Study Guide – Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.

How do the 2nd phrase of verse 1 relate to the first phrase of verse 1?

This is another psalm of Davvid. In verses 2-3, what actions does the Lord initiate in David's life?*

Why might the Lord need to "make" David lie down in green pastures or "guide" him along right paths?

What role does David have in these first three verses as the Lord takes the initative in David's life?

4 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

To what could David be referring in verse 4?** 

If the Lord is David's shepherd, why would he be walking "through the darkest valley"?

In verse 4, is David naive, foolish, numb or faithful? Why do you think so?

In what specific ways do you resonate with verse 4 today?

5 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever. NIV

Throughout history, Psalm 23 has been one of the most encouraging psalms because it reveals God to be remarkably comforting and overseeing in our lives. With this in mind, should it be alarming in verse 5 that David is still in the presence of his enemies? What would this scene look like?

Verse 6 contains at least the third reference to "following" in psalm 23. Looking back at this psalm, indicate the first examples of "following". Why are these first references essential to the "following" that occurs in verse 6?

How is the Lord's house different than your own?

::::: Equipping Challenge :::::

What specific aspects of this entire psalm do you need to embrace more deeply today? After giving thanks for all the Lord does as your shepherd, pray about that particular aspect(s) that needs the Lord's initiative today.

*See also the initation of action in verse 5.

**In order to enhance your understanding of the Lord as your shepherd, describe each component of verse 4:

Related articles

Study Guide – Psalm 1
Study Guide – Psalm 23
Study Guide – Psalm 99
Study Guide – Psalm 143
Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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