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The True Meaning of the 23rd Psalm

The 23rd Psalm is perhaps the most quoted Psalm in the Bible. It is also perhaps the most misinterpreted. To many, this is a Psalm of desperation, resignation, and gloom. In truth, it is perhaps the preeminent Psalm of prosperity.

 The Fallacy

Before we go to the truth of God's Word on this subject, let's expose the fallacy. Here's some of what many think of when they hear the 23rd Psalm:

     "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." This is interpreted as a command not to desire anything more than what you have.

      (2) "He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters." This verse is often understood as something like..."even though we are in the midst of all of our troubles, He will comfort us." Actually, this is only partially incorrect, as He does promise us comfort in this verse, just not entirely for the above reason. Many view this verse as eluding to some melancholy (fearful) form of false and pseudo peace.

     (4) "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me...." I think this oftentimes is interpreted as something like... "even though I must walk under the influence of death itself, at least He will be with me and I won't fear."

     We won't continue in this vein, but I'm sure you are beginning to get the picture. By many, the 23rd Psalm has historically been interpreted in the most negative and pessimistic of ways. Perhaps you also were deluded into believing some of the negative and false meanings of this great and mighty Psalm?

     Well, I'm here to tell you, it's all a lie. That's right, straight out of hell itself, it is one more deception the devil has been able to sell many in the body of Christ. Brothers and sisters, it is nothing less than a part of the devil's grand deception to keep us from receiving the truth and our full inheritance through Christ.

The Truth

Now here's the truth: The 23rd Psalm is a statement of what we receive through Christ.When it was written it was a prophetic statement of our rights and privileges, our inheritance, that is, what we were to receive as a deed title, through Christ.

     We'll go through the Psalm verse by verse with the aid of Strong's Concordance to help us uncover the expanded meaning of the original text. The Strong's reference numbers will be provided, in case you wish to see for yourself, that this interpretation of God's Word is accurate. (To those that are not already familiar with Strong's, it is a concordance, that is, an index, of all the words that comprise the Bible, and their meaning and origin in the original Greek and Hebrew texts.)
So here we go:

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want [2637]..."
     This word want meaning I shall not have lack. This is saying, that as long as you trust in, and depend on, and believe on Him, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (and yes, this is also a Messianic Psalm) you can expect and depend on Him to provide your every (godly) need. Boy, that's quite a difference isn't it!

(2) "He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters."
     You have no choice but to prosper when you believe on and depend on Him for your provision. This is what " pastures" is a reference to. In the pastoral setting of this Psalm, prosperity to a flock is what? Green pastures, of course! Provision. And the quiet waters? Naturally we have peace, our every need and care is attended to by Him, spiritually, mentally, physically, and financially.

(3) "He restores [7725] my soul..."
     The ancient Hebrew word shuwb loosely defined as 'restores' and referenced above, in addition, also means in it's expanded meaning "...fetch home again... (cause to, make to) return, reverse...." So what is this verse really denoting when He tells us "He restores my soul"? It means to turn back to or return back to an original condition. What original condition? The original soul condition - that same condition of Adam's soul before the fall. Remember? That deathless state of prosperity. That's what we have been put back, or restored to!

     To continue this verse; "...He guides me in the paths of righteousness [6664]..." 'righteousness' meaning "...equity and prosperity..." by Strong's, "For His name's sake." I can't begin to tell you how excited I became when I got hold of the revelation to this verse. Do you know what this is saying? He has declared you righteous - and because of this right relation in Him (the Father) you are now entitled to equity and prosperity. Why? For His name's sake. And who is His (the Father's) name's sake? Jesus... Just think about that for a moment. Because of His name's sake, Jesus, and what He has done on the Cross, and your belonging to Him, He blesses you with the deed title to equity and prosperity. Now that is blessing!

(4) "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil..."
     Why? Because you have been returned to the Adam state of deathlessness and prosperity, and only Jesus could do that. "But I'm not deathless" you might be saying. Yes you are, and this Psalm reminds you of it in the last verse when it tells us we will live in the house of the Lord forever. You are no longer dead to God. You have an inheritance. An inheritance of life eternally with Him, and of all the things He died for on the Cross - which is everything you might need - and every godly want also.

     Look carefully at this verse. It's "...the valley of the shadow of death..." not death itself we are walking through. It's the place or valley where death's shadow resides isn't it? It is not where death itself resides. Think about it. This is written to those who already belong to Him, it's prophetic - written for us in this time. Now that we belong to Jesus, it's only the illusion of death that we walk through. Death can't touch us unless we let it, through fear. What this is really saying is, that if we accept it, we've been set free of fear, and the death it brings. A more in-depth look at and understanding of fear is discussed in our book The Inheritance of the Saints Through Christ. It's eye-opening to see the true meaning of fear and it's impact on our lives.

     Let's continue with verse 4:  "...for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me." What does the rod and staff represent to the shepherd taking care of the sheep? He counts them with the rod, and protects them with the staff. If you are counted and one of His, and allow Him to be your Lord as well as Savior, in other words run your life, He promises to protect you and you shall have His promise of eternal life with Him.

     Now just in case we haven't gotten the picture yet, God goes on to expand on what this all means to us in verses 5 and 6.

     (5) "Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies." Yes, even in the presence of your enemies, God is saying that because of Him, our Jesus, and His work on the Cross, He will bless us (setting a table for us to eat). This verse is saying, it doesn't matter what the outside world does or thinks of us or what schemes the devil devises (our enemies)... our God is bigger and this is His promise to us who belong to Him.

     The last part of this Psalm is really "...exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think..." [Eph.3:20]

(6) "Surely, (with complete sureness) goodness [2896] "good things...favor...prosperity...wealth..." and lovingkindness [2617] 'favor, mercy,' '...will follow me all the days of my life...." Notice it says favor and mercy will follow me... I don't chase it... it will follow me.... "And I will dwell... (that is, live in and with) the house of the Lord forever."

Now, if that isn't prosperity and the deed title to it, I don't know what is.


In His Name and Service

                        Don Judd

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