Psalm 23 1-6
‘The Lord is my Shepherd…. He restores my soul…. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…. You prepare a table before me…. Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the House of the Lord — for ever!’ Psalm 23:1-6.
Calvin comments: “It is the duty of a good shepherd to cherish his sheep — and when they are diseased or weak, to nurse and support them. David declares…this was the manner in which he was treated by God. ‘The restoring of the soul’…is of the same import as ‘to make anew’ or ‘to recover’….
“True believers, although they dwell safely under the protection of God, are notwithstanding exposed to many dangers…. As a sheep, when it wanders up and down through a dark valley, is preserved safe from the attacks of wild beasts and from harm in other ways by the presence of the shepherd alone — so David now declares that as often as he shall be exposed to any danger, he will
have sufficient defence and protection in being under the pastoral care of God….
He says…’I will fear no evil…, for Your staff and Your crook comfort me!’…. When David reflected on the adversities which might befall him, he became victorious over fear and temptations in no other way than by casting himself on the protection of God…. It is not against the common and ordinary calamities of life only, that he opposes the protection of God. But against those which distract and confound the minds of men with the darkness of death….
“David here makes an allusion to the dark…dens of wild beasts…. When an individual approaches, he is suddenly seized…with an apprehension and fear of death…. God, in the Person of His Only-begotten Son, had exhibited Himself to us as our Shepherd…. Lift our eyes to behold it! And, keeping them fixed upon it, tread all fears and terrors under our feet!…
“David…now repeats…what he has…declared concerning the beneficence of God…. By His liberality, he is supplied with all that is necessary for the maintenance of this life. When he says ‘You prepare a table before me’ — he means that God furnished him with sustenance…. Although many malicious persons envy his happiness and desire his ruin…, yet God does not desist from
showing Himself liberal towards him….
“‘Surely goodness and mercy!’ Having recounted the blessings which God had bestowed upon him, he now expresses his undoubted persuasion of the continuance of them to the end of his life…. When he said to himself before that even amidst the darkness of death he would keep his eyes fixed in beholding the providence of God, he sufficiently testified that he…continued shut up in the Word of God…. He entertains the hope that as the goodness of God never fails, He will be favourable towards him even to the end!
“‘I will dwell in the House of Jehovah (for ever)!’…. He does not confine his thoughts to earthly pleasures or comforts…. The mark at which he aims, is fixed in Heaven…. To reach this, was his great object in all things!” For God is with me, even in the valley of the shadow of death!