Psalm 23

After Samuel anointed David, his life didn’t change right away. He continued to watch over his father’s sheep. He would lead them to get water, guide them to grassy pastures, and show them the safe roads.

Sometimes a lion or bear would come to try and take one of his sheep. Instead of running away screaming, David fought the wild animal, keeping it from eating the sheep.

But a shepherd’s work was not usually so exciting. Most of his time watching the sheep was boring. He would spend hours and hours on end simply sitting on the grass while his sheep ate, feeling either too cold, too hot, too hungry or too lonely.

Like most shepherds, David made the time pass by more quickly by playing songs on his harp. He wrote many new songs himself, which talked about how good God is, and how much He loves us.

David’s most famous song was inspired by his own work as a shepherd. He sang about God being like a shepherd, and people being like sheep who are protected by Him.

You, Lord, are my shepherd, so I know I will always be taken care of. You bring me to fields of green grass where I can rest. You lead me to streams of gently flowing water, and you refresh my thirsty soul. I follow your name, and you lead me along the safe paths.

Even when I walk through the scariest parts of life’s journey, I don’t need to be afraid. You discipline me for my own safety. When I am surrounded by those who want to harm me, I can feel as peaceful as if I am sitting at a feast that you have prepared for me. I get to be your honored guest. You fill up my cup with so much kindness and love, that it is overflowing. You are with me each day of my life, and I will live with you forever.

Meanwhile, King Saul no longer felt the Spirit of God guiding him. He was overwhelmed by guilt and his heart was never at peace.

“You need someone to sing to you to help you calm down,” his officials told him. “There is a man named Jesse whose youngest son is a harp-player. He sings songs of praise to God and the Lord is with him.”

So David came, and whenever Saul’s mind was distracted and he felt like he couldn’t think straight, David would play the harp and sing, and Saul was able to relax.

Saul was so happy with David’s help that he stayed at the palace for some time and became Saul’s armor bearer. But later, David returned to help with his father’s sheep again.