As humans, we tend to make things difficult for ourselves. We find ways to create stress and trouble. For example, we like to be busy. It’s considered weird in our society if we have a lot of spare time, so we work all day and go home to more work. It’s exhausting and it drains us of energy, but we do it anyway. Before we realize it, we’ve crashed and burned.
Psalm 23 recognizes this need to be busy. It shows us that we are like sheep, always driving towards something new, only to realize too late that we’re on the edge of a cliff. The calming, peaceful language of Psalm 23 is a readjustment of sorts for us. It reminds us of who we are, but also that we are not alone.
“The Lord is [our] shepherd; [we] shall not want. He makes [us] lie down in green pastures. He leads [us] beside still waters. He restores [our] soul” (verses 1-2).
The Lord is our shepherd, and he has something very specific in mind for us. He wants us to rest. Unlike society, which tells us to go, go, go, the Lord tells us to lie down and be restored in quiet places. He leads his sheep with a gentle hand, eliminating fear and uncertainty, for “surely goodness and mercy shall follow [us] all the days of [our] life, and [we] shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (verse 6).
Without a shepherd, we can’t get out of our stress and trouble. We will forever be in difficulty. But with our Shepherd, we will be guided out of adversity; we can rest, knowing we are safe.