Monday, September 18, 2006

Psalms 23

A Psalm of David. (KJV)
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

David begins this Psalm with the lofty, “The LORD is my shepherd… I shall not want…” and we often hear ministers with deep booming voices draw that phrase out saying “The LOOOORD is my shepherd… I shall not want…”

But did you ever notice that as David writes the Psalm, he begins by referring to God in the third person - “He makes me; He leads me; He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths…” .

Then, when he gets to the real struggles, when the real "troubles" of life hit - the valley of the shadow of death - David turns from the lofty declaration of “The Lord” to “You” are with me.

He turns from talking about the Lord to talking to the Lord, personally. “Your” rod and “Your” staff - the discipline and the support - whichever is necessary, and sometimes both, they comfort me. We are comforted by the dependability and the consistency of the “rod” and the “staff.” They never waver and never fail.

Then he begins to say, “You, Father, prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies" - and what more fierce enemy can there be than death (or illness, or loss, or suffering) - and he says, “You pour the healing oil of comfort over my head in this difficult place.”

Then he says, “Surely - I am assured - that goodness and mercy will accompany me all the days of my life, and I will settle down and be comfortably at home in the house of my Lord - my Father - forever!”


Most of us grew up hearing, reading, and memorizing this Psalm from the King James Version, as I quoted above. But, read it now from the New Living Translation (as follows.) It will really touch your soul…

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

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