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 is being 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 is Part 2 in our 3 part series. Please visit the blog here to read Part 1.
23 for '23: Part 2
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
Verse 3: He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.
He: The God of all grace and tender mercies. The God of living waters. The God of healing rain. Great Physician—whose healing balm mends my wounds, soothes my pains, comforts my troubled heart. Redeemer. Friend. The One who always is calling the wanderer to return to Him. God of the welcoming voice, the gentle way, the reassuring touch.
Restoreth: Not neglecting. Not ignoring. Not denying. Assuring me “He can” and “He will.” Never turning His back or giving up. Lifting me when I am down; carrying me when I have fallen; refreshing me when I am stale; renewing me when I am weary; reviving me when I have grown cold; turning my head when I have become distracted; rescuing me when I am in danger; pulling me back when I am drifting away. Trimming my wick. Pruning my branches. Molding and shaping my clay within His masterful hands to conform me to His image. Making all things new.
My soul: Who I am in reality. My personality in all its complexity. My mind—thoughts and plans, what I think upon, what I dwell upon. My emotions—feelings, moods, highs and lows. My will—choices, decisions, what I determine to do, where I determine to go. My appetites. My longings. His grace causing me to think His thoughts, feel what He feels, choose what He chooses. Bringing within me the times of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord.
He: Not astrology. Not philosophy. My God, My Guide, My Guardian. He, from whom are all things, by whom are all things, through whom are all things. He, in whom I live, and move, and have my being. Son of Righteousness. The One who never leaves me or forsakes me. The ever-present help in time of need. The only true time-traveler.
Leadeth me: Not pointlessly. Not wrongfully. Not mischievously. Not aimlessly. Knowing what He is doing. Knowing where He is going. Knowing what is best. Showing the way, making the way, providing the way, being the way. Bestowing the blessings that make me rich; bringing the joys that make me full; imparting the strength that makes me able to follow His footsteps.
In the paths of righteousness: Not vanity. Not sin. Not selfishness. Making straight paths for my feet—not the path of self-effort, not the path of self-righteousness, not the path of dead works. A path of mercy. A path of faith. A path of rest. A path that keeps me from regrets. Freeing me from restlessness and anxiousness; from the hurts and disappointments of life; from the worries and fears that want to cast their shadow upon the course He has chosen for me to follow. Walking step by step on the highway of holiness. His righteousness. Right thinking. Right living. Right choices. Right attitudes. Right motives. A beautiful path. A peaceful path. A joy-filled path that leads me straight to His heart.
For His Name’s sake: Not for my applause, recognition, or celebration. Not my light, but His glory. Not my reputation, but His honor. Not my cleverness, but His majesty. Holy One. Mighty One. Wondrous One. Awesome One. Amazing God. Name above all names. King above all kings. Lord above all lords. Transcendent. Immutable. Worthy to receive all the praise and thanks my heart can give.
Verse 4: 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.
Yea: “Yes” to You Jesus. “Yes” to Your will, Your way, Your plan, Your purpose. “Yes” to what seems possible and impossible. “Yes” to what You have prepared, to where Your footsteps are going—through places unknown, to destinations unimagined, by pathways never taken before.
Though I walk: Not in panic, not in haste, not in perplexity. Walking, not running ahead. Walking, not dragging behind. Walking, not passive. Walking, not digging in my heels. Walking forwards, not backwards. Going at His pace. Planting my feet in His freshest footprints. Moving through. Not getting bogged down. Not getting stuck. Not standing in place and marking time. Pressing on.
Through the valley: Not always through the high places, not always through the mountain tops, not always through the grasslands, not always through the woodlands, not always through the bright and brilliant flowering fields and open skies of blue. Not the place where the journey ends, but where the journey takes on new depths and new meaning. The hidden place that presses me to His side, to His heartbeat, to His tender mercies.
Of the shadow of death: Tears. Sorrow. Trials and testing. The place where seeds of desires and expectation fall into the ground. The place where I let go, surrender all, declare from the depths of my being, “Not my will, but Thine by done.” The place where I embrace His cross, be made conformable to His death, where I partake of the fellowship of His sufferings. The place where resurrection life overtakes me, overshadows me, overwhelms me. The place where I feel His hand in mine—Firm. Sure. Mighty. Never letting go—taking me on to the place of abundance.
I will fear no evil: The enemy, a defeated foe. His works destroyed by the power of Christ. Jesus my victor. Conquering King. Captain of my soul. Holy Spirit—Spirit, not of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. Heavenly Father—the One whom I have sought with all my heart; the One Who hears and answers my prayer; the One Who consistently, faithfully, triumphantly, delivers me from all my fears.
For Thou art with me: There can be nothing sweeter, nearer, dearer, than this—“Thou,” Creator God, lover of my soul—with me, near me, by me, for me, in me. Fullness of joy! Pleasures forevermore! Not playing hide-and-seek with my soul, my heart, or my very being. Ever present help in time of need.
Thy rod and Thy staff: The things You use to reach me, teach me, shape me, mold me, conform me, direct me, assure me, protect me. The rod of correction that never harms or is an instrument of abuse. The staff that pulls me close when I wander, that rescues me from the pit when I fall. Letting nothing slip by. Doing everything in love and for love’s sake.
They comfort me: Not frustrates. Not bullies. Not stresses. Not “beat up.” Not left in ruins. Not deserted. Not abandoned. Not devastated. Not destroyed. God of sweet consolation. God who wipes my tears. God who carries my burdens. God who knows me, cares for me, lifts me, holds me. Taking full responsibility for my life which I have yielded to Him....
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 Carin Bergen. Used with permission. All rights reserved.