23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
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.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
I have been meditating on Psalm 23. I am beginning to see it as a road map for my life. The guide of my trip is the Lord, as my shepherd. He became my guide when He made me lie down through trials as a young man and caused me to understand that I needed His leadership to discover life and to find the path through life. As it says in the early verses of the psalm, I found that I needed Him to find the green pastures of meaning and purpose and truth. As it says in verse 3, I found that life really isn't all about me...it's all about Him...my walk is for "his name's sake". Verses 4,5, and 6 provide a progression to describe the trip that I am on. Every day I walk in the shadow of death...that is the nature of human life. We are always a heartbeat away from eternity. And forces of evil surround us and seek to pull us off the right path. But God is greater than those forces and holds the keys to life and death, as well. He has a three step plan in his leadership: (1) His rod and staff comfort me: His personal discipline and comfort touch my life and help guide and restore me, (2) He prepares a table before me, despite the presence of enemies that may surround me. So he is committed to providing whatever I need, even in the most trying and dire of circumstances. (3) He anoints my head with oil. Beyond provision, he has great spiritual purpose for my life that is unique to my life. The oil is the Holy Spirit's call on my life. (4) And so my cup overflows with all needs met, a holy calling on my life and enemies vanquished or held at bay.
As a result, the psalm closes with verse 6 that confirms goodness and mercy shall be my portion while I live on the earth and, best of all, there is eternal life awaiting me when I must die...which is also part of God's plan.
The plan is complete and the Shepherd's guidance satisfies. His care is personal, thorough and designed for this world as well as the next!