SWEETEST SONG EVER SUNG
Heavenly Father, Your eyes seek me out with lovingkindness; day by day I am sustained and embraced by Your grace.
Read PSALM 23:1–6
A psalm of David.
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“With every morning I will kneel to pray / To be a blessing in this coming day” (Mark Edwards and Stuart Townend).
People say that the 23rd Psalm can be used in every context. If David said it when he had to flee home because Saul was seeking his life, then he had an extraordinary faith. Much more applicable would be the previous psalm, which begins “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Psa. 22:1)? Yet by the end of his life no psalm better sums up his experience than Psalm 23.
In many ways the opening verse, as with so many psalms, is the key to the whole. The rest of the psalm unpacks what “I shall not want” (1, NASB) means—provision and refreshment, inner peace, guidance, protection and, at the end, safe homecoming. All these David knew. However, there is something else here.
The psalm comes in three phases. There is first the normal life of the shepherd and his sheep. Day by day their routine is the same, and life continues much the same. Here, in the ordinary, God is found—ever present, leading, refreshing and guiding. Then there comes a time of testing and difficulty, an unfamiliar road with unspecified dangers. How easy to go off-route or to be paralyzed by fear. We all have faced, or will face, such challenges, when our only protection is in the grace of God. David knew such times and the Lord did not disappoint. Finally, there is the sense of life being a journey with a longed-for destination and fellowship found around a table. In every life there is a yearning for something as yet unrealized, but which we believe will yet be. The God who has been with us in the ordinary and the extraordinary is there also, the host with outstretched arms ready to welcome us home.
“And in the evening as my thoughts retell / This passing day let me remember well” (Mark Edwards and Stuart Townend).
Shepherd God, I thank You for this psalm. It has blessed me and Your people down through the ages.
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