June 17, 2018
READ: Psalm 23
PRAY: Ask God to strengthen your faith so that you believe the assuring and comforting words of Psalm 23 and can praise God with confidence.
High above the entrance to my mother’s bedroom rests a framed copy of the 23rd Psalm. In a fancy floral and decorative font are the praise poem’s first sentence: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” The remaining words are too small to read due to the height limitation, but you can find this brief-yet-impactful Psalm, written by David, in your Bible and a plethora of other spiritual places. Many Christians have committed it to memory of their own volition or by Sunday school assignment (akin to memorizing Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” when we were in middle and high school).
Also known as “The Shepherd’s Psalm,” David likely wrote Psalm 23 while fleeing from Saul and his Army. In the King James translation of the Bible, one of the most dynamic passages of Psalm 23 reads:
“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for though art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
What a verbal high-five! Instead of fighting words in his time of trouble, David offers words to sustain our faith. Not to mention he cites God’s “rod” and “staff” as his sources of comfort. Those were tools a shepherd would have used for correction and direction. David knew that he could trust God’s goodness even in His discipline or withholding. My Bible’s preface to the book of Psalms notes that David trusted in God completely: “all that He is, all He has done, and all that He will do.”I kind of view it as an eternal spiritual blanket to comfort us, regardless of our state of mind. Aptly, it concludes with verse 6:
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
1. How would memorizing the Psalm 23 strengthen your prayer life and faith walk?
2. Do you currently rely on the Lord for every provision as outlined in Psalm 23?
Memorize: Psalm 23:4
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have what I need.
2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.