(e.g. john 8 32)

Psalms 23:4  (King James Version)

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Topical Studies
<< Psalms 23:3   Psalms 23:5 >>

Psalm 23:4

Jesus, bouyed by the hope of the resurrection of the dead, could go through that terrible death, knowing that God would be with Him. He knew that God would forsake Him, but He also knew that He would ultimately raise Him from the dead.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Christ's Death, Resurrection, and Ascension

Psalm 23:1-6

Here is a summary of the lessons in this amazing psalm:

Verse 1: Do I really recognize God's right to me? Do I respond to His management?

Verse 2: Sheep must be free from tension within the flock, fear from the outside (e.g., pests, predators), and not hungry.

Verse 3: Though we may become cast down, our Shepherd will seek us out to save us from ourselves.

Verse 4:

  1. Instead of loving myself most, I am willing to love Christ best and others at least as much as myself.
  2. Instead of being one of the crowd, I am willing to be singled out and set apart from it.
  3. Instead of insisting on my own rights, I am willing to forgo them in favor of others.
  4. Instead of being boss, I am willing to be at the bottom of the heap and to eliminate the drive for self-assertion, self-determination, and self-pleasing.
  5. Instead of finding fault with life and always asking why, I am willing to accept every circumstance in life in an attitude of gratitude.
  6. Instead of asserting my will, I am willing to learn to cooperate with God's wishes.

Verse 5: The only way to the tablelands (our goal) is through testing and trial, but we learn through these that He is with us. His rod denotes correction and His staff denotes guidance.

Verse 6: He has gone on before us to prepare the tableland. He thoroughly identifies with us and ensures that we can make it. He anoints us, cares for us continually, and promises that we will be in His flock.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Psalm 23 (Part 3)

Psalm 23:1-5

Psalm 23:1 says, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want," another instance of Yahweh. This name for God is frequently combined with other words to form more specific descriptions of Him. Psalm 23 is in reality a brief expounding of eight names of God in the first five verses. It brings to light:

YHWH-Roi—God our shepherd—Psalm 80:1.

YHWH-Jireh—God our provider—Genesis 22:14.

YHWH-Shalom—God our peace—Judges 6:24.

YHWH-Nissi—God is my banner—Exodus 17:15.

YHWH-Ropheka—God our healer—Exodus 15:26.

YHWH-Zidkenu—God our righteousness—Jeremiah 23:6.

YHWH-Shammah—God is present—Ezekiel 48:35.

YHWH-Mekaddishkem—God who sanctifies—Exodus 31:13.

Each of these names provides us with building blocks of knowledge to strengthen and encourage us in the use of faith.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment

Psalm 23:4

Most frequently, the staff is used in three ways. The first is drawing sheep together into an intimate relationship. This is of special interest during lambing season, because in a large flock there are often dozens or scores of lambs being born at the same time. It is easy for the ewe to lose her lamb in all of the confusion. The shepherd has to make sure the right lamb gets with the right ewe.

For those who have just a few sheep, that would be no problem, but when there are hundreds and sometimes thousands of ewes in one flock, the staff becomes very important. As much as he is able, the shepherd watches the lambs being born. Then, if there is any confusion at all between the lamb and the ewe, he uses his staff to hook the lamb around the neck through the body (a very deft maneuver), picks the lamb up by his staff, and carries it to the proper ewe. He cannot touch the lamb. If he touches the lamb, the ewe will not suckle it because there is a wrong odor—the smell of the man—and the ewe fears it too much. It will not feed it. These are the lambs one may see people feeding with a bottle. The staff, then, is used to bring the lamb into an intimate relationship with its ewe.

Secondly, the staff is used to reach out and grab a lamb for close inspection. In this way, it frequently precedes the passing under the rod. The shepherd hooks it by the neck or leg and leads it to where he will examine it.

Thirdly, the staff is used in guiding the sheep as they are moving along, because sheep tend to wander off. They always think the pasture is greener somewhere else, and they start to wander away. The whole flock will be going one way, but there will be one that heads in her own direction. The shepherd will frequently use the blunt end to jab the sheep in the ribs and nudge it back in the direction of the flock.

The staff represents God's Spirit. It indicates gentle guidance, whereas the rod suggests sterner measures such as offense or defense—protection. God leads, guides, by His Spirit. Recall John 16:13, where Jesus told His disciples that He would not leave them to fend for themselves, but He would provide another guide: "However, when it, the Spirit of truth, has come, it will guide you into all truth; for it will not speak on its own authority, but whatever it hears it will speak; and it will tell you things to come."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Psalm 23 (Part 3)

Psalm 23:1-6

Many of us know this psalm, written from the standpoint of a sheep, by heart. Have we ever considered it to be a Sabbath psalm? Or one of God's Kingdom or of Christ's life, death, and resurrection into His rest?

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Christ's Death, Resurrection, and Ascension

Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Psalms 23:4:

2 Corinthians 13:5


<< Psalms 23:3   Psalms 23:5 >>

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