Psalm 23 draws from a common image in an agricultural culture where most people were familiar with the relationship of sheep to their shepherd. In our culture, we are more familiar with having pets that we care for and, in many cases, are like family members! The idea is that God as the shepherd or owner is committed to offering the care that we need at all times.
Our difficulties come when we decide that God isn’t coming through like we need/deserve and so we take matters into our own hands. This is where we get off track and into trouble. The following passage reminds us of God’s ability and promises to meet our needs, regardless of our circumstances. It was written by Paul, a pastor and church starter, who was under house arrest and awaiting trial because of his faith in Christ.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and
honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. 10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:6-13 (NLT)