The LORD Is My Shepherd (Psalm 23)

Psalms Study Guide (Week 3)

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 19:6)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  (John 10:11)

OPENING THOUGHT

Thus far, we have discussed worship as a way of life and two reasons for worshiping God. The natural revelation of God (as displayed in creation) and the special revelation (as declared in Scripture) both guide our hearts toward worshiping the LORD. In viewing the glory and the goodness of God through nature and the Bible, we see the weight of our sin more fully, allowing us to pray alongside David for God to make our words and our thoughts acceptable to Him.

We now dive into, what is often considered, the most popular psalm throughout the history of the church. This song of David boldly declares the LORD to be our shepherd, which means that God will be faithful to care and provide for him. As much as this is a psalm of faith, it is also a psalm against fear. David is essentially proclaiming here that he should not fear enemies, death, or lacking what he needs because the LORD is faithful to guide, provide, and protect him.

Throughout history, many have turned to these words for comfort in times of difficulty. When the shadow of death looms over, they recall this psalm for solace. However, this psalm is not full of blanket promises for humanity in general; rather, only the people of God are able to truly call Him their shepherd. If God is our shepherd, we are then His sheep. We are helpless, defenseless, and not very intelligent, just like sheep. Fortunately, we have a very good Shepherd, who is faithful to care for us.

Read verse 1 and discuss the following.

  1. For being one of the most well known verses in the Bible, it is quite odd for two reasons. David calls God his shepherd, which was a less than ideal profession, and he calls himself a sheep, even though he is a king. What does this tell us about David’s relationship with God (and our relationship with Him)?

Read verses 2-3 and discuss the following.

  1. Twice David states that God leads him and once that God makes him lie down. Like a sheep to a shepherd, the king is acknowledging his utter dependence upon the LORD to lead and instruct him. Do you likewise understand your need for God’s leading? In what ways has God led you or caused you to depend upon Him recently?

Read verse 4 and discuss the following.

  1. David declares that he will not fear whenever death’s shadow falls upon him because God is with Him. The very presence of God is all the comfort that David needed. In what ways do you take comfort in God’s promise to be with us to the end of the age?

Read verse 5 and discuss the following.

  1. Banquets were the epitome of ancient provision and hospitality; however, they were not often prepared for the guest in the midst of his enemies. Still David claims that his head is anointed and his cup is full (two signs of a well made banquet). What does this verse tell us about David’s faith in the LORD?

Read verse 6 and discuss the following.

  1. David claims that goodness and mercy (or steadfast love) will follow him all the days of his life. He does not mean that they will casually follow him but that God’s goodness and love will relentless pursue him all of his life. How are we able to believe that God’s goodness and love follow us, even though we know that suffering and troubles still occur?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Read John 10 alongside Psalm 23. Make a list of connections between the two chapters, and how Jesus applies David’s statements about the LORD to Himself.
  • Consider David’s confidence in God as his shepherd. In what areas of life are you fearful? Bring them before God in prayer, acknowledging His sovereignty, protection, and provision.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s