PSALM 23.

Jehovah the Good Shepherd.

A psalm of David, a hymn written by David by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, an expression not only of Davidís personal faith and trust, but of the confidence which all believers have in the goodness, love, and grace of God and of their Savior Jesus Christ, brought out all the more strongly since it is spoken in the name of each individual Christian. V. 1. The Lord, Jehovah, the God of grace and faithfulness, the Redeemer of mankind, not only God the Father, Gen. 48, 15; 49, 24, but also God the Son, Jesus Christ in particular, is my Shepherd, to whom every believer stands in the relation of the most intimate fellowship, by whom and in whom he lives, through whose mighty power the life of his soul is sustained; I shall not want, being supplied with all gifts and blessings for this world and for the world to come. V. 2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, where the meadows are lush with young, vigorous grass, where the best spiritual food is found in rich abundance; He leadeth me beside the still waters, where the refreshing streams of His grace flow softly and gently, not with the boisterous threats of the Law, but with the coaxing beauty of the Gospel. The Good Shepherd gives food and drink, rest and peace, the fullness of His gifts of love, both for this world and for the world to come. V. 3. He restoreth my soul, reviving, quickening, relieving it, when the spirits droop with weariness on account of the misery of sin and the afflictions of this world; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, walking ahead after the manner of Oriental shepherds and choosing such roads as are straight and even, where there is no danger of stumbling and falling, even if they often seem strange to the sheep themselves, for His nameís sake, to reveal and make known His faithfulness and mercy, not because of any merit or worthiness in us. These wonderful blessings of the Lord awaken and nourish the true confidence of faith in the hearts of the believers, as the next words show. V. 4. Yea, even when conditions are not so favorable, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, where darkness and terror surround the believer, where the cry of wild beasts from the mountain caverns tends to take the confidence out of the heart of the sheep, when misfortune and trouble harass them, I will fear no evil, said in the proper defiance of faith, the believer trusting not in his own power, but in that of the upholding might of Jehovahís strength. For Thou art with me, even in the darkest night of tribulation, even in the peril of death; Thy rod and Thy staff, the protecting and sustaining power of Jehovahís mercy in the means of grace, they comfort me, offering the right consolation in every trouble affecting both body and soul. That is the second great fact upon which the believer places his trust. V. 5. Thou preparest a table before me, a joyful and rich festival meal, in the presence of mine enemies, not a bulwark or fort, for they were helpless in the presence of the almighty Shepherd and the full power of Jehovah is assured in the protection of His believers, the idea of full security in spite of all adversaries, of refreshing and satisfying joys after all afflictions. Thou anointest my head with oil, this act preceding the festival meal of old and assuring the guest of the most cordial welcome on the part of the host; my cup runneth over, with more than a full measure of spiritual blessings and joys. V. 6. Surely goodness and mercy, the greatest good fortune in the possession of the grace of Jehovah, shall follow me all the days of my life, in everything pertaining to both body and soul the way of the Lord is always gracious and merciful, is always the best; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord, in the midst of the church of Jehovah, as a member of the congregation of saints, forever, here in time, in the Kingdom of Grace, and hereafter in eternity, in the Kingdom of Glory; for the home of everlasting glory awaits all true believers above, John 14, 2; Rev. 21, 1-5. It is theirs even now, by faith.