David’s Words, They Comfort Me

Published 5:14 pm Saturday, July 29, 2023

By Dean Kelly

On my first ever ride on a train across the eastern portion of South India, I was watching out the window as we neared a river. In what I would call a river bottom, I saw a large number of sheep.

There, leading them, was a shepherd. He had a cane in his hand and was with his sheep like shepherds have done for thousands of years. I could not help but picture Psalm 23 as I watched him.

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In almost every funeral that I have taken part in, at some point I read the 23rd Psalm. I do not read it for the one who has passed on into eternity. I read it for those of us who are left. 

King David, who wrote it, very well could have written it late in his life, with vivid memories of his time as a shepherd boy before he became a mighty warrior and king. The passage takes the view of the sheep that are being cared for by a shepherd. David applies this view toward God as the Great Shepherd. 

As our Shepherd God takes care of our needs (I shall not want).

As our Shepherd God provides us with rest (green pastures, still waters).

As our Shepherd God revives our souls (restores my soul, paths of righteousness).

As our Shepherd God is with us, even in times where we face death (the valley of the shadow of death).

As our Shepherd God provides us with confidence and comfort (fear no evil, rod and staff comfort me).

As our Shepherd God gives us hope (goodness and mercy, dwell in the house of the Lord forever).

And for us today, unlike David, we have another Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20) who loves us and gave Himself for us on the cross. What great comfort we should have in that.