I love Psalm 23; so much so that I have it memorized in the language of my childhood with the Yea, Thou art, and more. But when I want to think about this Psalm, I open my more modern English Bible and read the printed, written word. I always make myself read it more than once, savoring the familiar words, placing an emphasis first on the words that point to the Lord, and then the words that point to me.
Yesterday, however, I noticed something new as I found comfort in this most famous of the Psalms. I began writing out the Psalm as the thoughts came to my mind…
Psa. 23:0 A PSALM OF DAVID (verse 1 in Hebrew)
Psa. 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
…which means I don’t need to fear that my needs won’t be supplied
2 a He makes me lie down in green pastures.
…He gives me rest
2 b He leads me beside still waters.
…He gives me peace.
3 a He restores my soul.
…He makes me whole and puts all my pieces together; He carries my burden
3 b He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
…The beautiful name of Jesus (HIS name’s sake); who intercedes for me and who loves me.
4 a Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
…My parents, my grandparents, Alysia, Judy, Rich…
4 b I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
…I never noticed this before; suddenly the Psalm becomes person, touching my inner being… YOU are with me, even in death—the death of others and my own…
4 c your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
…guidance and correction
5 a You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
…I never thought about this either; my enemies are God’s enemies!
5 b You anoint my head with oil;
… Your spirit to guard my thoughts
5 c my cup overflows.
6 a Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
…They have, they are, they will follow me; God has goodness and mercy for me, no matter what
6 b and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
…My salvation is a done deal. Sealed in heaven, based on Him and not on me. A sure hope no one can take from me.
These past few weeks, the shadow of death has been particularly heavy, as I have considered the loss of my cousin, my 8-year legal wedding anniversary on May 23, and more. I find myself worrying about the future, even though I shouldn’t; I forget in my spiritual battles that if the evil one is harassing me, it is because He is God’s enemy as well… God won’t leave me… and when doubts pound at me, I need to remember, I really will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I pray these thoughts will encourage you as they have me.