Still Waters

Psalm 23 – The Lord is My Shepherd

Psalm 23 is probably the most well known psalm. Its reassuring message of our loving Shepherd has brought peace to many. But before we look at the message lets take a look at some of the structural elements.


This psalm seems to be purposely paired with Psalm 22.  Both psalms can be divided into two parts because of a change of address from talking to God to talking about God. Psalm 22 asks the questions "Why have you forsaken me?" and Psalm 23 responds with the assuring words "You are with me."

Another interesting characteristic is the menorah pattern in verses 2-5. This is a pattern used in the Old Testament to imitate the shape of a Menorah:  a central idea with three ideas on each side that support the central idea (See also Psalm 14.) In this case it is the 7 acts of God done for the believer:

Makes me lie down in green pastures
Leads me beside still waters
Restores my soul
Leads me in paths of righteousness
You are with me
You prepare a table
You anoint my head

A final structural element of note is that the covenant name of God, "YHWH", is in the first and last lines - as if God surrounds the believer.  The Lord, our Shepherd goes before us and behind us to lead, protect and provide.

The Shepherd Provides All I Need

Psalm 23:1-3

With the Lord as my Shepherd I will have no wants.  He provides all I need.

The Shepherd Comforts Me

Psalm 23:4

With the Lord as my Shepherd I have nothing to fear.  He protects me.

The Shepherd Honors Me

Psalm 23:5

With the Lord as my Shepherd I am honored before my enemies. My cup is full and overflowing.

Notice that God is pictured here honoring his people, just as Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. God takes joy in your honor just as we should take joy in honoring Him.

The Shepherd Will Never Fail Me

Psalm 23:6

With the Lord as my Shepherd I will dwell in God's presence all the days of my life.

Are you seeking rest, comfort, honor and faithfulness? Then look to the Lord, your Shepherd!

Jerry Wyrick

This post is part of a series on the Psalms.

by Jerry Wyrick, President of Worship Arts Conservatory

Posted in General Worship, Personal Worship, Psalms and tagged , .