The Good Shepherd: Psalm 23 Psalm 23 is probably the most familiar passage there is in the word of God. No portion in writing of any time or of any work has been so widely circulated. Much has been written about this psalm, although its six verses are short and simple. I appears that the author, David, wrote this when he was an adult. You do not have the fantasies of a green, inexperienced boy but the mature reflections of a ripe experienced man. As in many of the writings in scripture this psalm is filled with symbology.
This psalm begins by saying, "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want'' (Psalms 23:1). In describing the Lord as a shepherd, David wrote out of his own experience because he had spent his early years caring for sheep. He recognizes the Lord as his Shepherd-King and through metaphor identifies him as such.
Sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection. David does not say he has not wanted, but that he is not in want. The New Testament calls Jesus the good shepherd. There Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10:11).
Next the psalmist says, "He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters" (Psalms 23:2). This beautiful verse expresses the contentment and security the sheep are enjoying. When sheep are lying down in green pastures, it means they have their tummies full. The "quiet waters" might better be thought of as "restful waters." David had sinned in his life when he had Bathsheba's husband killed. In his next verse, "he restores my soul. He guides me in paths...