A Study On Psalm 234 min read
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want”, these words are known to almost everyone. Many people use this portion of Scripture in times of distress, yet some don’t know where it comes from, its significance, or the author behind it. Let’s review the importance of this psalm and hopefully give a new aspect to the reader. Take it to heart, for we will only scratch the surface as we delve into it.
When David said “The Lord is my shepherd”, he knew exactly what it meant to be a shepherd. He would have intimately known the responsibility of being a shepherd, such as closely guarding the sheep from any animals that would seek to devour them. It is no coincidence that Jesus was called the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) while the Devil is called a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1Pet 3:8). With Christ as our shepherd, we have no reason to be in want (or lack any good thing) as seen in the latter part of the verse.
“He maketh me to lie down” this basically means “Make to rest”. When we are depressed or anxious, we can lean on the Good Shepherd for rest, even when it seems impossible. It says He not only gives us rest in any pasture, but green pastures with tender grass. The word ‘pastures’ means a place of peace. This verse gives us the assurance that whenever we are in need of spiritual rest that only the Shepherd can give, He gives it to us in a full extent!
“He leads me beside the still waters”. Again it’s HIM that leads us. ‘Lead’ means “to protect, sustain, carry, feed, guide, lead.” ‘Still’ gives us a sense of consolation – “comfortable, ease, quiet, rest, still.” A brief look at these words shows us the author’s true meaning by the phrase. God protects us, He is our life and breath when we need Him most.
“He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake”. This not only shows us that He can restore our souls, but that He will! This verse gives us a sense of what our life should be about. It should revolve around Him for His name’s sake. When God wants us to walk in righteousness, he doesn’t let us do it alone, He Leads us; He gives us an example as a good leader should.
Here is an author paraphrase: “Even thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (because I will), I will fear absolutely no evil, because with You, there is no reason to. You make me feel comforted because your rod and your sustenance are with me always.” No reason at all is there to doubt God or be sad in the valley of trials, maybe even death, because the main thing is He is with us whether we think it or not. Not only will He protect us, but He will discipline as necessary. One meaning for ‘rod’ is ‘a stick (for punishing…)’. When God may punish us, it ultimately for our own good, and it will make us comforted in the future when we leaned from that mistake.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies”. Our enemies can be anything – from distress to the Devil tempting us to do wrong. God helps us defeat all that hinders us from fully serving Him. Notice also that it’s the Lord that prepares the table. He’s the one that provides our spiritual food; so go to Him if you seek to grow in your spiritual life.
“Thou annointest my head with oil.” Oil in scripture is often a picture of the Holy Spirit. We all have the privilege of having the Holy Spirit within and with us at all times. Also notice that anointing happens when? When someone becomes a king. Through Him we have the privilege and riches as a king would through our Saviour Jesus Christ.
“My cup runneth over”. Salvation was more than we ever deserved, but God gave us more and is still giving us more. We have more than enough to suffice. Even when physical “needs” are lacking, as we grow in Christ, we find that He is the ultimate fulfillment of all our problems, physical or spiritual.
“Surly goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”. At a steady pursuit God’s great mercy and goodness will see to it that we will be surrounded by it. Throughout our whole life, no matter if we’re far from God or if we are depressed or if we’ve done a “big” sin, God will still be there for us just as the father of the prodigal son. If we come to Him with a repentant heart, that mercy is ours to claim in its fullest. “And I WILL dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This gives us a sense of eternal security, though not many people see it as this. We have the confidence and the hope in our lives that nobody else has: the fact that we have more to live than this life. What a privilege!