The Lord is my Shepherd!
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Before King David was ever a king he was a shepherd. He wrote this psalm because he knew what a shepherd had to do to keep his flock fed.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
The shepherd leads the sheep where the grass is good and edible.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
The waters are still so the sheep will not be swept away while drinking. They are truly in need of someone to lead them where it is safe for they know not how to find those places themselves.
He restoreth my soul.
The shepherd looks after the sheep. If one becomes sick it is he who will nurse them back to health.
He leadeth me in the ways of righteousness for his namesake.
Sheep are by nature, rather stupid. They can find themselves wondering off the path only to get lost and if nobody is there to help them they will die in the wilderness.
The Shepherd is there to guide them out of the wilderness to those green pastures once more.
Yea, though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
For thou art with me.
The sheep will learn quickly to trust the shepherd, who will save them from would-be attackers or their own temptation to eat poison’s food.
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
The shepherd uses the rod as a tool to prod the sheep in the right direction when he would otherwise wonder off and get lost. It also steadies the shepherd and gives him a tool to fight off any foe to the sheep.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
The shepherd walks behind the sheep prodding them when they wonder off and keeping them safe as they travel the trail.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
At the end of the trail is life everlasting. A place where there is nothing but green pastures. Nothing but still waters and nothing but eternal beauty.
I am among all men, most richly blessed:
That, my friend, explains itself.
The truly interesting thing is we are like the sheep. We need the shepherd. We need someone who can see where we are heading with our lives before we destroy ourselves. We need to trust him and we need to respond humbly to the staff which prods us to correct our ways.