Psalm 23 is a chapter in the Bible that is very familiar with Christians all over the world. I myself memorized it at the age of 5. So when I decided to make gratitude a habit for this month and focus on gratitude from a biblical standpoint, I was a little perplexed that this was the first place God lead me to study. I didn’t really understand but His Spirit encouraged me to look at this chapter from the lens of gratitude! I was completely blown away at the affects gratitude can have on my life from this chapter after doing so. Here is what I found.
Verse 1 - GRATEFUL FOR THE BLESSINGS IN FRONT OF ME
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
When I have an attitude of gratitude I’m not stressed about obtaining the material things I want because I’m focused on how God, my Shepherd, has provided for all my needs. I notice amazing things going on in my life when I am grateful instead of noticing the amazing things going on in other people’s lives that I want but don’t have. When I focus on my wants I miss the blessing right in front of me. God has already taken care of my needs.
Verse 2 – GRATEFUL THAT I DON’T HAVE TO FIGURE IT ALL OUT
“He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.”
He leads me to the provisions, to the open floodgates where my supply is never ending. He wants to meet my needs, desires, and wants but I must step back and allow Him to do so. I need to stop getting ahead of God by thinking I know the right direction to the ample supply He has for me, and start following Him there.
Verse 3,4 – GRATEFUL THAT GOD TAKES CARE OF IT ALL
“He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil,
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Living righteously isn’t boring! Trust me! If you know my life story you know I am evidence of this. In fact, living for God is an adventure because God’s power can and will do incredible things in my life when I let it! He is a big God.
But I haven’t always lived righteously. What I’ve noticed since being right with God again is the incredible peace I have from this restored relationship. I don’t have to worry about anything, my needs, my enemies, my failures, my social status or my reputation. He takes care of it all and He vindicates me. I don’t have to worry about my future, death, evil, or sadness even though those things will come my way. He promises to always come to my rescue.
He allows those things to come into my life so I see my need for Him and relinquish the control I’ve given myself over my life. This world will hurt me because it is broken. But I don’t have to allow the brokenness of this world to break me because I can look with gratitude on every season and circumstance. By doing this I am able to see how He is working and how I am growing and learning. With that gratitude will come a restoration of my soul out of the ashes.
Verse 5 – GRATEFUL FOR HAVING ENEMIES
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
It is easy to show kindness or gratitude towards those who love me, but what about my enemies? David wrote this Psalm and he had many enemies. People he thought he was close to tried to kill him or take away his rightful God anointed position. But God always took care of David. His cup was never dry and he learned many things from the hardships his enemies caused him. When I am in the midst of my enemies I have a heightened awareness of my fears, doubts, and what is going on around me, I’m more self-aware.
When God delivered David’s enemies over into David’s hands he chose to allow God to vindicate him instead of vindicating himself. Planted in the house of the Lord the righteous man will flourish regardless of what is around him. The enemies of the Lord will perish.
Verse 6 – GRATEFUL FOR THE PROMISE
“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Gratitude is the gateway to the dwelling place of the Lord. It’s the gateway to being blessed. It’s the gateway to love, acceptance and many good things in life.
So I end by asking this question, what are you grateful for today? Today I am grateful for God’s truth and how He desires to reveal it to a willing heart that’s ready to learn and open to change.