Psalm 23 is a psalm of David. Unlike many other Psalms where David complaints, in psalm 23 David speaks of the goodness, protection, comfort and reign of God over his life. The psalm has beautiful imagery painting beautiful images of nature through the words. Matthew Henry gives the following frame for the psalm.
(i) Addresses God as shepherd of mankind. – Verse 1
(ii) He recalls his experiences with God as a shepherd – Verse 2,3,4,5
(iii) Assurance of God’s providence in his life – Verse 6
Sheep are animals that cannot survive by themselves. The basic need of a sheep is food and safety. They cannot sustain by themselves. They need a shepherd to take care of them. Similarly man is a being that cannot live without God. David is a shepherd. He deeply realizes the fact that man cannot live without God just as how the sheep cannot live without shepherd. God is someone who takes me to the green pastures and helps to take me to still waters so that the sheep can peacefully drink. Thirdly not because humans are good, but because God is good he leads people in the paths of righteousness.
Just as the sheep faces dark valley which is like death, humans many times enter into dark phases of life longing to be freed from the darkness. Humans maybe lost like lonely sheep. David gives a confession of faith that God is someone that saves humans from this shadow of death and he is not afraid to face the darkness and evil of valley of shadow of death.
In verse 5, David pictures himself as being invited to the table of God especially in the presence of his enemies. This means a lot to him. Probably he might have an intimidation in front of his enemies. But as God invites him to his table he feels secure being assured that God is on his side. God did not only invite him but also anointed him with oil. Probably David is reflecting on the event of him being positioned as king over Israel.
In verse 6, David concludes the psalm by reflecting on the promise of God that never ends. He is pretty confident that God is someone that will never leave him or forsake him which gives a sense of confidence to David.
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