Friday, October 14th. Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.  He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long. Psalm 23

 

What is it about this psalm that sets it head and shoulders above the rest?  As familiar as any other famous passage in the Bible, what is it about this psalm that strikes me as fresh and anew this morning?

 

Is it the poetry, the “must be painted in watercolors” beauty of green pastures, still waters, dark valleys? 

 

Is it the personal character of the language – my shepherd, leads me, with me, comfort me, follow me, I shall dwell?

 

Perhaps it is the memories we associate with this psalm.  Especially for me at this stage in my life, these words evoke memories of family after family sitting in my office planning a loved one’s funeral.  “He always loved the 23rd psalm.”

 

I’m sure it is all of these for me.  But this particular morning, what strikes me is the irony.

 

From earliest childhood we are taught that our deepest values are freedom and individualism.  We’re taught to stand on our own feet, to depend only on ourselves, to chart our own course in life.  Frankly, while all of that is good, it doesn’t make for much of a life.

 

It isn’t a very far walk from freedom and individualism to loneliness, emptiness, and purposelessness.  While separateness is important, togetherness is required if we are to truly have a life.  The 23rd psalm, although written in personal terms, is very much about togetherness.

 

It is about the promise of One leading, guiding, protecting and keeping us literally through all the days of our lives.  Through the peaceful times and the darkest times.  Now and forever.  It is a song of hope and promise.

 

We need both.  And the One who knows our every need has given us language for the journey.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious and loving God, be our shepherd today.  Guide us, protect us, keep us safe from anything that would separate us from you and those with whom we share our lives.  Bring peace into strife, hope into despair, plenty where there is want.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Friday, October 14th. Psalm 23”

  1. Randy Nelson Says:

    “Focus” is the word I try to keep in my head in this scripture. God is your shepherd & that focus (always) smooths out all the rough spots in life’s waters. Starting the day with these devotions adds focus to the rest of the day.

  2. willoboe Says:

    I am happy you are back with your insightful devotions.

    It isn’t a very far walk from freedom and individualism to loneliness, emptiness, and purposelessness. While separateness is important, togetherness is required if we are to truly have a life. The 23rd psalm, although written in personal terms, is very much about togetherness.

    I felt friendless this morning. A phone visit with a highschool friend and a drop in visit from a church friend made my day warm and complete. Togetherness is truely a blessing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: