"The Lord is my Shepherd" is one of the most popular phrases of Scripture, being quoted on wall hangings and heartwarming mugs for decades. But how do shepherds relate to modern society, and why do we need a God that’s compared to a farmhand?Need Help Now?
What does Psalm 23 mean?
What is Psalm 23?
Psalm 23 is a poem within a poetry book in the middle of the Bible. The book of Psalms has 150 worshipful prayers, songs, and poems in it, and more than 73 of them were written by King David. Before becoming one of the most famous and revered leaders in ancient Jewish history, young David was a shepherd. His reflections on caring for his flock of sheep helped him understand God's care for us, which is why David wrote this well-loved poem.
Why Is God Compared to a Shepherd in Psalm 23?
When you think of metaphors for a mighty God, does “shepherd” come to mind? Probably not. Instead, you might think of a warrior, a ruler, or an all-powerful deity. So why is the imagery of a shepherd so meaningful? This popular metaphor illustrates God’s deep love, patience, and protectiveness over His people. Because sheep are dependent creatures, they will not survive without a shepherd’s tender guidance to food, water sources, and quiet places to rest. Additionally, sheep are powerless to fight off wolves or other predators without the wakeful eye of their shepherd watching over them. God cares for us in the same tender way.
How Can Psalm 23 Comfort Me When I’m Sad?
Psalm 23 is a frequently quoted scripture for people who are sad, grieving, hopeless, or hurting because it promises God’s quiet rest, unceasing provision, and eternal goodness. Verse 4 states, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” With God as our guide and protector, we are never alone, and we’ll always have what we need most—even in the darkest, scariest moments of life.
How Can I Pray Psalm 23?
Psalm 23 is a poem that David wrote to worship God, so you can use it to help you pray when you’re scared or discouraged. To pray a Psalm, just read each line or verse aloud and then ask for those things to be true in your life. Ask yourself: how does this line show me something about God’s character? As you read each statement about God’s provision, protection, or love, tell Him the things you’re worried about in your own life and ask for His help. The Lord is your Shepherd too!