How many times have you read Psalm 23? For me, it is probably several dozen, if not more than one hundred. Until recently I read it with a selfish focus. When I read Psalm 23, I saw the promise of peace, restoration, and protection. While it speaks to these subjects, none of them are THE subject.
If you or I had written Psalm 23, it might go something like this:
1 I have a shepherd; I don’t lack anything.
2 I get to rest in luscious, green pastures: anytime I want, I get to drink out of clear, still waters.
3 When I’m tired, my soul is restored. . .
This is somewhat how I used to read it. But that is not what the Holy Spirit inspired David to write, and, more importantly, that is not the message of Psalm 23. The Bible is littered with promises, many of them being “personal promises.” But, frankly, not a single one of them is about you or me. Each one is about the one who makes the promise. If you think it through, this only makes sense, for a promise is no greater than the one making it.
Psalm 23 is not about how David received some special blessing from God. Psalm 23, like the whole of Scripture, is simply about the greatness of Jesus Christ. In this instance, God wants us to know Christ as a Shepherd. He reveals the care and protection He provides. I do not believe David is proclaiming how lucky he is because he is a “famous sheep.” I believe he is informing us about the goodness and prosperity he found in the Lord when he made the decision to humbly become a sheep.
I’m no king. I’m no great warrior. Though I strive to be, God has never called me “a man after His own heart.” But I have yielded to the Shepherd, and I have found peace, restoration, and provision. If you are willing to come to the Shepherd, submit to His authority, and become one of His sheep, then you will – like David – be able to attest to the greatness of the Shepherd.