We memorized this as kids, along with the Books of the Bible, and dozens of other verses. The 23rd Psalm is a multi-use scripture. It’s comforting in difficult times, encouraging in good times, and calming in fearful times.
Recently I learned some facts about sheep that has brought new light to this old standard:
- Sheep only lie down when they are satisfied and feel safe. Thus the concept of ‘laying down in green pastures’ looks different.
- Sheep can’t decipher between gentle streams and unsafe waters. So when the Shepherd leads them beside ‘still waters’ he does so to protect them.
- Sheep have a tendency to get themselves in trouble either by getting stranded on ledges, entangled in shrubs, or jump into raging rapids…thus the hook of a Shepherds staff is designed for rescues – it is made to wrap around a sheep’s neck so the shepherd can gently guide them out of danger.
With those in mind…The 23rd Psalm
You are my shepherd and provide everything I need.
I can rest in lush green pastures – because I know I am safe.
You know my limitations, inabilities, and tendencies, and You lead me to safe waters.
You renew me every day and guide me in the right direction.
Even when I’m walking through dark valleys – I am NOT afraid because You are always near.
When I find myself stranded on a ledge, or entangled in relationships, or have foolishly jump into unsafe waters, You are prepared to rescue me.
When life is at its darkest and I feel as though I am being attached from all sides, You find ways to bless me, to shine light into my dark days.
You’ve chosen me and have covered me in Your love…and it’s more than I can comprehend.
You allow Goodness and Mercy to follow me everywhere.
I will spend all my days living in Your presence.
These words take on new meaning when they are read as a promise instead of a hope…