The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
I know…this is the most recalled Psalm for a lot of people when they think of the Psalms. It is well known, but I think part of its popularity is that it is a perfect reflection in so many different moments in life. Whether it is a challenging time, a time of transition, or a time of happiness, it speaks to our life experiences and our relationship with God.
It is also short enough to be memorized. As we dropped off our oldest to college for the first time, we joked about knowing this Psalm by heart; and she does. It is one that she can call upon as she crosses this threshold with the assurance that God’s goodness, mercy, and providential love follow her no matter what.
As an adult, this has been one of my favorite passage that I have committed to memory as well. It has a special place in my heart as it has been an important passage in a number of life’s meaningful moments: marriage, ordination, baptism for our girls, etc. It is a verse that captures images of God as a shepherd as One who watches over me, who protects and provides, who guides me at all times of life, and who is always with me.
Loving God, thank You for being our shepherd. We are grateful for Your guidance, care, and protection. We rejoice at Your constant provision and steadfast love. Remind us to look for the ways that You provide for us. Help us to be grateful and share Your goodness with those around us. Amen.