11:4, Gal 11:4
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
The Rod keeps the sheep in line (the law) within the flock and safe. The staff indicates strength and the ability of the shepherd to protect the sheep (weapon). ~Lee Grover
The predators in the field are untamed, lawless, unpredictable and heartless. ~Barbara Grover
- He Himself will rule the nations with a rod of iron. Rev 19:15
- His rod is a scepter, a royal mace.
In the culture of the Israelites, the rod is a natural symbol of authority, as the tool used by the shepherd to correct and guide his flock.
Jesus is both the protective rod (law), and the protective staff (weapon). God’s WORD is a sword.
Revelation 19:21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse.
- A staff is also called a yoke. God’s name “El” is spelled with a yoke and an ox head as pictographs of ancient Hebrew letters. God is depicted as a strong Ox, a burden bearer, who yokes himself to man in order to carry his burdens. In the verse below it sounds like Jesus is claiming to be “El”.
Matt 11:29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
- THE TABLE
A table is a place of communion. God spreads out a feast for King David. The banquet consists of the best of offerings: Prophets, An eternal lineage of kings, a designated land, The Messiah, The Law, The Written Word – then God added more:
2 Samuel 12:7-8 Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little (if you would have asked), I also would have given you much more!
- The rich man, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, had a banquet table of fine food. He wore a royal robe of purple. He symbolizes the Jewish nation. Lazerus symbolizes the gentile nations (he ate what was thrown to the dogs and the dogs licked his sores.)
For more on this topic see: Topic: The Rich Man and Lazarus
- In the presence of my enemies:
To feast in the presence one’s enemies is a scene to behold. God is acting on our behalf. The enemies of the believers are put in the position of onlookers. Their power is gone.
This is the scene of Jesus as Kinsman redeemer. The Kinsman redeemer is the one who exacts revenge and justice, the one who corrects the injustices that have been done.
Remember the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. When Lazarus died he went to paradise. When the rich man died he went to “torments”. Like a prisoner, the rich man was powerless to do anything except watch the feast of blessings given to Lazarus.
You anoint my head with oil;
Olive oil is used for anointing kings and priests for a holy calling. It is a divine act where God acts on the behalf of the anointed to achieve His purpose.
My cup runs over.
My cup runs over: I am teeming with blessings.
Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in (return to) (remain in) (marry into) the house (genealogically family) of the Lord
yāšaḇ H3427 Dwell
To sit down (specifically as judge. in ambush, in quiet);
By Implication, to dwell, to remain;
Causatively, to settle, to marry:—(make to) abide(-ing), continue, (cause to, make to) dwell(-ing), ease self, endure, establish, × fail, habitation, haunt, (make to) inhabit(-ant), make to keep (house), lurking, × marry (-ing), (bring again to) place, remain, return, seat, set(-tle), (down-) sit(-down, still, -ting down, -ting (place) -uate), take, tarry.
Forever (or: To the end of my days, lit. For length of days).
Forever lasts a long long time.
The Following was found and copied without a writer’s name:
THE 23RD PSALM
The Lord is my Shepherd -That’s Relationship!
I shall not want – That’s Supply!
He makes me to lie down in green pastures – That’s Rest!
He leads me beside the still waters – That’s Refreshment!
He restores my soul – That’s Healing!
He leads me in the path of righteousness – That’s Guidance!
For HIS names sake – That’s Purpose!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – That’s Testing!
I will fear no evil – That’s the Peace of Protection!
For YOU are with me – That’s Faithfulness!
Your rod and Your staff they comfort me – That’s Discipline!
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies – That’s Hope!
You anoint my head with oil – That’s Consecration!
My cup runs over – That’s Abundance!
Surely goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life – That’s Blessing!
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord – That’s Foundational Family!
FOREVER – That’s Eternity!
The LORD is MY Shepherd:
* He isn’t everyone’s Shepherd, Is He yours? Sheep follow the Shepherd, obedient to His protection.
I shall not want:
* Not wanting is being free from the obsession with owning things. Man’s basic needs are fairly simple: water, food, air, shelter, warmth and belonging. It’s free of the feeling of emptiness and neediness.
He makes me lie down in green pastures:
* The natural result of being satisfied is resting.
He leads me beside the still waters:
* Still water is calmness and peace. The antithesis to calm waters is chaotic or stormy seas when there is every kind of drama.
He restores my soul:
*My soul is damaged like a wrecked car. Man can restore a car but only God can restore a soul. The soul is the location of man’s emotions, thoughts, and will.
He leads me in the path of righteousness for HIS NAMES SAKE:
*Men don’t know the way of morality because rarely are they able to predict the consequences of their immoral actions.”
Free Love leads to unwanted children, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, a lack of commitment, and irresponsibility,
Pornography creates unnatural desires abhorrent to God, tearing apart the fabric of marriage. Not everyone who watches pornography becomes a serial killer, but every serial killer watches pornography. Does what you see affect your behavior? Why do companies pay millions of dollars for a 30 second ad on the Super Bowl?
Divorce abandons children to their own resources of peer pressure resulting in gangs, criminals, and problems with respecting appropriate authority figures.
Therefore; God gives man directions of morality which results in health, order, safety, freedom, and happiness for the individual, the society, and the government.
FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE? An architect is a creator. Shouldn’t an architect care about his reputation?
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death:
This valley is not a pleasant place. It is dark, foreboding, and filled with danger. Without the Light of the Lord, life is dismal. It’s easy to see if God’s Word is a lamp to your foot steps.
I shall fear no evil.
Life is dangerous. It is full of pestilence, violence, betrayal, abandonment and rejection. It is a miracle to feel its peace.
For You are with me;
God is on your side and He fights your battles. The bullies run for cover. God has your back supernaturally.
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
It’s easy to relax when you know no matter how bad the situation is, God will fix it.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
We are honored, blessed, and given significance while our enemies can only look on. God knows how to reward His people.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
You anoint my head with oil;
There is no greater honor than to have God anoint you for His purpose. My cup runs over.
My needy heart was empty. My cup was empty; God not only filled it, but now it is running over!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
When you have given, you get. When you are merciful, you receive mercy in the day of your need.
And I will dwell in (return to) (remain in) (marry into) the house (genealogically family) of the Lord.
I have married into supernatural Royalty.