Psalm 23: My Trust Is in the Lord
Psalm 23: My Trust Is in the Lord
Verse 1 begins: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." This passage is the pillar to the whole
psalm. It sets the standard for what David is trying to convey. From the first phrase, "The Lord is my
shepherd," David evokes rich images of the provision and protection of the covenant - God. It can be
necessarily inferred that David had a very personal and special relationship with the Lord, not just from
the psalms but also from other scriptures. I Sam. 13: 14 tells of God searching for a man after His own
heart. So David says, "The Lord is my shepherd." David's image of the relationship between sheep and
shepherd shows emotions of care, provision, and protection. A shepherd is a leader to the straying sheep.
He is attentive to the sheep and their needs. David makes it clear that he needs the shepherd. David
hiri:iself is quite familiar with shepherding according to I Samuel 16: 11. Here David is described as the
youngest of his family and is out tending the sheep. Bethlehem's hills were very suitable for shepherding·
according to Luke 2:8. A shepherd not only protects and provides for his sheep, he also leads them. This
will be addressed in the next few verses of the psalm.
David says in verse 2, "He makes me lie down in green pastures." David's recognition of the
shepherd as a leader is addressed in this verse. God's love and care is constant and true and he blesses us
with the richest of blessings or greenest of pastures. The shepherd gives the sheep time to rest as he
makes them "lie down." This applies directly with Matthew 11:28 where Jesus said, "Come to Me all
who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Jesus provides rest to all those who desire it, as
the Lord in Psalm 23 provides David.
David, still in verse 2 says, "He leads me beside quiet waters." The Lord is truly described and
foreshadowed as a leader. It is clear that the Lord knows what is best for His sheep, and to argue this
point would be in complete contradiction to this and other scriptures. Jesus says in Matthew 6:8,
''Therefore do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. The "still
waters" are comforting to the sheep. There are streams of peace in a world full of rushing waters with
constant currents. With the quiet waters and the green pastures the shepherd provides peace, comfort and
Verse 3 begins with "He restores my soul." David here emphasizes the assurance of forgiveness that
the Lord provides. The Lord cares for the sheep to the point of searching for them in an effort to bring
them back when straying and lost. A perfect parallel is found in Luke 15 where Jesus tells a parable about
one lost sheep among 99 others in the flock. Jesus goes and searches.out that lost sheep, leaving the 99
behind, until he finds it (Lk. 15:4).
Still in verse 3 David says, "He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." David
presents a path that his shepherd leads him in, and that path is one of righteousness. Such a path could be
described as narrow, such as the one described by Jesus in Matthew 7: 13, 14, when He says, "Enter by the
narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who
enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those that find it."
In verse 4 David says, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for
Thou art with me." It is a true statement that through thick and thin the Lord will be with us; we just have
to trust in Him. David says that even though he walks through darkness, he is not afraid.
Why is David so confident in the Lord? In I Samuel 17, David is seen delivering food to his brothers
who are at war with the Philistines. When the giant Goliath comes out to curse God, David takes offense
to the uncircumcised Philistine and wants to fight him (I Sam. 17:26). When he is given the chan