Psalm 23 Resource Guide

Psalm 23

Who wrote Psalm 23?

The Book of Psalms was written by King David. It contains volumes of powerful verses of thanks to God, verses that beseech God in times of need, and verses of praise to God for his wondrous acts and creations. Psalm 23 is one of the most well known of all the psalms. It is brief, just six verses long, but it is filled with meaning. In the psalm, King David describes God’s care and protection as all-encompassing. King David goes on to say that his trust in God does not falter, even during his most difficult moments.

The meaning behind the verse:

A psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still water; 

He restores my soul; He guides me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. 

Though I walk through a valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; 

Your rod and Your staff - they comfort me. 

You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; 

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 

Only goodness and steadfast love shall pursue me all the days of my life. 

And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for all the days of my life.

King David composed the Book of Psalms during some of the most challenging times of his life. According to biblical sources, David wrote Psalm 23 while on the run from King Saul, who wanted to kill him. David survived thanks to God’s protection and Divine intervention, inspiring him to express his gratitude to God through the psalm. 

What is the significance of Psalm 23?

By referring to God as a shepherd, King David alludes to God’s protection. God cares for His people just as a shepherd tends to his flock. Our relationship with God is a personal one, in which He provides us with all we need, ensuring that we lack nothing. 

David himself was a shepherd in his youth, and understood well the doting relationship a shepherd has with his flock of sheep. Similarly, God provided for the Israelites when they wandered the desert, sustaining them with the miracle of the manna. God does not abandon those who adhere to him. So, too, our belief in God is unwavering, and remains consistent even in times of hardship. 

Psalm 23 is traditionally recited during the Sabbath meals, particularly during the third meal when the Sabbath wanes and we prepare to begin a busy, new week of work and challenges. It is also often read during funeral or memorial services, as it mentions God’s presence even when one is in the valley of the shadow of death. In times of sorrow and in times of joy, Psalm 23 is a source of uplifting strength and comfort that reaffirms our trust in God. God is a loyal shepherd who will never forsake us, and his eternal protection will draw us close for all time. 

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