1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a] I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23 is probably the most famous psalm. It is requested at almost every funeral I do. It is appropriate any time someone is in spiritual or emotional crisis.
Why is it such a beloved Psalm? It starts with David's own very close and intimate relationship with God. David was a shepherd, and a good one at that. He killed bears to protect the little lambs at night in the pasture. David knows that the Lord protects him at night and it is a prophecy that ultimately Jesus, the Good Shepherd, would someday lay down his life for His sheep. David knew that whatever dark valley he went through, he was not alone. Before David became the King of Israel, he was constantly on the run from King Saul and his henchmen. He hid out in the crags in the rocks. It was at these moments that David realized he was not alone. He knew that God was with him and God's rod and staff would fight off his enemies. Finally, David knew that God's love was steadfast. God had made a promise to David in His covenant with Abraham, that he would bless him and make his name great. It was a unilateral promise made and kept by God. Therefore, although David went through many trials, he knew it would all work together for good because of God's purpose in His Life. He knew that one day he would rest in God's house forever! When you go through the valleys and trials of life, do you have the same sense of the Lord's presence and protection as David did? This would be a good Psalm to meditate when you life throws a curve ball at you. Remember that in your Baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God made a promise that he would be with you all the days of your life and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. And that promise is sealed in the new covenant God made with us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!