In John 10 Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd and so makes a particular claim on this Psalm. It is Jesus the shepherd who provides for our wants and invites us to relax and be restored and to find hope, even in the face of dark and evil times. Psalm 23 is undoubtedly a Psalm of comfort seeking God’s restoration for our souls.
In our contemporary Australian lifestyle our lives appear to be getting busier and more frantic even though we live in a world that appears bright with lights. But the light is artificial, neon and fluorescent, and whilst it may cast away the shadows the darkness lurks underneath. People are feeling overwhelmed in a rapidly changing environment as our souls are consumed in the business.
The amount of information which we are exposed to is immense, especially if we spend time on our computers surfing the net. Opening web pages and blogs has become an assault on our senses with a multitude of images and even sounds bombarding us with information.
TV’s occupy prominent positions in households tutoring us to be consumers, increasing our desire to own more stuff, and indoctrinate us to a lifestyle pursuing individual happiness.
Walking through the streets and in the shops immerses us in the rush and bustle of society, lost in a sea of faces. We can sit alone in a food court with a thousand other people, isolated in our independence from one another.
For families the list of events and demands turns parents into taxi services and children into slaves of the next activity that they must attend to have a well rounded life.
Psalm 23 calls to repose again by the still waters of God’s presence ad to restore our souls. This is about rediscovering whose we are and what is important in our lives. Drawn into the community of God’s presence breathing deeply of the Spirit our lives are reorientated and our souls are restored so that we declare with hope:
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.