PSALM 23 REFLECTIONS
By Lori Willard
We all know Psalm 23 by heart. It is so familiar that we have a tendency of skimming through it without really thinking of each word or phrase. Here is a challenge: ask the Lord to highlight the parts of the Psalm He wants you to meditate on as you slowly and thoughtfully read through it.
The following is a glimpse of what the Lord did for my personal time.
Psalm 23 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Lord the Shepherd of His People
A Psalm of David.
23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd;
My Shepherd is the Ruler of the Universe! He is The Best of the best when it comes to shepherding! Shepherds take meticulous care of their flock – individually. I have read the book called, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller” which describes the specific care that sheep need and what the Shepherd does for His sheep. Oh! How the Lord knows my specific needs and He knows how to take care of me – personally – whether I have emotional, mental, physical or spiritual issues going on. Thank you, Lord! You take care of me so precisely!!
I shall not want.
Here lies a problem. What do I desire with relationships, things, money, etc.? Do I want to see life be different? Am I discontent? Do I whine? J Discontentment leads to discouragement. Discouragement leads to impatience. Impatience leads to refusing to trust the Lord! Oh! That’s not good! The Lord reminded me of the Israelites in a recent sermon! Hmmm…..my wants need to be held onto lightly and also given to the Lord – allowing Him to do with them as He pleases so I do not open my heart to unrest, disorder, and chaos. If I have inner-turmoil, where is the room in my heart for Him to help me grow in righteousness? If I fill my soul with wants and/or anxiety, there is little room for God to fill me. He so longs for me to dump all that so He can fill me with Himself and all He has for me! God’s abundance will wipe away all my wants!
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He provides a peaceful and protected resting place for me where there is plenty of provision. Lying down on the green grass with no cares and being protected by Our Heavenly Father brings about peaceful and contented thoughts. Pastures are a dwelling place or a place of habitation for me. I need to spend time here. Well, “here” is quietly being in His Word – meditating.
He leads me beside the still waters.
He is my guide as I am with Him by those quiet, restful waters. He shows me His will. He provides rest and calm for my soul.
3 He restores my soul;
My soul can be so in need of Your healing! I am elated You will restore me and make me into Your chosen woman of God!
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Thank you for directing me in the right and true way for Your purposes! As You direct me, I can point others to Your direction from Your Word!
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
Isn’t that fun?! I just realized that it is not the valley of death but, the SHADOW! That shadow may or may not be the end of my life. It might very well be a trial that I am going through! Shadows are a change of light – only! Nothing to fear!
I will fear no evil;
Well, there you go! No fear!!
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
I thank you, Lord that You are with me because Your Presence brings peace! I appreciate your correction and your guidance because they DO comfort me! Your comfort is so indescribable!
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
Would you look at that! God is setting up a banquet for me right in the middle of the battlefield! Reminds me of a picnic that my husband, son and I had at a local gun range! Seems strange but, again, it brings calmness to my heart knowing I can be in the midst of turmoil and also be “dining” with the King! Wow! His Word is that important for my daily life!!!
You anoint my head with oil;
Anointing in the Bible is used for blessing, protection, healing, and for certain offices of authority. What does God want to anoint me with today?
My cup runs over.
That is surely true! Do I appreciate the abundance the Lord gives me (time in His Word, time to worship, time with family, time with friends, my health and home, etc.)? Do I thank and praise Him for it? How about daily praising Him for His abundance?
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
Goodness - “The moral qualities which constitute Christian excellence; moral virtue; religion.” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)
Mercy – “It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency (mildness of temper), but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)
These characteristics will pursue me all the days of my life! The Holy Spirit has a way of using the Word to shape and mold me into the person My Heavenly Father desires!
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Thank you, Jesus, that you provided THE WAY for me to be with You in Heaven! I thank you that I do dwell with you right now; and in Eternity – so precious – beyond words on a page!
WHO AM I?
II Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
“Are you living in the past?” a friend asked me. The Lord showed me during my devotions, “If you live in the past, it makes it difficult to receive what I have for you in the present. I do have a future for you (Jeremiah 29:11), but I am in the present too. I want you also to live in the present because I have wonderful things for you in the now!”
My friend also asked me, “Who are you?” I went on to explain what I do. “No, WHO are you, not what do you DO!” It took me a few days with the Holy Spirit to realize, analyze and sift through, “Who am I?”
Well, one thing I know, I know am not a slave to sin and Satan any longer! I have been bought with a heavy price – Jesus blood (1 Peter 1:18,19) – so…I am a Child of the King and His bond-servant! I am His daughter!
I also am a wife and homemaker, mother, grandma, aunt and friend.
“Good! Do things that reflect who you are in Me with My direction! I will show you what to do and when. Seek Me daily as you are in My word for My wisdom.” – Holy Spirit to me.
I began to make a list:
Daughter of the King
As I wrote down the list, I noticed the priorities were in the order of the Lord’s importance for me. Elementary, but I needed to be reminded again. I took a page for each role and wrote down how the Lord wants me to live in each area. Do my activities, actions, attitudes reflect who I am and whose I am? Oh! How I need the Lord to direct my steps and thank God He does! (Psalm 119:133)
Remember Lot’s wife? (Genesis 19:26) Looking back is not helpful for living in the present. Thank God for the good things, and lessons of the past; but thank God, He empowers me to cut the ties with the past! I am the one who can stop His work in me in the here and now by hanging on to what lies behind; instead, I receive what the Lord has for me – right now! I look back on the finished work of Jesus, only. As I look to Jesus, (Hebrews 12) my longings will change with my cooperation and His work in me. Not that I have arrived but…I know who I am! I chose to live in the present and to anticipate all the glorious wonders He has for me – today!
So…”Who are you?”
I am…Lori Willard, Author