Putting the Right Focus On Psalm 23

Sunday, March 20, 2016

the Lord is my shepherd
Psalm 23 is undoubtedly the most well known chapter in the entire Bible. I can think of no other verses that are quoted more. The words of this chapter have brought great comfort to many in times of adversity and trouble. It is a powerful declaration of God's promised comfort, care, and protection for his children. However, the real intention of this Psalm is not what God will do for us but what we must do for him. The benefits described in this chapter are simply a result of something much bigger. To read Psalm 23 correctly we must come to the understanding that the focus is not what we will get from God but what we must give to God. With that said, take a moment and read that chapter in that context.

The Lord pointed out to me recently that we have been reading this the wrong way. Look at the first sentence: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." Do you see the comma? That one little character puts the wrong emphasis on this entire chapter. Now, see what happens when we replace that comma with a period: "The Lord is my shepherd." Period! That punctuation mark changes everything.

We tend to focus on everything after that first phrase. We want the prize but overlook the requirement to receive it. We tend to focus on the gifts rather than on the Gift-Giver! We spend an inordinate amount of time and energy striving after getting our needs met, finding green pastures and still waters, a restored soul, peace and courage in the valley of the shadow of death, confirmation of his presence, comfort, anointing, abundance, peace with our enemies, goodness and mercy, and finally, eternal security. What we fail to do is spend our time making him our Shepherd. The focus of Psalm 23 is the first five words with a period after it. Until we make the Lord our Shepherd, the sole focus and guide of our lives, we will never truly experience the rest of the chapter.

I hope you are beginning to see this Psalm in a brand new light. You see, Psalm 23 is not about us. It is about Him! The goal of this chapter is not the things we get out of it. The goal is making God the true Shepherd of our lives. The rest of the chapter is simply a byproduct of that. Those things are the fruit of a life led by the true Shepherd. This should be our declaration as we begin each day: "The Lord is my Shepherd! That's all I need."

Who or what is directing your life? You, circumstances, or is God truly your Shepherd? Make it your sole purpose today to make him your one, true Shepherd. It will literally change your life!

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