Psalm 23, or The Lord Is My Shepherd is a Roman Catholic funeral poem most popularly read by Priests. It is read before burying the deceased. It is also sung in a Mass as a responsorial. It is a funeral prayer with the perfect message and teachings for everyone.
It gives the message that God is wherever we are. He is with us always and He does not leave us even in our Death. Believers have nothing to fear, not any evil and not even death because they will never have to face it alone. This poem is perfect for the funeral of a loved one.
The Lord Is My Shepherd
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever
Message Of Psalm 23
Psalm 23 uses the life of a shepherd to put to the table a very hopeful message. God provides us with guidance, care, protection, abundance, and refreshments in all walks of life. The poem makes us confident that we will have God’s favor always.
The poem uses metaphors throughout, let us break them down and understand what is being said in the poem.
Lie Down In Green Pastures
Green Pastures indicate a cool and calm place where we can stop and rest for a while. In this context, the Green Pastures are our final resting place. Since the Lord is our Shephard, He is our caretaker. He knows where to take his flock for fresh water and green pastures. The Lord will guide the believers to a place where they can rest their minds, souls, and bodies.
Paths Of Righteousness-For His Name’s Sake
God has pledged to the safety of his people. He provides for everyone. God is not the one who chooses to only give benefits to his believers. We all are his children and he looks after us even in the darkest of times.
Often times when things are going well, we tend to forget our Lord. But the Lord never forgets us. He is always near at all times. Even if we stray from his path, he waits for us. He forgives us for all our wrongdoings. Even when we forget him, he patiently waits for us to remember him again. He never forgets but always forgives. The Lord is ever-loving. Just like the flock of sheep, He guides us to safety.
This gives us motivation that our loved ones who have passed on are under the care of our Lord, even though they no longer walk on his earth, they enjoy an abundance of rest in the lush green pastors of God Almighty.
The Valley Of Shadow And Death
This is the verse that gives us the whole context of the poem. Even when we are walking through the lonely, dark valleys of death, we have nothing to fear. We know that God will guide us with his staff and comfort us with his presence.
Man has nothing to fear because God is abundant. Just like a shepherd, he will carefully guide us through the valley of shadow toward the light. All we have to do is seek his guidance and we shall not be disappointed.
I Will Dwell In The House Of The Lord For Ever
The follower of God has no enemy to fear. God is the Almighty. He has the ultimate power over everyone. Once we choose to walk his way, we will have his house to live in forever. Forever is a word that continues even after death. It is infinite. And to know that we will have God’s house to live in forever gives us hope for life after death. It gives us hope that death is not the end of anything, it is just the mere start of a new beginning.
Even though God’s house is a metaphorical place, it is used to introduce the idea that even in our loneliest times, we will have a place to go. Death can never do us apart from our loved ones.
History Of Psalm 23
Psalm 23 was written by King David in 1,000 BCE estimated. David was a firm believer and he knew that God will never abandon him no matter what. This is why he wrote the poem. To plant the same feeling of hope and trust that he had in God in his followers
This poem is famously used by both the Christian as well as the Jewish faith in prayers. It is the perfect example of trusting in God.
Also Read: I Asked God