When we think of Psalm 23,“The Lord is my Shepherd” immediately comes to mind! However, pausing and praying slowly through this well-known six-verse Psalm, unveils the character of God in greater depth, lighting up truths that can otherwise easily be missed. Consider prayerfully contemplating each one of these points over the next few days, while praying for more of His character to become visible in your own life.
1. Jehovah-Raah (the Lord my Shepherd)
Psalm 23:1 – The LORD is my Shepherd
The thought of God being our Shepherd brings such comfort, especially when having to make important decisions. In Israel, sheep would follow the shepherd closely, as he was constantly on the lookout to protect them from any danger. Also, when away from home with his sheep at night, the shepherd would put the sheep in a shelter made of branches or bushes, and then he would sleep in the opening so that none would go out or come in without him knowing about it. Likewise, the Lord Jesus is our Shepherd – if we choose to daily follow Him and take shelter in His presence, we will be safe from the dangers of deception and trouble.
PRAY: Lord Jesus, thank you for being my Shepherd, for knowing me by my name. Forgive me for the times I run ahead of you or through hardness of heart and sin step out of the shelter of Your presence. I choose again to submit to You as my Shepherd.
2. Jehovah-Jireh (the Lord my Provider)
Psalm 23:2 – I shall not want.
Another translation puts it: “I have all I need.” The first time God is mentioned as Jehovah-Jireh is in Genesis 22:14 when God provides a ram as a substitutionary sacrifice to Abraham, when he was about to offer his own son. Abraham, by faith, trusted God that He will fulfill His promise that he will have descendants as numerous as the stars. For us – Christ was sacrificed in our place so we may have life, and life in abundance. (John 10:10). God has also provided us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3).
PRAY: Father, thank you for the Cross and blood of Jesus that redeemed my life. Thank you for giving us all things that pertain to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3).
3. Jehovah-Shalom (the Lord my Peace)
Psalm 23:2 – He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
The first time this name appears in the Bible is in Judges 6:23-24. After an angelic encounter, Gideon built an altar and named it Jehovah-Shalom—the Lord is peace. Whenever we invite the Lord into our problem, our crisis, our pain or heartache, something supernatural takes place every time. Calm and peace flood our heart and mind, and bring us into His rest. (Philippians 4:7).
PRAY: Lord, I bring everything that troubles my heart to You right now andsurrender them at Your feet. I pray for Your peace that surpasses all understanding, to guard my heart and mind through Christ Jesus right now.
4. Jehovah-Rophe (the Lord my Healer)
Psalm 23:3 – He restores my soul…
This name, Rophe, or Rapha, means “The Lord is my healer, physically and spiritually.” As Israel crossed the Red Sea, God revealed Himself to them as the Lord who heals them. (Exodus 15:26). On the Cross of Jesus, that healing was perfected for us. Jesus was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (Isaiah 53:5).
PRAY: Thank you Lord, for restoring my heart, mind and soul through the sanctifying blood shed on the Cross. Thank you for Your wounds that have brought me healing from pain, sickness and disease.
5. Jehovah-Tsidkenu (the Lord is our Righteousness)
Psalm 23:3 – He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Jeremiah prophecied of a day when God would raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line to do what is right and just in the earth. (Jeremiah 33:15-16). This was speaking of Jesus’ coming. For us, no matter what we have done, when we call on His name, He is our Saviour. He alone is our righteousness and brings us in rightstanding with God.
PRAY: Thank you Father, for making me righteous as if I have never sinned. (Colossians 2:14). Lead me in the ways of righteousness throughout my life, for Your glory.
6. Jehovah-Ezer (the Lord is my Help)
Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Every believer who looks back on having passed through difficult times, will testify of the nearness of God amidst their circumstances. Psalm 63:7 says; Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. This is possible when we put our hope in the LORD. He is our help [Ezer] and our shield. (Psalm 33:20). God helps us in ways we cannot foresee or imagine.
PRAY: Father, thank you for being my very present Help in time of need. (Psalm 46:1). Thank you for protecting me in my going out and my coming in. Thank you for Your rod (discipline) and staff (direction) in my life.
7. Jehovah-Nissi (the Lord is my Banner)
Psalm 23:5 – You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…
Moses built an altar and named it Jehovah-Nissi after they gained victory in a fierce battle with Amalek. (Exodus 17:10–13). Because of the Cross of Christ, God has seated us in victory before the enemies of our soul – we are safe in Him! Call to remembrance the times God delivered you from your enemies and gave you victory.
PRAY: Father, I praise you for all the times You have delivered me from my enemies. Thank you that even now, because I am in Christ, I am hidden from the grasp of my enemies and can prosper in Your presence.
8. Jehovah-M’Kaddesh (the Lord who sanctifies me)
Psalm 23:5 – You anoint my head with oil…
In the Old Testament, the children of Israel had 613 laws that they had to keep to be holy in God’s sight. There were 365 don’ts and 248 do’s! (Leviticus 20:7–8). Praise God that through the death and resurrection of Christ in his physical body you are free from these laws once and for all. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. (Colossians 1:22).
PRAY: Thank you Father, that we are not saved by trusting in our own goodness or holiness. We are saved by trusting in You. Thank you for anointing us with the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth. (John 16:13).
9. El Olam (the Everlasting God)
Psalm 23:5 – My cup runs over.
Jesus is the cup of our Salvation. His love causes our cup to run over with mercy and grace. When we take communion, it is wonderful to drink that spiritual cup of His blood that paid the price for us. He is our portion forever! He is not just our God for the here and now. This life is eternal and will last forever and ever.
PRAY: Thank you Lord Jesus, for pouring out Your blood, for becoming true Bread and true Wine – so that when we eat and drink of You, we are partaking of you!
10. Jehovah-Nachalah (the Lord my inheritance)
Psalm 23:6 – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
An inheritance is something you receive after the testator passes on. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we now have access to all His house forever. It is never-ending! Psalm 16:5 says; O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot.
PRAY: Lord Jesus, thank you that you are the Way, Truth and Life into the very presence of our Heavenly Father. Thank you that when we choose to die and rise in Christ in this life, we have immediate access here and now to the goodness and mercy of Your house.