Of all of the Psalms, this one most finds it’s home in the human heart. One simply has to begin to recite the first words and many can begin to say these precious words. “The Lord is my Shepherd…” You’re thinking through those first words now, aren’t you? Psalm 23 has a permanent place in our consciousness as a place of peace and gratitude. A prayer expressing more than ‘thank you’ … but a breathless sigh of relief and comfort.
I’m a proponent of new translations, but none of them strike the same chord as the KJV in this passage.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. ~Psalm 23
Though my spell-check doesn’t like some of those words, I love them. It’s a prayer I do not have to personalize, it is as personal as my name. It is a prayer I do not have to try to identify with, as it tells my story in each line. It’s a prayer that addresses my deepest needs, my loneliest walks, my strongest fears, my greatest challenges, and my surest hopes.
On that day when life has beaten you up and you feel the shadows of discouragement creeping in, turn to Psalm 23. Let the beauty of gratitude flow over you. You have a Shepherd who loves you, and you can now face tomorrow…and forever.