Psalms 23 – The Path to Eternal Life
February 11, 2013 Bible Answers That Make Sense, Blogs, Character Development by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

Several months back, in one of my Bible Studies I shared my understanding of the meaning of the 23rd Psalm – that is is a Psalm of the experience of salvation from sinner to eternal life. Several have emailed me and asked for my take on this psalm, so I have summarized it here. 

“The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want”

God is watching out for me and I don’t need to worry about where my support will come from. He will provide all my soul needs.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters”

He will first provide soul nurturance, support, sustenance to strengthen me and prepare me

“He restores my soul”

He will heal my inner man, cleanse my conscience, and restore my individuality

“He leads me in the path of righteousness for his name sake”

He will lead me in the path which restores me to righteousness, the path that makes me right inside, like He originally intended, so that He and His ways will be glorified in my life

“When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me

He, then, after providing for me, strengthening me, cleansing my conscience, removing my guilt, restoring my individuality, leads me in the path to ultimate righteousness, the path through the valley that feels like I am going to die. The valley in which self surrenders and is crucified, the valley which frees me from the domination of fear and selfishness.

“Your rod and staff comfort me”

He comforts me with his shepherd’s rod and staff, which is used by the shepherd to beat back my attackers, and lift me out of the ditch when I fall

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”

With my critics and accusers and enemies all around He provides me a rich bounty of spiritual food to strengthen and develop my soul

“You anoint my head with oil”

He provides His Spirit to enlighten, cleanse, renew, and give wisdom

“My cup runs over”

My heart, renewed, cleansed, and freed from fear and selfishness runs over with love for God and my fellow man

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life”

Living a life of love results in goodness and mercy following in my wake wherever I go

“I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”

And, having been recreated by God, I will forever be a living stone in the Lord’s heavenly temple!

This is God’s plan: to heal and restore us for eternal life with him, in reality!


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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.
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