Psalm 23 - A Psalm for 2023
The author of Psalm 100 wrote in verse 3, "Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His, we are the people, the sheep of His pasture." The psalmist makes our identity clear in reminding us that we are His. Therefore, our lives must reflect our Maker. In addition, we should acknowledge that we belong to Him and that everything we have belongs to Him. It is in our surrender to these truths that we obtain peace and wholeness in our lives.
David's Psalm 23 shows us the covenant blessings that God, our Shepherd, gives to us, His sheep, as we have relationship with Him. Recently, Robert Heidler, Pastor of Glory of Zion Ministries, gave a teaching on Psalm 23 and pointed out how the covenant names of God are displayed in each verse. Let us look at the names of God as they apply to Psalm 23. Each name begins with Yahweh, meaning "To Be." However, it is commonly translated "The Lord."
Verse 1 (TPT): "The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd." - Yahweh Rohi (The Lord is my Shepherd) The footnotes in The Passion Translation explain that shepherd is taken from the root word "ra'ah," which is also the Hebrew word for "best friend."
"I always have more than enough." - Yahweh Jaira (The Lord is my Provider) Shepherd can also be translated "No lack."
Verse 2 (NIV): "He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul." - Yahweh Shalom (The Lord my Peace, Provider, Satisfaction) and Yahweh Rapha (The Lord Our Healer) The Lord's abiding presence sets us free from fears and brings quiet, contentment, and satisfaction.
Verse 3b (TPT): "He opens before me pathways to God's pleasure and leads me along His footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to His name." Yahweh Tsidkenu (The Lord my Righteousness) The footnote in The Passion Translation enlightens us about the translation of this name. It could say, "He leads me on the circular paths of righteousness." Apparently, it is common for sheep to circle the hillsides of Israel as they climb higher. The shepherd is the one who leads us higher in the path that is set before us.
Verse 4 (NIV): "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me." - Yahweh Shammeh (The Lord is There or Present with Me) The rod speaks of the spoken Word of God and denotes authority. Thus, The Scriptures are God's rod. The staff represents patience and kindness and is symbolic of the Spirit of God. Holy Spirit leads us into all truth. (John 16:13)
Verse 5 (NIV): "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows." - Yahweh Nissi (The Lord my Banner of Victory) and Yahweh M'Kaddesh (The Lord Makes us Holy) Jesus came that we would have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) His Spirit is represented by oil. Our cup overflows with His life and blessings so that we are overcomers.
Verse 6 (TPT): "So why should I fear the future. For Your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life. Then afterward, when my life is through, I'll return to Your glorious presence to be forever with you!" Yahweh Tsuri (The Lord is My Rock)
All that we need while living on earth is in the Lord. He made Covenant with us, His sheep, and cares for us in multiple ways. Through submission to our Shepherd, we have assurance of His never-ending love and protection. Not only is He our Maker; He is our Redeemer and the Lover of our Souls. All praise and honor are due His name.
Joan E. Mathias