Journey Through The Scriptures

Psalms of Comfort and Hope

Lesson 1: The Shepherd and His Flock

(Scripture to Read: Psalm 23)

It is most appropriate that we begin this study with the psalm that has, no doubt, brought more comfort and hope to people of faith than any other passage in the Bible. This profound psalm of David speaks of God’s provision, restoration, guidance, and protection for those who follow Him. Psalm 23 speaks universally to all who hear it, for all of us have been weary, hungry, thirsty, and afraid of the“valley of the shadow of death.” The imagery of the Lord’s rod and staff gives us a picture of a Shepherd who defends us and will never let us stray from Him.

In verse 5, the picture changes to that of God as Host of a great banquet, an image of abundant love (see Song of Solomon 2:4). David’s banquet was prepared “in the presence of ” his enemies –the last place a warrior would want to be under normal circumstances. But David was not afraid because God had promised to be with him. It was customary in biblical times to anoint a dinner guest with oil, a sign of welcome. David looked forward to sharing in God’s banquet, which will never end because of Hischesed, the Hebrew word that speaks of God’s never-failing covenant love.

Study Questions

  1. Why is the imagery of God as our shepherd particularly comforting to us?
  2. How is it possible to enjoy the peace and rest of “quiet waters” even when life is turbulent?
  3. How can we have hope even when we are in the dark “valley of the shadow of death”?
  4. Why would David want to “dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (v. 6)?

Something to Think About

With a series of word pictures that speak of calm, peace, assurance, and many other blessings, this amazing psalm reminds us that God is in control of our circumstances –and more importantly, that He is always with us. Take some time amid your busy days to thank the Lord for His comforting and guiding presence.