Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 23

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-6

Psalms 23:1-6

Psalms 23:1-6 , the prayer of David, or a psalm of David, rather. And it is a psalm in which he sees God in three aspects. He sees God first as a shepherd; secondly as a guide; and thirdly as a host. There is a very interesting commentary called, "A Shepherd Looks at the Twenty-third Psalm." And you might want to read this book. It is a fascinating book, as it goes into many of the aspects of a shepherd, and the character and the nature of sheep. And you'll find it an excellent commentary on the twenty-third psalm, "A Shepherd Looks at the Twenty-third Psalm." But in reality, a guide could look at it too, and a host could look at it, because he sees God in all three capacities, not just as a shepherd, but also as a guide and as a host. God is a shepherd.

Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want ( Psalms 23:1 ).

I shall not want, actually, for provision.

For he makes me to lay down in green pastures ( Psalms 23:2 ):

I shall not want for refreshment, for

he leads me beside the still waters ( Psalms 23:2 ).

I shall not want for strength, for

He restoreth my soul ( Psalms 23:3 ):

So God is a shepherd. Watching over me, leading me into green pastures, leading me to the still waters, restoring my soul.

But now God is a guide.

he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness [or in the right path] for his name's sake. And yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me ( Psalms 23:3-4 );

Now, God is leading me through my path of life. He leadeth me. "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, He will direct your path" ( Proverbs 3:6 ). God will lead you through your path of life. But each one of you the path of life will one day, barring the rapture of the church, lead into the valley of the shadow of death. When it does, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Death doesn't hold any terror or fear for the child of God.

A survey was recently done among morticians; 2000 of them responded to it. And it was a survey that dealt with the preparation of bodies of those people who they knew to be truly born again and those who were not. And you can ask a mortician, and it's almost impossible for a mortician to put a smile on a person's face when they are dead. Did you know that? Next to impossible, unless the person was a born again Christian. And they had observed this phenomena, and so they made sort of a survey among morticians, and it all came back, yes, they had all observed the same phenomena. You bet there will be a smile on my face! All right, you know.

"For death has been swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? For the sting of death was sin, but sin has been removed. Thanks be unto God, who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord" ( 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 ). So, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Oh, the presence of God. Taking me by the hand, leading me through the valley.

Now God is seen as a host.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over ( Psalms 23:5 ).

God is just really a great host. He is a gracious host. He takes care of you fabulously. Preparing a table before you, anointing your head with oil, causing your cup to overflow. The glorious overflowing life of the child of God. "If any man thirsts," Jesus cried, "let him come to Me and drink. And he who drinks of the water that I give, out of his innermost being, there will gush torrents of living water" ( John 7:37-38 ). The cup will overflow.

Surely goodness and mercy should follow me all the days of my life ( Psalms 23:6 ):

Wherever I go, throughout my pilgrim journey on this earth. Goodness and mercy. The goodness of God, the mercy of God, attending my path. And at the end of the path, all the days of my life having been completed,

I shall then dwell in the house of the LORD for ever ( Psalms 23:6 ).

That house that Jesus spake of, when He said, "In my Father's house there are many mansions. And I'm going to prepare a place for you." Now I look at this world and I love to go to Hawaii, and I love to go to Yosemite, and I love to go into any areas where you have beautiful woods and ferns and rivers, and streams and flowers and fauna. I love it! I love the beauty. And I look at the beauties of Grand Canyon. I look at the beauties of the oceans. I look at the beauties of the lakes and the rivers and the streams and the woods, the deserts. And I realize that He created the whole thing in six days. Now, it was about 1900 years ago that He said He was going to prepare a place for me. If He could do all of this in six days, what must that place be like that He has been working on for 1900 years? You bet there will be a smile on my face. As I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 23". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/psalms-23.html. 2014.
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