1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
I follow "The Pioneer Woman" blog and the other day I came across a photo of Psalm 23 tattooed on a young mans arm. After a rough night, I was reminded of it and decided to do a word study.
I am not a Biblical scholar, but I am armed with a concordance, exhaustive dictionary, a brain and the Holy Spirit - so watch out! I hope this comes to life for you as much as it did for me! Keep in mind this is what God showed me - I encourage you to search it even more out for yourself!!
I have often wondered why this passage is frequently read at funerals. No disrespect intended, but this is a promise for the living and it doesn’t make much sense to read it over me when my body is in the ground and I’m Home celebrating. I guess that could be categorized as “Random Thought For The Day”. Moving right along...
[SIDE NOTE] I love to see who is doing all the action - He makes, He leads, He restores, You comfort, You prepare, You anoint. And us? I will not fear, I will be in a state of rest, I will be comforted, I will be anointed, I will be given mercy, I will dwell with God...forever. I am liking this Psalm more and more!!
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD...
LORD | Anytime it’s all capitalized, it’s referring to God as a covenant maker & keeper. So to me this is an agreement with believers proclaiming His abilities, His goodness, and His promises. How wonderful that it may have been penned by a man such as David...I must research this further...
Shepherd | To given one’s attention to, to bring up and care for one until they are fully grown in a particular manner and to direct the motion or positioning of.
So here God (the one who SPOKE the oceans into being) is promising to direct & care for me...to take full responsibility for me. Wait till we get to “paths of righteousness”...that one blew my mind as well.
I SHALL NOT WANT...
Want | I will not need or lack any good thing. To be decreased is another definition...my salvation and heritage as a Child of the Most High God is secure and will not be taken from me (decreased).
There is another interesting facet to the word want. It means to bereave...“be-”: thoroughly or excessively. “-reave”: to steal or raid in order to plunder. The word is commonly used in the sense of loss and sorrow. But I feel the meaning goes a bit deeper and speaks of God protecting my joy so that I don’t stay in a prolonged place of sorrow and loss. While sad and unexplainable things happen, the joy He fills me with is protected so that I can not be stolen or shaken from, that place of being filled with Him.
HE MAKES ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES...
He makes | While my concordance doesn’t offer up a definition for the word makes, my dictionary has some doozies!
He prepares me to come to this place.
He cause me to become more and more like Him.
He enters into a contract with me and binds Himself to me...and I to Him so that I can enter His resting place.
He appoints or designates (someone) to a position...He positions me to be able to take in the fulness of what He has prepared for me.
Lie | How awesome is it that He uses the phrase to lie? To be at rest. There is a time for our bodies and minds to be at rest!
Down | This is strictly my thought, but to lie down represents taking up a right or correct position or posture before a holy God. To be in a state of rest at the feet of Christ.
There is a wonderful song that I can’t remember the name of right this moment, but the verse it brought to mind was “All I want to do is lose my self in You...lay back in Your arms and just let go...let it be, to me, according to Your word...Your ways are higher than mine....”. The more I immerse myself in Him, the more enticing that place is to be!! It’s this state of being where my mind is at rest, my body is rejuvenated, my soul is restored and I am protected...can’t you just picture it - laying back in the arms of God???
Green | If I’m not mistaken, this color symbolizes life, growth & prosperity.
Pastures | These can figuratively represent a place or activity regarded as offering new opportunities, or a source of nourishment.
This series of words almost seem like a contradiction don’t they? He brings me to a place of growth, prosperity, opportunity and nourishment...to be at rest and at peace.
In my life I can tell you that I have struggled with being “at peace” recently...often...daily. My “worldly mind” says - you’re nothing without a job...God will never reveal His purpose for your life...it’s unattainable because you’re a sinner...you’ll end up homeless and hopeless without a job. Yeah, my mind is that warped at times.
But then...here’s GOD’S WORDS...HIS LOVE LETTER TO ME...which shows me THE TRUTH. And it allows me to take the words and WITH MY OWN MOUTH, OUT LOUD, SPEAK THEM so that they now have more power and CAN’T return void to God...because God is faithful to do all things He has promised.
HE LEADS ME BESIDE THE STILL WATERS...
Beside | The word threw me off a bit because I was seeing it as literal - He leads me beside...meaning that it puts God positionally outside me instead of dwelling in me. If I break down the word, side has the meaning: a position to the left or right of an object. So now when I picture myself being led beside the still waters, I am positionally at the right hand of Him in respect to Him being on the throne - not because of who I am, but because of who He is and what He promises.
Still | To be still means to be in a state or rest, ease and quiet. A settled (established) spot, a home.
Waters | It’s a basic substance needed in life that requires ingestion. God tells us the water that He offers is living, and generally speaking it symbolizes purification.
So...when I read the whole sentence again it shows me a different picture - He positions me to be in a place of substance and peace and at rest. Man, I want to take this a bit further...He calls me to a place of salvation to be and function along side Him working in His abilities, doing the things that are intended to create His Kingdom here on Earth...now.
HE RESTORES MY SOUL...
Restore | To turn back, bring back, or go back.
He brings me back to a right place and the more I know Him and follow Him and trust Him, the more I will choose to turn from the worldly things.
Soul | The word denotes life being breathed into me by God and me taking it in...as in the desire to live and take it in...to want to be whole. To be whole, to consider ALL that is within a person - body, mind, soul and spirit.
He brings me to a point of - returns me to the place of - being whole, complete, full, perfect.
I want to stop here for today. I’ve been sitting slumped over on my bed for a while now - my laptop battery is about to give my thighs 3rd degree burns, my dog has taken to making one of my reference books a pillow, and I feel a monster cramp coming on in my lower back...and it’s time for lunch and my 34th potty break of the day :)
Thank you PW for posting the photo of that young mans arm...since I don’t believe in coincidences this verse means just that much more to me to be inspired to research it. It’s a gentle reminder of where my heart and mind need to be right now to spite my circumstances - at peace and at rest because He’s in control and sees the big picture. God rocks.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more!
And P.S. Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, has NO idea who I am nor did she ask me to do this, nor does she endorse me, my blog - or craziness - in any way. The photo inspired me...really...that's it. :)