Do you have any special memories that come up when you read, hear, or think of Psalm 23?
Maybe it was granny’s favorite Psalm. Or maybe it was read at the funeral of someone you love. You may have seen it on a plaque or memorized it as a child.
This passage stirs up all sorts of emotions, doesn’t it?
David, who wrote this Psalm, tells us in the first verse, “The Lord is my…” He then finishes it with “shepherd.”
Think about the word “my.” The verse doesn’t say that the Lord is “a” shepherd or “our” shepherd. It says He is “my” shepherd. To me, “my” means personal possession.
Just ask any toddler. “My” means that toy belongs to me. It is covered with my drool, practically crushed in my little fist, and treasured as if it is the only toy I have. It is my personal possession.
David talks about God as if God belonged to him and he belonged to God. In other words, the relationship is intimate, safe, and permanent.
Sister, do you, like David, talk about God as if He belongs to you and you belong to Him? Is God personal to you?
When I think of the Lord as my shepherd, I feel safe with Him. I see how He has guided me through green pastures and dark valleys. And, to be honest, when I really lean on Him as my shepherd, I feel the freedom to be as needy and dependent as a sheep.
Psalm 23 is not an arm’s length, past-tense, wouldn’t-it-be-nice kind of passage. It is personal. It is a right here, right now, up-close passage about you and your Shepherd.
But “shepherd” is just one way to illustrate God’s character. There are many other verses in the Bible that also describe how the Lord is a personal God to you.
Maybe today you need to be reminded of how the Lord is a personal God. Here are four Scripture passages to get you started.
1. The Lord Is My Portion
The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot. (Psalm 16:5, NASB)
When you consider the Lord is your portion, you’re reminded that He is all you need. In all the areas of your life where you may feel insufficient or weak, sister, He is enough.
2. The Lord Is My Rock
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2, NASB)
With the Lord as your rock, you learn that He will stabilize and ground you when life feels shaky. And when He steadies you, oh girl, you are steadfast and unshakeable.
3. The Lord Is My Salvation
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread? (Psalm 27:1, NASB)
When you consider the Lord is your salvation, you take refuge in Him. You run to Him and He welcomes you, defends you, protects you, and preserves your life.
4. The Lord Is My Strength
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him. (Psalm 28:7, NASB)
The Lord is your strength and helps you deal with the fears that rise up in you. He gives you what you need to make it through whatever the day brings.
When Scripture tells you that the Lord is your shepherd, your portion, your rock, your salvation, your strength … Scripture is shouting the truth with the intensity of a 3-year-old, “The Lord is mine! My shepherd, my portion, my rock, my strength. Mine!”
I love that!
He is a right-now, up-close, personal God to you, sister. And He cares for you.
If you wouldn’t describe your relationship as intimate, safe, and permanent like David did, my prayer for you is that you will. And I’m also praying that my Bible study, Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me (LifeWay, August 2018), will help you explore the depths of God’s care for you tucked in the psalm you’ve always loved.
How are these qualities of God’s character are personal to you? Do you have any additional verses that remind you how personal He is?