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5 Ways God Sustains Us (from Psalm 23)

The Bible says that God sustains us. More than that, it shows us how he sustains us.

I don’t know about you, but I easily forget this and am often in need of God’s gentle and encouraging reminders. Reminders like those found in the first three verses of Psalm 23. Just one lovely spot to visit in the unending treasure trove of scripture.

Come and join me in savouring five gems of God’s sustaining care from this much-loved psalm - Psalm 23:1-3 (NIVUK). Marvel at the wonder that even in these few lines God sustains us through his living and active word by the Spirit. In joy and in sorrow and everywhere in between.

5 ways God Sustains Us (Psalm 23) 1. God provides - from By the Brook Creations

1. God provides

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” Psalm 23:1

I don’t know much about sheep but I do know they are very vulnerable creatures.
Dependent creatures.

The shepherd was, and is in some places still, the one who looks after, protects and provides for their sheep. And however we go about it the fact remains that sheep need looking after.

I’m struck by how often I feel the need to forge my way on my own. Now I know in my head that’s not what we are supposed to believe but when I look at how I behave and how burdened and exhausted I feel I can see that this is how I function. This is what I functionally believe much of the time.

But did you notice this verse? It’s not the sheep that have to go out there on their own. No, the shepherd provides for them and sustains them. And so David the psalmist can say that he lacks nothing because God provides all that is needed.

Even in difficult circumstances.

How can that be when life so often feels out of control? Because our status in Christ is secure. He stepped into his world to rescue and redeem. He has us and he will lovingly carry us into that certain future when Christ returns and makes all things right and new and perfect.

So while we wait and struggle the shepherd, our shepherd, is with us and keeping us.

And don’t miss David’s use of God’s special personal name for use by his beloved people which our English Bibles often denote with LORD in all caps (Exodus 3:14-15). How amazing, this all-powerful God calls us his. He is close, he cares.

5 ways God Sustains Us (Psalm 23) 2. God gives rest - from By the Brook Creations

2. God gives rest

He makes me lie down in green pastures” Psalm 23:2a

For a sheep to lie down and rest it needs to be safe. The shepherd is that safety, he is the one who gives rest. He makes the sheep lie down in a green pasture (aka gourmet feast and best mattress ever).

So it is with God’s children. He alone is safe and will ultimately provide rest and refuge. In Christ we have that guarantee.

I’m so tired of striving and performing and running on that hamster wheel. Perhaps you are too. How amazing when I remember that I can stop and speak to him. He may not change the circumstances but he is our rest in the midst of them. He is merciful, gentle, patient and kind. Giving grace upon grace.

What a wonder to keep growing in doing good works as an outworking of being saved. An outworking of being his instead of striving in a mistaken attempt to earn approval and safety.

5 ways God Sustains Us (Psalm 23) 3. God gives peace - from By the Brook Creations

3. God gives peace

he leads me beside quiet waters” Psalm 23:2b

I love a good view. Sitting and admiring a quiet lake or tranquil sea. Throw in a sunset and it is bliss with a satisfied sigh.

This shepherd leads his sheep beside peaceful waters.

For the turbulent anxious heart in the valley of pain and suffering, for the apathy and weariness in the monotony and drudgery of everyday life, the Lord wants us to know he is with us. He leads us to know him and know peace in him. And that peace is a person. That peace is Jesus.

In the midst of the storm (whatever that may look like) this Jesus is in the boat with his people. Yes, he’s able to calm the storm, but while he doesn’t, he is with us.

5 ways God Sustains Us (Psalm 23) 4. God is the soul refresher - from By the Brook Creations

4. God is the soul refresher

he refreshes my soul” Psalm 23:3a

Think of that first drink when you’re parched. The relief, the refreshment.
Or if like me you like a good spa treatment, how you feel when you’re done.

Moments of joy like these point us to the far greater reality of the God who refreshes our souls. Wow. One day we will no longer struggle. No more exhaustion, weakness, worry, anxiety, difficulties, frustrations etc.

How wonderful that the Spirit is working in us even now to grow us in knowing his refreshing care. The care of the one who alone can satisfy our thirst.

5 ways God Sustains Us (Psalm 23) 5. God guides - from By the Brook Creations

5. God guides

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake” Psalm 23:3b

By the word and the Spirit the Lord guides us along the right paths. That is he guides and grows us in doing good, obeying him, and loving him and one another. Living as we were designed to live. We grow in Christlikeness developing and using the gifts he has given for his glory and our good.

These are the right paths. This is his will for us.

Or as Psalm 16:11 puts it “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

This is what it is to flourish. Living the way God designed us to live. The path that leads ultimately to being in God’s presence forever. A whole and perfect community replete with worship and purpose and joy.

Experienced now in part and one day fully. So if we’re anxious today about what God wants us to do we can remember that our highest calling, what is for our greatest good, is this to live his way.

And God, the patient, kind and caring shepherd, leads us in those paths now. Little by little, step by step.


These verses help us see some of the ways God sustains us. And here’s an example of how we can use them in our prayers:

For ourselves

Lord, please help me to know you as my shepherd, provider and sustainer. May I know in Christ I lack nothing. Make me aware of your care, of you as my refuge leading me in peace beside quiet waters in the midst of my circumstances. Would I know you refreshing my soul today. Help me delight in your guidance along the path of life and may my life make much of you.

For others

Sheep are communal creatures, and so are we. Here’s an example of how to pray for someone we love who is going through a difficult time.

Lord, please help my friend to know your shepherding care today. May they know your provision in the midst of the storm. Would Christ be their safety, peace and refreshment. Would they know your guidance in all they do and that following you is what they were made for. Lord, would you be pleased to work through me to love them well.

Sheep encouraging sheep

The ahaa moment for me in these verses is the proactive party: God.

The LORD is our provider, rest giver, peace bringer, soul refresher and perfect guide. He’s powerful, gentle and kind. He cares and he sustains. He has promised to do so and he cannot be untrue to his word.

He is THE shepherd.

And spectacularly he uses us in caring for one another. His sustaining care happens as sheep encourage sheep. The body, the church, being built up in Christ. Often in seemingly small everyday ways.

So if you’re looking for reminders of God’s sustaining care to encourage fellow sheep or yourself then I’ve got these Psalm 23 inspired goodies for you:




I just found this lovely, thoughtful post and want to thank you so much for sharing these insights God has shown you. I am facing health issues and this post really helped to remind me of God’s great love and care for each of us. It’s truly beyond our comprehension! I am planning to explore your website, which looks splendid as well. I’m so pleased to have found your site and felt a real pull to send you encouragement and love from the States.


I am so grateful of this teaching, it’s been helpful in my preparation for teaching my bible class today. Keep up the good work. Blessings to all.

Bobbie L Brinkley

I fell in love with the teaching of Psalms 23 I will use this in my Bible Study Thank you for the Revelation of God’s Word 🙏 🙏

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