If you missed any of the reflections – here they all are:
- Intro to Psalm 23 – Not Just for Cross-Stich any more.
- He Leads Me – Not So Sure about That
- He Makes me lie down in Green Pastures – Do What to the Grass?
- He leads me – Path to What?
- I will fear no Evil – Not Just for Funerals Anymore
- For you are with me – Two Sticks of God
- You prepare a table for me – Grab a Bite, Wash my Hair, Spill my Coffee
- Goodness and Mercy follow me – Seriously! How easy is your life?
- Dwell in the House of the Lord forever – Nice place to visit – but wouldn’t want to live there.
I was humbled and honored to read what was sent to me. Some asked to not share, others merely commented on how helpful and meaningful it was. Others remembering how this passage was the last thing read to loved ones before their death, or how they have been teaching this Psalm to others for years.
Some who responded I’ve known since I was a child, others I’ve never met. But each response reflects a slightly different facet of the deep, true, beauty of this Psalm. Each of us tends to look at this diamond and focus on one of the particular facets of it. Each one is true, each is part of the whole, but only when we put all the facets together do we begin to see the full beauty of it.
I’ve taken a few snippits from several of you, and shared them below – hoping that your (collective) words speak into the lives of the rest of you as much as they have spoken to me.The part I am still thinking about is “Another way to ask it – do you want things from God – or do you want to be with him?”
I grew up in a family that did not share personal experiences or thoughts … and a lot of time was spent working. I didn’t play games, sports, or do other recreational activities, with family … I spent most of my time, when I was not doing chores or homework, alone, reading. … But just being with Him is a mystery to me … something I think about but am not very good at. Being without doing.
I like hiding in activity. It feels safer. Life has so much pain. When I can do something, it feels like a positive … I can contribute in some concrete way … ease someone’s path, bring a bit of the order that existed in the garden of Eden. But being … is something I continue to grow towards. I’m not there yet.
I had always thought of the table in the presence of enemies was almost a spiteful thing, but realized that it could be showing how confident we can be that God is looking after us that we can eat at his table without worry even though enemies might be close at hand.
I have learned that the Lord has called me to a life of following, trusting, resting and rejoicing, all of which is made possible by faith in and reliance on His goodness, power and mercy.
I often hold onto the translation that says “surely goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life”. It was a different perspective for me from “will follow me” which always seemed a step or two behind me and I do know for sure that God is never just following behind trying to catch up with me. He is actively pursuing me and those I love. And that is my prayer for those that have wandered that they would see His goodness and mercy pursuing them.
The verse, “he makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me by quiet waters , he refreshes my soul “ was good to dwell on. The world is in turmoil. We need to listen and be lead beside quiet waters.To know that God wants us to be quiet and peaceful – and knows that is exactly what we need before we pick up and try again when things get crazy. Be quiet, be peaceful, come and rest – be assured that I’ve got this
When I am suffering from anxiety or restless agitation, that is not God’s will for me. God does not want me to suffer. He wants me to experience healing, even though I resist it, because my flawed human self thinks I can figure it out on my own. I need to surrender to Him and His will for me and allow Him to lead me to peace. In every situation where my soul feels broken, God will heal me. I have to surrender to His will and ask Him for help. Asking for my soul’s restoration and for freedom from anxiety is a fair thing for me to ask God to do, and God is already always working on this in my life.I am struck by being a sheep, and the Lord is the shepherd. As THE shepherd, he is present, he is watchful, he protects, he rescues, he provides (in abundance), he guides, he leads. The key issue is belonging. If we are HIS sheep of HIS pasture, then he is our shepherd, and what do we need to fear? Nothing. His provisioning in every way is given to us. In him we trust. And rest. And find joy and peace. And find the deep satisfaction of being in relationship with Him. And in all of this, we—trusting, resting, enjoying his presence, just being sheep well cared for by the shepherd—point back to him and give him glory and honor and praise.The reflections on Psalm 23 has been reaffirming to me. I can say with King David as expressed in Psalm 16:8: ” I know the Lord is always with me,I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” I will seek to visualize that at all times : “he is right beside me”. That is a blessed assurance and key to contentment for me!I am in the midst of a huge life transition, and Psalm 23 has been so meaningful to help me have patience on the journey.That we need to live by God’s Word always. Pray for peace even when life’s walk is not so easy. And Pray OFTEN 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼A very strong impression that remains with me is the part about mercy at the end. That mercy is there because we need it. And we all need it. And we will ALWAYS need it.
His mercy endures forever.
I hope looking at these different facets helps you see the beauty, depth and truth in this Psalm as much as it has helped me.