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 3 in our 3 part series. Please visit the blog here to read Part 1.
23 for '23: Part 3
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 5: Thou
preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head
with oil; my cup runneth over.
Thou: God of details. God who provides. God of Abraham. My God. Jehovah-Jireh. The One who sees, knows, cares.
Preparest: Every place prepared before I arrive; every provision met before I am even aware of what I need. Not haphazard. Not unplanned. God ordered. God ordained. God maintained. God sustained. All things set in dazzling array, in its proper place, for its proper purpose, in its proper time. The plans of His heart being revealed to me.
A table: God’s table. A daily table. A forever table. A table set by Him. His gathering place. His dining place. His banqueting place. Beautifully arranged. Abundantly filled. A place of feasting, of communion, of pleasures forevermore. A place where I can linger. A place to speak of His victories, to celebrate His joys, to learn of His ways, to share in the things that delight His heart and mine. A place where I can taste and see that the Lord is good.
Before me: My special place. Reserved. Complete with my own nametag. The perfect spot. Seated right next to Him. Receiving my portion directly from His hand. Leaning my head against His breast. Knowing I belong. Knowing I am right where I need to be, right where I want to be, right where I was made to be—breaking bread at the family table.
In the presence of mine enemies: Not in la-la-land. Not in a make-believe world where difficulties, temptation, and the forces of evil do not exist. Being in His light while surrounded by darkness; feasting upon His truth though lies and deception lurk in the shadows; receiving His affirming love while voices of accusation and condemnation cry out to get my attention. Knowing He is for me even though the enemy comes against me. Certain that no foe can keep me out, shut me out, or cut me off from what He has prepared at His table. Knowing He is my portion. Certain He is enough.
Thou: Abba Father: The One who calls me His own. God of every invitation to be where He is. The One who says, “Come follow Me.” “Come be with Me.” “Come know Me.” “Come sup with Me.” The Host of all hosts, greeting me with welcome arms.
Anointest my head with oil: Anointed by my King and High Priest. Anointed with the oil of gladness. Anointed with the anointment of His fragrance. Equipped. Enabled. Empowered. Holy Oil—making my face to shine; causing my heart to sing; softening my hands to touch others. Refreshing my life, restoring my soul, renewing my spirit—protecting me from being sun-parched, keeping me from being weather beaten, shielding me from all that would crack, dry, deplete, blister. Fresh oil. Ever flowing. Ever being poured out upon me.
My cup: Earthen cup. Heart-shaped. Cup of need. Cup of longing. Cup of thirsting after Him. Lifted up for filling. Lifted up to receive. Cup of trust, cup of faith. Cup of asking, cup of drinking. Cup of blessings, cup of everlasting joy.
Runneth over: God of abundance! Not drip-drops. Not trickles. Not small portions. Not rations. Not squeezing out a little moisture from His promises. God of the pouring forth. God of the rivers of living water. God of the waterfalls of grace. God of the artesian well. God of the showers of blessing. God of the exceeding, abundantly above. God of the overflow. God of the more than I could ever ask or think. God of so much more. Allowing me to drink of everything pure, everything good, everything right, everything true, everything satisfying, everything that flows from His heart to mine.
Verse 6: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Surely: No “I wonder?” No “I wish!” No “I hope so.” Without a doubt. Without a question. Without a concern or worry. Knowing whose I am and who He is. God of His word, God of His promise. God of His covenant. God of His oath. God who cannot and will not fail, falter, or forget.
Goodness: Not meanness. Not cruelty. Not unkindness. His goodness. The goodness of God—the goodness in His nature, the goodness in His character, the goodness in His being. Everything about Him good—every thought, every action, every attitude, every decision, every work, every word. Good in His will. Good in His gifts. Good to me. Good every moment. Good all the time. Extending goodness—not as little as He can give, but as much as He can give. Being the best, giving the best, wanting the best. Delighting to shower me with His graciousness—time after time, over and over, now and forevermore.
And mercy: Sweet mercy! Welcomed friend! Wonderful companion! New every morning. Fresh from His heart. Lifting condemnation. Releasing my past. Breaking my chains. Freeing my spirit. Renewing my hope. Securing my future. Mercy upon mercy. Mine in abundance. Kindly extended. Beautifully given. Graciously bestowed.
Shall follow me: Not “There’s a good possibility.” Not “A 50/50 chance.” Will follow! Never to retreat, abandon, or flee. Absolute certainty. Promised by the God who cannot lie. His benefits and blessings—mine to receive. Mine to enjoy. Mine to celebrate. Keeping me from being defeated. Guarding me from being pulled back into my past. Protecting me from being overtaken by things I cannot control. His divine escorts on my pilgrim journey.
All the days of my life: Not once-in-a-while. Not hit-and-miss. Not off-and-on. Now just on good days. All my days—cloudy days. Stormy days. Busy days. Quiet days. Days filled with joy. Days filled with sorrow. Days when I feel up. Days when I feel down. Every day. Every moment. Every step. Every breath. Every heartbeat.
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever: The forever place—not temporary, not momentary, not transitory. The Father’s house. My reserved place. My prepared place. Home! Never to be kicked out, evicted, or left homeless. The place my faith has thought upon. The place my hope is set upon. The place where I belong. The place I was made for. Jesus’ place. The place where I am welcomed. The place where I am received. Mine by inheritance. Mine by grace. Mine forever and ever. In the company of the redeemed. In the presence of the Lord. Seeing Him face to face. Knowing even as I am known. Completely fulfilling all my heart has ever longed for since the moment I took my first breath.
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 Marina Bromley. Used with permission. All rights reserved.