Psalm 23 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
A song of David.
23 The LORD is my shepherd.
I will always have everything I need.
2 He gives me green pastures to lie in.
He leads me by calm pools of water.
3 He restores my strength.
He leads me on right paths to show that he is good.
4 Even if I walk through a valley as dark as the grave,
I will not be afraid of any danger, because you are with me.
Your rod and staff comfort me.
5 You prepared a meal for me in front of my enemies.
You welcomed me as an honored guest.
My cup is full and spilling over.
6 Your goodness and mercy will be with me all my life,
and I will live in the LORD’s house a long, long time.
Everything that this passage promises us is the result of one thing: “The Lord is my Shepherd.” I love how the Passion Translation puts it, “The Lord is my Shepherd and best friend.” God is not only your shepherd but He’s your BEST FRIEND, too. Isn’t that a reassuring thought!
Now, all these blessings, if we can call them that, in this psalm are the result of one thing – God being your shepherd and best friend. Peace, strength, the presence of the Holy Spirit, favour, being pursued by goodness and love – all these things are a benefit of relationship with God! They are not a reward for good behaviour or great sacrifice… they are a free gift (grace) and the result of us having a relationship with God where we allow Him to be our shepherd.
It’s important for us to note here that the writer of this Psalm (King David) made it personal and so should we: the is MY Shepherd. A personal relationship with God is essential to consistently reigning in life.
“O Lord, I know that the path of [life of] a man is not in himself; It is not within [the limited ability of] man [even one at his best] to choose and direct his steps [in life].”
Jeremiah 10:23 (AMP)
The truth is that no matter how brilliant you may be - if you’re leading your life apart from God, you’re limiting yourself. God wants to be your shepherd, as in your leader. We were created to live life in relationship with God, meaning that we seek His guidance and wisdom, and we make decisions with Him. You may have been able to make a success of your life (by yourself) up and until now, but you don’t have a clue how good it could be if you started seeking and relying on God’s wisdom rather than your own.
The Bible also uses Pastor and Shepherd interchangeably, so you could say that “The Lord is MY Pastor”. The Bible calls Jesus our “Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4). God has placed pastors in the church to care for and lead His people, but Jesus is the Chief among them. Your earthly pastor is limited, but your Chief Shepherd (Jesus) is limitless! He is available for you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. He knows the answer to every question you have and the best solution to every problem or challenge you face. He has the desire, ability and resources to help you in every situation. While your earthly pastor loves you, your Chief Pastor loves you perfectly. Your Chief Shepherd is always on call and never gets tired of you (Psalm 121:4). You can call on Him knowing that He is always there for you.
“The LORD is my shepherd...”
Psalm 23:1 (ERV) – emphasis mine
The word “is” makes this statement a present-tense reality. We should allow God to shepherd (pastor) us now – not only when we think we need it, but in every moment of every day. We should live our lives with Him, allowing Him to speak to our hearts and lead us and care for us every moment of every day. Not just when things are rough and we feel helpless, but also when things are going well and we think we can do it on our own. As long as we are trying to do it on our own, we will not experience the fruitfulness that we could experience if we do it with God (John 15:4).
With Jesus as your Shepherd (Pastor) to lead you, guide you, provide for you and care for you, you are set up to live the abundant life!