Lent Day 5

Day 5: Monday, 11 March

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd;

      I have all that I need.

2 He lets me rest in green meadows;

      he leads me beside peaceful streams.

3    He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

      bringing honour to his name.

4 Even when I walk

      through the darkest valley,

I will not be afraid,

      for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff

      protect and comfort me.

5 You prepare a feast for me

      in the presence of my enemies.

You honour me by anointing my head with oil.

      My cup overflows with blessings.

6 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.

NLT

This is one of the most well-known psalms. Its familiarity is increased through numerous hymns based on its words, though some of them employ a dash of poetic licence. David knows all about sheep and shepherds. Jesus took upon himself a shepherd title. Just before his arrest he quoted Zechariah 13:7: I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.

The psalm’s shepherd theme covers provision, refreshing and protection for the person who follows, and extends beyond the sheep analogy as it continues. From verse 5 David moves into a personal response to God for his protection. The extravagance of Father God in preparing the very best for us as our enemies watch and gawp is something that David had experienced in his life as a king and a soldier.

As you recite these psalms, and I urge you to speak them out aloud, you will start to feel the poetic nature they contain. I do not wish to give you a clinical analysis of the structure of psalms as this is something you can find out for yourself when your love of this book causes you to research further. Suffice it to say that many psalms pair up lines to expand a thought by telling it again in a new way. Can you see this happening in this psalm?

Are you able to join David in claiming verse 1 as a truth in your life?

https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/528. How has the writer of this hymn developed the theme?

Father God, in Jesus I have a Good Shepherd, who knows me and who will not let me go. Thank you that you should care for me in this way. Amen.

There are many versions of Psalm 23 – just click:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN4tPkX0MG0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo3HgtT_OiE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CglQuMr0ifk

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Paul