Psalms 23 I find in the historical background of the 23rd Psalm that David was the author. David was a shepherd in his youth, preparing him for the shepherding of God’s flock, the nation of Israel. The Lord chose David as his servant, and brought him to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. There is a possibility that David wrote this psalm as a boy while he was tending his flock, since he spent many lonely hours in the fields. It is hard to understand how a young boy could write of such imagery when young boys knew little of dangers and disappointments in life.
There are two imageries, the shepherd and the host. (Deffinbaugh) In ancient Near East time the Israelites were known as shepherds describing leadership of an individual or group, or a king referring to a leader. The shepherd imagery shows the Lord was the leader, the King of all humanity. Jacob spoke of God as “The God who has been my shepherd all my life”. (Deffinbaugh) David spoke of God as his shepherd, his provider, protector and king. It states “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” meaning that he had the Lord and was not in need of anything.
The shepherd imagery is that David is describing God’s relationship with him in a loving relationship, in relation to how shepherds tended to their flocks. The author states “he guides me in the paths of righteousness” the Lord will always be there to guide us in the right direction, yet evil will always be lingering, it is our choice which way we go. In Psalms 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” could possibly mean that he could have faced some kind of tragedy in his life, or he faced some kind of evil.
Therefore, David had possibly used these situations in his life, which could have inspired him to write this psalm. David also wanted to lead a righteous life and follow the way of the Lord. Then we read “fear no evil”. Evil is always present, yet the Lord will be there to protect us from evil. The author talks about dinning with his enemies. In ancient Near East hospitality to foreigners, strangers, and travelers was a sacred duty. By extending this hospitality the host would take on the responsibility of protecting the traveler as long as he was in his area.
As David’s enemies he still took care of them and feed them while they were his guests. He felt that the Lord would reward him for this and he would live in the “house of the Lord” (referring to the temple) forever. This doesn’t mean he will live in the temple; this attitude will help shape the rest of his life. (Bratcher) Psalms 23 deals with the faith in the Lord, and living a righteous life, which would lead you to a wonderful life on earth and here after. This psalm applies to my live by having faith in God always, even when bad things happen to the people I care about or me.
My faith in God is what gets me through the bad things in my life and the good things that he blesses me with. I know that God is there to protect me even when evil shows itself. If it wasn’t for my faith, I would not be where I am today. If we follow David’s example which is the psalm, in the 21st Century we should care for Jesus’ flock in the same way that David cared for his. We should love our enemies and help them find faith in God just like David. This psalm has honesty about life and even in the most faithful people they still know that darkness may come upon them.
In the 21st Century there is darkness everywhere, yet we still need to listen to the words of Psalm 23 and reflect on its possibilities of helping us out of the darkness with the help of the Lord, since we know that he walks with us always. Today we look for physical things from the Lord, where in David’s time it was more spiritual. God does provide us with physical needs, yet we can not always be sure when it will occur or what the circumstances might be, but when it happens we know and our faith lives on. Praying this psalm will keep your faith in God.
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