Lent Devotional: Psalm 23
by Jonathan Haefs
Psalm 23 (click here)
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want…
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…
…and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
(Psalm 23 selected verses)
“I shall not want…”
As a kid, I had no clue what that meant. It’s an antiquated way of speaking, but many of our modern translations keep it because it is so poetic and so well known. A more modern way of saying it would be, “The LORD is my shepherd; I will not be in need…” or “I will not lack anything…”
The idea is that God will provide everything we need in this life to follow him… just like a shepherd provides everything his sheep need to follow where he leads.
Of course, this does not mean that life will just be peachy keen!
The psalmist declares that God’s perfect provision is true EVEN when he walks through the valley of the shadow of death! Even as he suffers, he trusts the Lord to be his good shepherd, providing all he needs to faithfully walk through suffering and even through the door of death.
You see, the psalmist knows something… he holds on to something. He clings to the truth that God has prepared a table for him in the presence of his enemies. There is a feast, a banquet that no enemy can touch… no even death. As the psalmist walks through the valley of the shadow of death… he does not faint… he feasts!
What is the truth that is the constant feast of his soul that not even the last enemy, death, can take away?
“…and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
His shepherd is the feast of his soul! Nothing and no one, not even death, can take him away from his shepherd! He shall not be in want because he always gets God! Even in the valley of the shadow of death, his Shepherd is with him… to lead, to guide, to comfort!
O Christian, there is a feast for you that no circumstance can take away… that the world cannot rob you of… that death itself cannot kill! The good Shepherd is yours… you shall never be in want!
May this goodness and this mercy follow you all the days of your life… and may you feast on it forever!