Today we’re going to start a series based on one of the best known, most widely used, most mis-understood, mis-directed parts of scripture:
We all know it. Even people who know almost nothing of the Bible have some familiarity with both John 3:16 and Psalm 23.
It’s used in funerals, especially in movies and tv. It seems to often be quoted in strange situations. It’s made into posters, and is a solid contender for “scripture you most likely saw cross-stitched in someone’s grandma’s house as a child.”
But like so many things we get very familiar with, we can lose sight of it. It’s the ole’ ‘water to a fish’ situation.
However, it is anincredible teaching on contentment.
A sheep that lies down even when surrounded by food. It is not scared even when in scary situations. It can see and appreciate what is given to it by its shepherd. Sheep that find – to use Dallas Willard’s words, ‘a life without lack.’
So we’ll spend the next few weeks digging into The Shepherd’s Psalm.
Trying to understand more clearly how the truths that have always been there, actually have a lot to say to use about contentment in our lives today.
Read through Psalm 23 in a different version than you normally do, or even in a paraphrase (like The Message or The Amplified Bible). It’s actually really short – probably much shorter than you realise. Listen to it spoken to you
Listen to one of these musical arrangements:
- The House of God Forever – John Foreman
- Psalm 23 (Surely Goodness, Surely Mercy) – Shane & Shane
- Psalm 23 – Peter Furler
- Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt, BWV 112 – J.S. Bach
Even do an image search – even if it’s just to see how our culture thinks of this Psalm. Look at how ‘the good shephard’ is portrayed. How many seem destined purely for children.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.