I love to read J. I. Packer concisely expounding a familiar biblical text. I'll try a tweet thread on Psalm 23 and the divine guidance of the believer.
1. Christians should read it as a declaration of what it means to be a believer led through life by the triune God who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the “he” who is “they.”
2. The picture is of the saint as a divinely led sheep. Silly and apt to stray as I am (“prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love,” ), my covenant God will not leave me bereft of either security or sustenance.
3. He provides rest (“beside still waters”), refreshment (“he restores my soul”), protection (“through the valley of the shadow of death”), enrichment (“thou preparest a table”), and enjoyment (“goodness and mercy shall follow me”).
4. Guidance is one facet of that total covenant care whereby the King of Love draws me into the destiny of deliverance and delight that he planned for me before the world was made.
5. Look more closely at verse 3: “He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” “Paths of righteousness” are behavior patterns that please God because they correspond to his commandments and match his moral nature.
6. Perceptive and prudent vocational decisions are certainly included, but the basic idea is that our holy God calls us to be holy. This is the essence of biblical guidance.
7. “For his name’s sake” refers to the furthering of his glory (i.e., our responsive praise for his revealed praiseworthiness) through his demonstration of covenant faithfulness.
8. The Lord is my Shepherd; he is pledged to watch over me, order my travels, stay with me, and bring me safely home. He will not fail in his commitment.
9. Finally, “he leads me” means that by his providential instruction he gives me wisdom to see the right thing—the best, the most fruitful, the purest and noblest, the most Christlike and God-honoring thing—to do in each situation, and he motivates me to that end.