The Shepherd’s Psalm

Many people know Psalm 23 by heart.  It is comforting and poetic.  I hear it quoted most of the time at funerals.  This is understandable, but meditating on Psalm 23 shows us that it is a Psalm for the living not the dead.  Psalm 23 is vibrant and alive!

The Bible is like a medicine cabinet for the Christian.  It is made up of 66 different books with 40+ different authors.  The Bible has everything God wanted the modern day Christian to know about Himself.  When I go through a time where I feel a strong emotion, I spend a little extra time reading the Psalms.  The Psalms are great for when you’re experiencing great emotional stress and depression, or if you feel great joy and happiness.

I don’t know what you’re going through teen, but remember that God made you and every emotion you have.

Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

God is the shepherd of the living. He is your shepherd! That means number 1 that we are his sheep.  It means number 2 that his full time job is to care for us!  Jesus himself said, ”My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:27 Jesus takes ownership of you the moment you get saved.  He claims you, he loves you, and he wants to care for you.  That part that says “I shall not want” means that we won’t lack anything we need.  The Bible tells us that a shepherd knows his sheep intimately (Luke 12:7, John 10:14), is willing to give his life for his sheep (John 10:11), and provides peace and safety to his flock (Zechariah 10:2).

Psalm 23:3 “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

Have you ever felt empty? Have you ever felt off?  At age 7, Christ restored my soul through salvation.  I road a red church bus to Vacation Bible School (VBS), and during the preaching I went forward and got saved.  He saved my soul for all eternity.  Not only that, but Christ restores my soul daily.  Your body needs food and water, and you’re soul needs sustenance as well.  Christ not only leads us beside still waters and green pastures, but He makes sure our emotional and mental needs are met as well.  Why did I spend a paragraph talking about reading the Bible and specifically Psalms? Christ knows every tear you shed (Psalm 56:8), and has new mercies fresh every morning for us (Lam 3:22-23).

Psalm 23:4 “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.”

Very few of us have been through a valley that we could call the shadow of death.  Teens face struggles just as challenging as any adult though, so I won’t discount this will hit home.  When we are so depressed that we wish we wouldn’t wake up in the morning, Christ is there.  When someone close to us passes away, Christ is there. When you think hurting yourself is OK, Christ is there.  You need to realize that God is as real as the everything you see around you.  If you are saved, God has a part of himself inside of you.  The Holy Spirit of God named the Comforter in some places of the Bible.

Teenager, never think hurting yourself or suicide is an option.  It’s selfish to think that Christ doesn’t have a will planned out for your life.  Notice the two things the shepherd has in his hands.  The rod is a club that is used to beat off predators of the flock.  Christ wants to protect you from harm that comes from the outside.  The staff is there, sometimes with a crook at the end, to lead and help the sheep from hurting themselves.  I’ll put it in bold so you can read it.  Christ never wants you to hurt yourself.  He loves you dearly.  He gave his own life in order to save your life.

Jesse McCammon

Assistant Pastor

Lighthouse Baptist Church, Flint, Mi