Psalm 23:1-6 (NLT)
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. 4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. 6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
Many of David�s psalms are filled with the problems he is facing in life. Usually David expressed the deepest pains of his heart and reflected upon how God was always with him even in the most difficult of times. In Psalm 23 David expresses nothing but his delights, comfort and the great goodness he finds in God. David understood his faith in God and how it was sufficient to meet the needs of his life. David recognized God for providing salvation and that he would spend eternity with the Lord in heaven because of his faith.
As a boy David was a shepherd and in Psalm 23 David uses metaphors related to his younger years. He said, �Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.� A pastor friend of mine spent time as a missionary in Africa. Living in Africa he was responsible for his family�s welfare, which included herding sheep. Sheep in remote countries are often used for meat, skins, milk and wool. Each day there were chores related to the sheep. He had to lead the sheep to food and water. Stubbornly sheep sometimes won�t move so the shepherd carries a rod, which is blunt stick, to prod the sheep along. A tap from the rod on the rear and the sheep gets moving. Sometimes the sheep would wonder into a ditch which they could not get out of. A staff, which was a long pole with a crook at the end to put around the sheep�s neck, was used to help pull the sheep up out of the ditch. David�s reference to God�s rod and staff was a reminder sometimes God has to give us a little push to get us going back on the right path. There are other times God has to rescue us from what we have done to ourselves. We should delight in the fact whether we are being disciplined or rescued God does so because He loves us. God wants to protect and comfort and that is something we can find great joy in.