The title of our New Year posting is 23 for ‘23. It’s a reminder to carry Psalm 23 in our hearts throughout 2023. As His sheep, we will need the nearness of our Shepherd as never before.
Psalm 23 will be presented in an expanded format—word by word and thought by thought. It is our prayer that you will not only read Psalm 23 but feed upon every word.
This special series will run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (December 30 – January 1), to help us prayerfully usher in the New Year.
Psalm 23: Verse by Verse and Thought by Thought
-Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow
The LORD is my Shepherd, I
shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the
paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the
presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my
head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life: and I will dwell
in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23:1-6 KJV
At a social function, an aged minister asked an actor who was in attendance to recite something from memory. The actor, thinking to please the minister, decided to recite the Twenty-Third Psalm. With perfect diction, elocution, and in delicate shades of tone, he repeated the psalm in a manner that caused the audience to reveal their enthusiastic praise and applause.
Afterward, the actor, in order to honor the minister, asked if he would recite something for them. The minister could not think of anything and decided, if it was okay with everyone present, to repeat the Twenty-Third Psalm. Quietly, prayerfully, he slowly began to speak out the psalm as it came to mind. At its end, those in attendance sat hushed.
Taking the preacher’s hand in his, the actor said, “We both know the psalm, but it is clear to us all, that you know the Shepherd.”
My prayer for you as you read this book is that you will not just know the Shepherd by name, but will know the Shepherd in your heart. –Roy Lessin
Verse 1: The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
The LORD: Yahweh. The Eternal. Jehovah. I Am. The Self-Existent One. The God of forever and ever.
Is: Not will be one day. Not someday. Not was a long time ago. Is now, at this very moment—as I draw each breath, as I take each step, as I face each circumstance of life.
My: Not just someone else’s. Not just the pastor’s. Not just the missionary’s. Not just the people in the Bible. Personal God. My God. Knowing me intimately, watching me carefully, loving me fully.
Shepherd: Pastor. The One who tends, keeps, guards, guides. The Good Shepherd; The Great Shepherd; The Chief Shepherd. The One who leads. The One who feeds. Life giver. Care giver. Watching every moment; protecting in every situation; providing every need. Laying down His life. Giving His all. Seeking me. Carrying me. Holding me close.
I: His hand is on me. I am the apple of His eye. I am His beloved. I am His child. I am His possession. I belong to Him. I am in His hands. I am in His thoughts. I am on His heart.
Shall Not: Never! Not once! Not in any circumstance; not in any trial; not at any age. I am certain, sure, persuaded, unmistaken, absolutely confident of His “Yes” to me.
Want: He is my supply. His is my provider. He is my provision. I shall not be given a stone instead of bread. I shall not come up empty, be destitute, find out that I have been forsaken. In Him, my Lord, my God, my Shepherd, my Pastor, I find no lack.
Verse 2: He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He: Not fate. Not “the gods.” Not luck. Not self-help. Not philosophy. He alone! Creator God. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Maker of all things. Keeper of all things. Ruler of all things in heaven, in earth, in my life.
Maketh: Not wishful thinking, not pie-in-the-sky, but reality. He makes the way and gives the opportunity. He leads me to His prepared place. He makes it possible in every circumstance. He lets me; He insists upon it—I do not need to question or wonder what His will is in the matter.
Me: Personal God! He understands my particular needs and knows where and how to look after me. His gaze is on me. His care is upon me. His love is over me.
To Lie down: Legs folded, knees bent. No striving. No panic. No running about in haste or going around in circles. A time to stop, to kneel, to bend. Reclining—no “standing up” on the inside in protest or rebellion.
In: Not in imagination. Not in fantasy. Not in pretend or make believe. In truth. In my heart, in my soul, in my spirit. In Him—the Way, the Truth, the Life.
Green pastures: His tender, caring place. Luscious. Satisfying. Nurturing. Sustaining. Refreshing. Delighting. Pastures free of dryness, emptiness, barrenness, hopelessness, despair, confusion, death.
He: Not governments. Not politicians. Not political parties. Not programs. Not schemes and the plans of men. He alone! Mighty God, ruler of the land and sea. giver and sustainer of my life—my glory and the lifter of my head.
Leadeth me: Not pushing. Not driving. Not far removed, but ever-present, ever-near. Out front. Taking the first steps, going before, making the pathway passable, possible, doable with footsteps of grace.
Beside: Not looking at His provisions from a distance. Not far off. Not held at a distance. Not watching someone else enjoy His blessings while I am asked to take a step back, or step aside. Close. Near. Placing me right where I need to be…right where He is.
The still waters: Not babbling brooks, not shooting rapids, but peaceful pools. No turmoil. Not a place to rile up, but a place to calm down. A still place, a quiet place, a restful place. To be as still as He is, because He gives His peace. Here I leave everything in His care and His keeping…letting go so He can hold all. My heart is quiet, my soul is still.
Our complete collection of New Year postings by Roy Lessin are available in a 32 page booklet titled, Psalm 23—Verse by Verse & Thought by Thought. The booklet is appropriate to send to a friend as a card of encouragement, or to keep at your table to remind you how much your Shepherd cares. Details for purchasing are available online through Art Set Apart and you can purchase your copies here.
©2022 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Photo by Erin Story. Used with permission. All rights reserved.