Psalm 23 (NLT)
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
When I reflect on Psalm 23, I think of David watching his sheep, feeling peaceful and content and writing the words, “The Lord is my shepherd…” I imagine him sitting, content, and reflecting on the goodness of God. The setting of the writing of Psalm 23 that I imagine couldn’t be further from David’s reality. David didn’t write this Psalm while he was shepherding sheep. He wasn’t content and he certainly wasn’t peaceful.
After years of family issues and strife, David’s son Absalom decided to overthrow his father’s kingdom. He successfully convinced David’s most trusted adviser to betray David. He also successfully created an army to capture Jerusalem. As Absalom made his way into Jerusalem, David got wind of it and ran for his life.
One of the saddest scenes of David’s life has him weeping as he leaves Jerusalem (2 Samuel 15:30). When David enters Bahurim, Shimei, a member of Saul’s family, curses him. One of David’s men wants to kill this man, but David stops him saying, “Perhaps God has told him to curse David..”
At this point in his life, David doesn’t seem to know what to think. He even believes that God may have forsaken him as well. David is broken, running for his life and from his son. All of his hopes, his dreams, everything he has worked for is teetering on the brink of loss.
Then he writes, “The Lord is my shepherd…”
Father, life doesn’t always go as planned. There are twists and turns, good times and bad. May I have the faith of David, to allow you to lead me even when I don’t understand where you are leading me to. May I keep my eyes focused on you as you lead me to better days and better places.