Psalm 23 is most popular and well known of all the psalms. The psalm was ascribed to King David and he wrote this gospel towards the end of his life. The psalm is said to be the favourite by Jews and Christians alike, speaking as it does of God's care and protection.
The Lord Is My Shepherd
The psalm started with a figure of speech metaphor, the Lord is my shepherd. In a metaphor something is said to be something else that it clearly and accurately is not. And these words must echo by every Christian. Jesus is indeed the Good Shepherd but if were to be serious about how to pray and read this psalm we shall first know the meaning of shepherd. Centre our mind on His provision in the whole text we discover that three things appear. First, God is a personal Shepherd David declares the main focus in this great Psalm is because the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lack anything. This shows God being in love with His people as a kind, loving and caring shepherd. Because the Lord is my shepherd He supplies me with essential needs, and security. In the psalm 23 David normally uses the name Yahweh who is always seen as totally devoted to His people. David is confident that God will always meet and his present and future need for the good shepherd provides all that his sheep needs. This psalm was much beloved psalm of David makes by use of shepherd pattern to explain the deep faith and hope that is obtainable to every child of God. David begins by explaining the protection of the Lord as he made a journey through dangerous places and in the presence of my enemies. He ends the psalm with an expression of faith and hope in the Lord's protection, that God will furnish the goodness and mercy needed all through life. Christians all over sees this psalm as wonderful foreshadowing of the good shepherd Jesus Christ, who gave His life for me and you even watches over us.  David confirms that God's being his shepherd he concludes that he shall not want anything that is good for him. It's obvious that God takes good care of the believers because He is the good shepherd. David himself was a shepherd he knew by experience the cares and loving fondness of a shepherd towards his flock. A good shepherd is always kindness, skilful and faithful and also ventures his life to save a lamb. This however, David demonstrate God's care to his people, and to our saviour. David has confidence that God will always prevent him from facing danger. This was not just a blind hope that things would somehow work out. It was a vital and basic expression of biblical faith based on God's own self-revelation in Israel's history, that God was a God who worked in the world no matter the situation. In this sense the metaphor of the caring Shepherd and gracious host are actually different facets of the same imagery, God who takes the responsibility to take care of his people. Psalm 23 is an exegetical example of the Lord's shepherding for the provision of David needs. The eternal truth of the Lord's shepherding is God's special providence for the believers which is Lord's taking care for his people. We should observed some of the expressions used in this psalm starting from v.1 "I shall not want" as we all know that sheep are calm, fearful animals. They cannot provide what they want and also if they upset they do not make noise. If they serve with bad food or water they usually take whatever treatment is given to them. But a good shepherd knows that his sheep totally depend on him for a good care. A shepherd must know his sheep well so as to detect when they are ill or hurt. When God is our shepherd we fill contented because He knows all our need and truly cares for us as a good shepherd cares for his sheep. V.2 He makes me lie down in green pastures' sheep are usually so nervous and easily distress, they do not lie down easily unless if they sure all is well that could be fear of unknown. So when we say that God makes us lie down in green pastures, we are not only talking about a nice place of rest. Instead we are saying that God keeps us in a peaceful environment where we can rest. He leads me'. The good shepherd is always being the leader rather the follower he leads while the sheep follows. A shepherd first sees the water and found out if the water is fit for the sheep. So when we say that God leads us, we are simply saying that God moves ahead of us to discover what is best for us in life all we needed is to follow His command. Beside the still water'. Water is very essential commodity which every living soul need but it is much saver to drink from a clear, quiet pool. Our Lord Will leads to this calm places no matter the obstacles.  V.3 He restores my soul'. A good shepherd has a duty to cherish his sheep and nurse and support them when they are contacted with diseases. David confirms in this psalm that God treated him in this manner. By the paths of righteousness, he means easy and simple paths. As he moves ahead on this metaphor it would be out of place to understand this as referring to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Also David maintains that God sustains us by his power, energize and quicken us and removes every danger so that we can easily walk in plain and straight paths. However, David represents the goodness of God as the cause of so great liberality, confirming that God give all these to him for his own name's sake. V.4 Though I should walk'. Though every believer is under the umbrella of God protection we are exposed to many dangers and afflictions of enemy. David, however, made it clear that if any difficulty should befall him, he would bow upon the providence of God. Following his metaphor, he compares the care which God takes in governing true believers to a shepherd's staff. David sound clearer that even though he exposed to any danger, he will have sufficient defence and protection in being under the pastoral care of God. First of all he say, I will fear no evil; but he gave the reason on this, he frankly admits that he ask for a solution against his enemy all his hope focus on his shepherd. Jesus Christ the son God has reveal himself to us as our shepherd, which He made more openly as he did in olden day of our fathers who lived under the Law. However, we do not provide adequate honour towards his protecting care. V.5 Thou wilt prepare a table before me in the presence of my persecutors: David, however, maintains what he has previously declared toward the beneficence of God under the likeness of a shepherd. This verse simple tell us that God provide all that we needed to the maintenance of this life. When it says, Thou prepare a table before me, he means that God supplied him with nourishment without any trouble just as the father should show additional care to his child. V.6 Surely goodness and mercy: Having seeing all the blessings which God has restored to him he pledge his undoubted trust towards the end of his life. But David does not say this with the intention of imposing God's law but to express his gratitude to Him. And the last past of the verse I will dwell in the house of Jehovah: At this concluding verse he deliberately proves that he does not impound his thoughts to earthly pleasures. 
Throughout the Old Testament God is being described as the good shepherd of Israel. Leader in Israel are being placed on responsibility taking care, trustworthy and be a good shepherd to others. However, Jesus gives explanation in John 10 that He a good shepherd and also Jesus informing the congregation on how they can be saved through him and how He gave up his life to protect his sheep. The Lord satisfies all my needs because He wants us to be independently dependent upon him. As I was studying this psalm I realise that in life there are two options. If the Lord is my shepherd then I shall not want; but if I am still in need, then it clear that the Lord is not my shepherd.
- Bratcher, Dennis. The Psalm 23. http://.www.crivoice.org/lectionary/YearC/ceaster4psa.htm 2008.
- Bartholomew, Craig G. "Behind" the Text: History and Biblical Interpretation, The Scripture and Hermeneutics Series; V.4. Carlisle: Paternoster Press,2003.
- Copeland A. Mark. The Book of Psalms. http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec.outline/psa/psa_23htm
- De Jonge. E Joanne http://www.kids-teens.org/Bible/Psalm_23htm.11/30/02
- Morris, Joseph. Commentary on psalms. http.//www.ccel.org/org/calvin/co/com08.xxix.html
- Pound, W.I. Psalm 23 the Lord is my Shepherd. http://www.abideinchrist.com/message/psa23v1d.htm
- Roper, H. David. The shepherd Psalms. http://www.pbc.org/filesmessages/3748/0399.html
- Sire, W. James. Praying the Psalms of Jesus (U.K: Intervasity Press, 2007).
- James W. Sire, Praying the Psalms of Jesus (U.K: InterVarsity Press, 2007) 7.
- Wil Pound, Psalm 23 The Lord is My Shepherd http://www.abideinchrist.com/message/psa23v1d.htm 2008.
- Mark A. Copeland, The Book of Psalms http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outline/psa/psa_23.htm
- Dennis Bratcher, http://www.crivoice.org/lectionary/YearC/Ceaster4psa.htm 2008.
- Joanne E. De Jonge, www.kids-teens.org/Bible/psalm_23.htm 11/30/02.
- Joseph Morris, Commentary on Psalms, http.//www.ccel.org/calvin/co/com08.xxix.html
- David H. Roper, The shepherd Psalm, http://www.pbc.org/filesmessages/3748/0399.html