1. What does this passage teach us about God’s character and what he is like?
2. According to this passage, what is God doing? In particular, what is he doing in and through Jesus?
3. Who are we as a result?
4. How are we called to respond?
1. God is our shepherd.
2. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He gives me rest. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. He is present with me, even in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. He disciplines me. He cares for me. He comforts me. He has prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies. He heals me.
a. Jesus said that he was “the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11), so all of these things describe his activity toward me, as well. Not only that, Jesus trusted in the promises of Psalm 23 when he entered “the Valley of the Shadow of Death,” knowing that he would not be kept safe there. He would die, but trusted the promise of Psalm 23:6 anyway: “I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
3. I am a sheep. I was needy, but not anymore. I can rest. It is well with my soul. I am being led in paths of righteousness for Another’s sake. I will walk in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but I don’t need to be afraid. Jesus has been here before. I am comforted, disciplined and loved. I am being healed by Jesus. I am well fed, even when enemies are right at hand. My cup overflows. Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
4. I will fear no evil. I am going to rest.
Like anything else, this takes practice. Start today in your Bible reading. Learn to preach the gospel to yourself from every passage of scripture and your soul will be strengthened.