Psalm 23 (NRSV)
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I 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 overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.
A quick internet search and the countless images on T-shirts, posters, and computer wallpaper, as well as numerous songs and books reflecting on its meaning, all reveal that Psalm 23 is one of the best-known and best-loved of all the psalms.
It is no wonder that this psalm is incredibly meaningful to many people. It is full of beautiful reassurances of God’s love and faithfulness. God is described as a shepherd who cares for us and comforts us. God guides and anoints us. God’s endless mercy is emphasized in the concluding promise of our dwelling with the Lord forever.
During this busy Lenten season, it is especially affirming to read these words and reflect on all God has done. In the deeper spiritual reflection of Lent, we remember that Jesus is indeed our good shepherd who died for us, and who in love invites us to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Gracious God, we thank you for being the good shepherd, for providing for us, guiding us, and comforting us in our times of need. Amen.