KEY THOT: To enjoy all the blessings stated in David's psalm, we have to remember what God says of him: "I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will." We cannot just "claim" scriptural promises without also abiding by scriptural pre-conditions. The promises and blessings of the Shepherd Psalm belong to David who is a man pursuing the heart of God and the will of God. If we are pursuing the things of this world and bowing down to the idols of power, sex and money, it would be presumptuous to assume that we will experience all the blessings stated in Psalm 23. Once we have decided that we will will become the person who is "after God's heart" and committed to "do all His will", then we can affirm what David declares about God's blessings in his life with confidence.
So here are some of the blessings of having God as our Shepherd:
- "I shall not want": There will be no lack in our lives. God will supply our every need, and sometime even our want. God's promise of abundant life meant more than just enough for subsistence--he meant to bless us with overflowing life that is "far more abundantly than all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). David experienced God's overflowing abundance in his lifetime, never lacking in anything.
- "lies down in green pastures": He fills our physical and spiritual hunger. If the Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not experience hunger and famine of body and soul. There will also be enough and we will not starve in our spirit, soul, or body. We will always be filled with God's sustaining word of life, to transform us from glory to glory.
- "beside still waters": Water is another important ingredient of life. It quenches our thirst and will sustain us. Here water may be a metaphor for the Holy Spirit. Believers like David, pursuing God's heart and doing His will shall not run dry. When Christians speak of "spiritual dryness", it can only mean that they have run out of the Spirit--they are ministering out of emptiness, not fullness. As we seek after God and His will, we will not run dry, for the Spirit will fill us to overflowing as we go with His flow.
- "restores my soul": In these days of stress, we need constant restoration, not just at the end of the day but throughout the day. We need to constantly pause and look up and call upon the Lord to restore our soul. Our soul comprises our mind and emotion: we can become mentally and emotionally drained by the day's events and crises. But we know that God will restore our soul when we spend some moments of quietness to pray.
- "paths of righteousness": Ultimately, it is God's purpose that we live righteous and holy lives, not immoral and corrupt ones. If we are committed to seek after God's heart and to do His will, we will find ourselves on the paths of righteousness. But when we find ourselves compromising with sin and immorality, we know that we have stopped being followers of the Shepherd-King. Instead, we have become followers of Satan and his minions of darkness.
Lord, thank You that You are our Shepherd-King. Help us to be the kind of sheep that is always tuned in to the voice of the Shepherd, to respond instantly when we hear His voice. Amen.