Rest | psalm 23

by

Before we dive into the intro of A Fresh Start tomorrow, let’s spend another day dwelling on the promise of rest from the Lord.

Today we’ll read Psalm 23, perhaps the most familiar of all Psalms:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

Psalm 23

Aaaand, deep breath.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

Could I ask you to do something? Could you read it once more, this time a little more slowly? Notice the various images of peace and rest, and allow them to sink in. Meditate on the words awhile.

.   .   .

Rest. Peace. Stillness. Provision. Guidance. Comfort. Restoration. Assurance. Confidence. Security. Blessing. Anointing. Belonging.

We are not promised freedom from trouble, but we are promised comfort and care, a shepherd with a watchful, compassionate eye. We are not promised victory over all our foes, but we are promised a place at the table, a place of belonging, the favor of the King. We are not promised an easy path, but we are promised rest and refreshment, goodness and mercy for each leg of the journey.

Let’s sit in this chapter today. Let’s lie down at the Good Shepherd’s feet and rest awhile, knowing He has never – not for one moment  – stopped watching over us.

Psalm 23

____________________

We’ll see you here tomorrow for the introduction to our next plan – A Fresh Start!

  • Just a short note to say how blessed I am to have found this website.
    I will be back tomorrow for more blessing.

  • larahannah

    ‘Surely goodness & mercy will follow me all the day of my life’
    I remember a pastor of mine once saying those words ‘follow me’ was translated to mean ‘chase me down’ ‘Pursue me’. An action verb taking place on Gods part. His goodness will chase me down all the days of my life!

    I have to ask myself. Do I believe that? Do I REALLY really believe that? Or do I look at others people who are married to gorgeous men of God & have healthy children already at my age & think ‘Gee God has been good to them’ and kinda feel like ‘why hasn’t God been that good to me?’

    I’d be lying if I said I truly believe in my heart Gods goodness is always chasing me down… Especially when I’m walking through those valleys as 2013 was for me.

    But what an unbelievable picture to be reminded of…. In the midst of the darkest & deepest troubles & pain he leads us to still waters…. He comforts us, guides us, places value on us & sets us apart for his purposes amidst the adversaries we face in our lives….

    It reminds me of another Psalm… Possibly my favourite Psalm. Psalm 73. Where Asaph rabbits on & on about how everyone is against him, life is hard etc etc etc… Until.. Vs 16 ‘But when I thought how to understand this,it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God;then I discerned their end.’

    It’s like when we walk through these valleys… We have these moments of sheer utter clarity… Almost when we are at our breaking point & feel totally hopeless… We see God in all his glory for who he is…. our shepard, our father, who in the midst of hardship takes us by the hand & leads us by still waters & says ‘trust me, give me your yoke, let me carry it & I will give you rest. This is not for nothing, your struggle is not in vain. Trust me I know what I am doing & I’m your daddy who loves you more than you could possibly ever know.’

    Then by the end of Psalm 73 Asaph is able to say
    ‘Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on this earth that I desire be does you. My flesh & my heart my fail but God is the strength of my heart & my portion forever’

    How I want my heart to echo those very words!

    Similarly the end of Psalm 23 concludes with an all consuming faith in Gods all sufficiency
    ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow meall the days of my life,and I shall dwell in the house of the Lordforever.’

    Someone once said to me
    ‘When God is all you have left… You realise he is all that you need’

    I think Psalm 23 & 73 both sing loudly of this truth.

    May I never for 2013… The valley that is was for me… But more importantly may I never forget how awesome God is to have pulled me through it & all the while be changing me into the woman he so wants me to become because of it…

    God bless you sisters xx

  • Absolutely love this passage.

  • Rhonni_l

    Hi ladies, I've been following shereadstruth for a long time but hadn't shared posts before as I live near Sydney Australia & am a little behind you all. However God has gently pushed me to join in, so here I am!
    I also loved reading psalm 23 this morning and also take great comfort knowing that our shepherd wants & teaches us to rest in Him. This allows us to hear His voice in our busy worlds, gives us another opportunity to submit to Him in love & faithfulness, as well as remind us that we are NEVER alone.
    Love hearing your take on psalm 23. I have learnt so much from you lovely ladies & look forward to sharing our thoughts & experiences in 2014. Have a great & blessed day (or night wherever you may be!)

  • I am reminded of Hinds' Feet on High Places when I read this passage. It brings tears to my eyes to know that Hannah Hurnard based that entire allegory on these references to Christ being a shepherd and being able to tread on the heights with the Lord. It all just brings it to life for me. Our Shepherd is so sweet; He is so strengthening, so loving. Lord, quiet my soul with your love today. "The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing." -Psalm 34:10

    • debbates

      Beautiful.

    • EssieJean

      I love Hinds' Feet on High Places, and Mountains of Spices as well! They are one of the most beautiful pictures I've ever read of the relationship between ourselves and the Lord!

    • Dee

      Hi Annalee I was given that book to read and I loved it I cried at some parts and was upset and angry at other parts but really loved it I think every women no matter what you are going through needs to read that book be blessed my sister in Christ xxx Dee

  • Oh, how I needed to be reminded of this today! My home is very unsettled right now, and I have been emotionally charged–in the negatives! What a beautiful, gentle reminder to rest in Him . . .

  • EssieJean

    Although I've never associated this Psalm with funerals, it does have an association with death for me, but not necessarily with sadness. Keith Green has a wonderful piano and vocal piece that comes directly from the text of this psalm. I learned it in order to play it for my Grandpa (who was very sick with cancer) because he loved to hear me play the piano and sing.
    Sadly, I didn't finish learning it before the Good Shepherd took him home, and I couldn't make it to the funeral as I was on a mission trip at the time. After I got home from my mission trip, the first thing I did was finish that song. THe Lord spoke so sweetly to me through that experience of His ever-constant presence at my side, no matter whether things go "my way" or not. Now ever time I play it or read this psalm, I am so grateful for a Good Shepherd who knows each of His children's needs no matter how small, and meets every one.

  • This too was my first Scripture to memorize. The Lord has used it as a reminder to rest and be peaceful and to give others that peace. Sometimes parts of this Psalm are whispered to me by Our Lord at the most interesting times. That is when I know I am called to action to share this message of restoration.

  • I think that we get so used to this passage being used for funerals that when we read it we skim it because we have heard it so many times before. I like how you asked us to read it again slowly so we can let it sink in. I took out my study Bible and read through the notes on each verse and it makes it come alive…..it's not just for those sad times, but for everyday!
    It stated that sheep are very fearful….they don't rest easily. So when the Good Shephard leads them…they follow and can find the rest that they need. I love that! Not only that,…..
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me…not only does the Good Shepherd lead, but He pursues us with His goodness and His wonderful mercy.

  • Audrey Assad does an absolutely beautiful song with these verses! It's my alarm clock every morning! http://youtu.be/CO7UXya62ko

  • My love for this passage grows more and more… Just as you mentioned above, I love the promises in each verse… I don’t remember where I found this, but I wrote each of these words (many similar to yours above) in my Bible as a visual reminder of the provision in this chapter.

    The Lord is my shepherd {relationship}; I shall not want {supply}.

    He makes me lie down in green pastures. {rest}

    He leads me beside still waters {refreshment}

    He restores my soul. {healing}

    He leads me in paths of righteousness {guidance}

    for his name’s sake. {purpose}

    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, {testing}

    I will fear no evil, {protection}

    for you are with me; {faithfulness}

    your rod and your staff,

    they comfort me. {discipline}

    You prepare a table before me

    in the presence of my enemies; {hope}

    you anoint my head with oil; {consecration}

    my cup overflows. {abundance}

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

    all the days of my life, {blessing}

    and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord {security}

    forever. {eternity!}

    I am so excited for the Fresh Start tomorrow. Praying for each of you!

    • Janee White

      Thank you so very much for sharing that. I am in a season of believing and relying on the promises of God, and this was just perfect. I totally wrote all that down, and will use this as a guide with other scriptures….

      Again, I cant thank you enough….

    • Deirdra

      I love this! As I was reading this I noticed several lines without a description behind it. So I thought I would add my own…here's what I came up with. (hopefully you don't mind me doing this)
      Your rod and your staff (discipline)
      They comfort me (strengthen) or (uphold)
      You prepare a table before me (provision)
      Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me (pursuing)

      Going to write this down so I can remember it! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • EssieJean

      Wow. This is a wonderful visual, and so encouraging. I'll definitely have to do this here and with other passages. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Dee

      Dear hope I loved what you wrote it is very encouraging and thoughtful with that psalms 23 be blessed Dee p.s I have just gotten onto this website and I love it I have seen and read some of the texts and emacs and I am blown away.
      Also as I have started reading the plan I have got a different view to the word and love it be blessed my sisters in Christ xxx Dee

  • Thank you for sharing thus. So often we women do not take the time we need to rest in our Shepherds lap and we get so weary. I appreciate the reminder. Be blessed with rest in The Father today.

  • I love the fact that HE MAKES ME LIE DOWN! We don't tend to do it ourselves. He leads, guides and restores. I love that! I'm so thankful for our loving shepherd. Looking forward to opening the word with this community of believers
    .

    • grace

      tammy! that's exactly the part that He's been speaking to me about! He MAKES us lie down and rest… He restores us. i never saw it like that until this past summer even though i've read and memorized this psalm since i was younger. there is freedom to rest in Him!

  • angieonmaui

    This Psalm is enough to make me weep with joy.
    There are a number of people I know, whose 2014 has begun with loss/grief, anger or struggle, and I pray that these precious brothers and sisters find their way to green pastures. The Lord is so loving and faithful – even in trials.

    As I continue to deepen my relationship with The Lord and fall more and more in love with Him, I still have moments every day where I am just totally and completely *amazed* by His love!

    Really looking forward to another study with this community!

  • I memorized this as a child but in the King James version. Psalm 23 is pure poetry and speaks to my heart. Every day I need the Good Shepherd. He laid down his life for us. Lord I pray that I always hear your voice and follow You.

  • Candacejo

    Thankful for this today. The reminder that He never leaves us nor forsakes us but walks BESIDE us, "Yea, though I walk through the valley…thou art WITH ME."

    I am sure many of us have needed the Lord to carry us from 2013 into 2014, but we made it! He walked beside us. Now we have found rest and a Fresh Start. He longs to restore, renew and refresh us for the journey that lies ahead! Here I am Lord!

    Makes me think of David Crowder's song, "Here's My Heart, Lord"…. http://youtu.be/p3UxfvNbBx0

    Blessed Saturday Sisters.

  • Monique Seah

    Thank you for the reminder that The Lord is with me, comforting me, and protecting me! I can’t wait to join you ladies in reading Fresh Start! Be blessed!

  • I have loved this psalm…. forever. It is one of my go tos….
    As I opened my journal to write my thoughts, I found a copy of my daughter Julees funeral service…..the first prayer….The Lord is my Shepherd….
    Thank you Lord God, that you are the Shepherd, that watches over us, that gives us rest, much needed Rest. Peace. Stillness. Provision. Guidance. Comfort. Restoration. Assurance. Confidence. Security. Blessing. Anointing. Belonging. I come today, with my load, and I lay at your feet…..knowing that I will find all I need with you….I will rest in your BLESSING, in your COMFORT, in your ASSURANCE, your PROVISION, . Thank you for the security, the guidance, the restoration. Thank you that with You I am home, Lord, that I belong, that You anoint me, full to overflowing , thank you Lord God for everything.
    I will rest at your feet …..I will rest…AMEN….

    Happy and God Blessed Saturday to you all.x x x

Further Reading...