Psalter manuscript

Psalm 23: Jehovah is my Shepherd


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Jehovah is my shepherd,
There is nothing more I need;
Over mountain streams He leads me
To green pastures where I feed.
He, from all my soul’s distress,
Guides my feet in righteousness.

Though my path be through the valley
With death’s shadow over me,
I am confident no evil
Will destroy me suddenly;
For the Lord is by my side
With His staff to be my guide!

Soon, before my adversaries,
I will feast triumphantly;
Hand on wine glass overflowing,
Head upheld victoriously;
Solemn peace shall follow me
Now and through eternity!

Steve Layfield


The Christian is at peace within the hidden recesses of his heart. His comfort springs from his acknowledgement of his own sinful folly which the psalmist here depicts in terms of the relationship of sheep and shepherd. Sheep are wonderful examples of creatures especially dependent upon the guidance and protection of the shepherd. Like lost sheep, we are stubbornly prone to wander & pursue our own ‘univocal’ perspective. We sinfully disdain the wisdom & jurisdiction of our Creator. Instead of subjecting our every thought to the light of God’s Word and our keeping to the unseen hand of providence we foolishly pursue our own course through life. The result is anxiety, shipwreck and ultimate death.
This psalm echoes the sentiment of Christ in the tenth chapter of St John – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand (v27-28). cf ‘and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever’. O that we might recognise in the abundance of metaphors visibly set before us in creation the kindness, love and mercy of God available freely to us as covenant keeping creatures! Have you, my reader, reached out to the LORD your Shepherd? Do you discern His voice addressing in Scripture? Are you following His voice?

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