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Psalm 23:1-6

Psa. 23:1-6
Jehovah is my Shepherd; I will lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside waters of rest. He restores my soul; He guides me on the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I do not fear evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You spread a table before me in the presence of my adversaries; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of Jehovah for the length of my days.

This psalm tells us that Christ's shepherding of us is in five stages.
1. The first stage is of the pastures and the waters of rest. Pasture and waters are for our nourishment, including cherishing and enjoyment.
2. The second stage is the stage of the path of righteousness. The paths of righteousness indicate our walk. After we enjoy Christ, are filled up with Christ, and are nourished by Christ. we walk on the paths of righteousness.
3. The third stage is the valley of the shadow of death. The valley, the shadow, and death are not pleasant. Christ's shepherding leads us through the valley of the shadow of death.
4. The fourth stage is the battlefield, where we are fighting against the adversaries. At the battlefield, a table, a feast is spread for us.
5. The fifth stage is to dwell in the house of God all the days of our life.
(Ref: Life-study of Psalms)

We have a very good hymn about Psa. 23. Stanza 1 of this hymn reflects verse 1 of Psa and so on. Verse 6 of Psa. 23 is the chorus of the hymn.

Stanza 1
The Lord is my Shepherd forever,
He maketh me down to lie,
He leads me beside the still waters
O how He doth satisfy!

Surely goodness, lovingkindness shall follow me
All the days, all the days of my life;
Surely goodness, lovingkindness shall follow me

All the days, all the days of my life.
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever,
And I shall feast at the table spread for me;
Surely goodness, lovingkindness shall follow me
All the days, all the days of my life.

Stanza 2
My Shepherd Himself is my pasture,
My Shepherd, the waters of rest;
I eat of His riches in spirit,
I drink, and O how I am blest!

Stanza 3
My Shepherd my soul is restoring,
My will, and emotion, and mind;
And though through the valley I'm walking,
O what a Companion I find!

Stanza 4
A table prepared by my Shepherd
I feast on and Satan destroy;
My head is anointed with oil,
Mt cup runneth over with joy!

Stanza 5
And now in His house I am dwelling
Enjoying the goodness of God;
My pleasure is far beyond telling,
My pleasure is Jesus my Lord!

If we realize that we are sheep, we will see that we are weak, defenseless, and have the tendency to stray away from the flock. Therefore, we need the Shepherd to shepherd us. The good thing about the sheep is that they only know how to eat, drink, listen to the Shepherd, and follow the Shepherd wherever He leads the flock. Sometimes, when it's time to pass through the valley of the shadow of death, we may tend to beat around the bush if we struggle on our own and lose our direction, not realizing that our Shepherd is actually shepherding us to pass through our situation or environment. So, that's why the enjoyment of the Lord's riches comes first. Without enjoying the Lord on a constant basis, it is very easy for us to stay in the valley and not coming out it despite the Lord's calling for us to come back to His flock.

However, where does all this take place? If we are not in the church, we lose the shepherding of Christ. Outside of the church, without the church, there is no way for Christ to shepherd us. This is because He is the Shepherd of the flock, and the flock is the church... The best place for our amusement is the church life. If we decide to stay home instead of coming to the church meeting, we will suffer loss. To avoid this suffering, we need to come to the church meetings. In the church meetings, in God's house, we can enjoy the divine goodness (the grace of Christ) and the divine lovingkindness (the love of God) following us (in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit) all the days of our life. (Ref: Life-study of Psalms)

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