Psalm 23 is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible. I suppose it is made famous by hearing it over and over again at Christian funerals. It is usually printed on the back of the memorial folder given out to those attending the service of a loved one. The folder usually reads includes the obituary, dates of birth & death, and often Psalm23 is on the back.
As a hospice chaplain, I frequently read the 23rd psalm beside the bed of someone who is minutes away from dying, with the family gathered around the bed. It stirs emotions. Often tears flow. This is the end. My loved one is leaving us. Never to return in the same way again. Psalm 23 in our culture is associated with death.
But that is not the original intent of the Psalm 23. The original intent of these words were to point us to how wonderful God is… The Living, triune, personal, caring God. David wants us to know that the living God is our Shepherd. He is full of life.… and he leads us, guides us through life.
How does our Shepherd lead us?
Sometimes he leads us to green pastures and still waters. Leads us to a place of rest, calm, and peace in our souls (vs 2).
Sometimes he heads us through the deep darkness (i.e. shadow of death). Why would our shepherd leads us thru times and seasons of darkness? He asks us to not be afraid or worried during those times. Why? Because he walks with us. We can lean on him, draw close to him, get to know him. Suddenly nothing matters except HIM!