Now, I am sure a lot of people have heard this psalm in some quotation or song or special reading.
People who believe in God or not have used this piece of literature to comfort and encourage one another in difficult moments. It has been the last words spoken to many people departing from the earthy life.
Henry Ward Beecher, the great American preacher, reformer and activist ( specially known for standing for the abolition of slavery) said this about Psalm 23.
“It [Psalm 23] has charmed more griefs to rest than all the philosophy of the world. It has remanded to their dungeon more felon thoughts, more black doubts, more thieving sorrows, than there are sands on the sea-shore. It has comforted the noble host of the poor. It has sung courage to the army of the disappointed. It has poured balm and consolation into the heart of the sick, of captives in dungeons, of widows in their pinching griefs, of orphans in their loneliness. Dying soldiers have died easier as it was read to them; ghastly hospitals have been illuminated; it has visited the prisoner, and broken his chains, and, like Peter’s angel, led him forth in imagination, and sung him back to his home again. It has made the dying Christian slave freer than his master, and consoled those whom, dying, he left behind mourning, not so much that he was gone, as because they were left behind, and could not go, too.”
“The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough.”Psalms 23:1 TPT
To me,it’s so personal, so intimate, so close like the air we breathe and take it into our lungs. My shepherd, my best friend… my own, mine.
And boy, do we need that? We are all like sheep the Bible says, easy to be afraid and run in the wrong direction, timid, stubborn and always stumbling into dangerous situations. That is why we need a shepherd, a loving Shepherd who loves us unconditionally comes after us when we go astray, cares for us when we are broken and weak, protects us and fulfils our needs and desires.
A shepherd marks his sheep so that everyone knows they belong to him. We are marked with the Holy Spirit, we belong to God and nothing can snatch us from his hand.
Can we say: I am his and he is mine?