Psalms 23

So, here goes.

I have been, for a very long time, struggling with anxiety and depression– a debilitating pair if ever there was.  On nights where I couldn’t get to sleep for worrying about what might happen tomorrow, I began to recite Psalms 23 to myself, barely a whisper so as to not wake Jesse.  I would recite it over and over and over until I finally fell asleep.

As the nights dragged on, I began to sink deeper into the meaning of the words.  The words of David to God became richer and more comforting the longer I thought on them.  So now I want to share my thoughts about Psalms 23.

Here it is, from the translation I learned.

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 on the paths of righteousness 
For His Name's sake.

Yea though I walk through the Valley 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 runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life
And I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

1. First, and foremost, The Lord is my shepherd??  THE Lord– the Creator of everything… why would He take such an infuriating and thankless job as looking after me, a lost and wandering sheep?  I mean, just think of it.  The Maker of the world, who put the stars in the sky and taught the eagles to soar, who gave bright laughter to dolphins and developed the intricacies of thought, is sitting on a hill and trying to keep me out of trouble.  David knew exactly what it was like to be a humble, lonely shepherd, and sheep are stupid, careless creatures.  He knew what trouble he was putting God through.  But God has gladly taken on this role.  When Jesus told the story about the lost sheep, He spoke only of his single-minded concern for the safety of the little lost lamb, and His joy at finding it.  We have the best Shepherd in the universe, and He will never stop looking after us!

2. I shall not want.  I’ve often pondered what this means.  So many people in the world are starving, being torn to pieces, raped and murdered.  What does it mean that I shall not want?  In my own life, I have never been starving, and I have always had a comfortable house to live in.  It’s true that I have never wanted for food, or clothing.  Yet I suffer from terrible migraines, and the afore-mentioned anxiety and depression.  I don’t think this has anything to do with physical needs at all.  I think it means that the Lord will never leave me, never stop looking for me when I am lost.  So no matter how much we suffer, we will never lack the compassion of the Holy Spirit that looks after us.

3.  He makes me lie down in green pastures?  So often I eat thorns and weeds– terrible food for my soul.  I can just see Jesus hauling my woolly backside to better pasture, and then sitting on me.   And He leads me beside quiet waters.  He shows us where the good food and the clean water is, spiritually.  Do we always eat and drink of it?  Seriously, sheep are so dumb!

4. He restores my soul.  And what a tattered, broken thing it is.  My dad restores old cars– right now he has the empty, rusted hulk of a 1955 Nomad in his garage.  Every day he brings it a little bit further on its path to becoming an actual car.  My dad works hard, and it takes forever.  Now just imagine if he was given a soul to repair!  The only one who can do that job is God, and he does it again and again, no matter how many times we haul ourselves back to the garage.

5.  He leads me on the paths of righteousness, for His Name’s sake.  Now, I have pondered this a lot.  Sheep wander everywhere, and I imagine the Paths of Righteousness are not the first place we steer our little hooves.  But here’s what I think.  The world knows that we sheep belong to the Lord.  if we are wandering all over the evil, swampy paths of the world, we make the Lord look bad.  We sully his name with our muddy hoof-prints.  He leads us back to walk behind Him, on the right road, so we don’t embarrass Him and make people look down on His Name.

That’s all for now.  Thank you for reading.Image


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. phantom44
    Jan 06, 2013 @ 00:01:59

    Incredible statement, extremely well done. I, too, have anxiety and depression bouts, but what you wrote will help me. I, too, am a sheep, and a pretty dumb one, at that…, dad


  2. Colleen Whitver
    Jan 06, 2013 @ 00:36:19

    Beautiful. Love the extended metaphor of the original you are so faithful to keep in your “sermon”. Preach it, sister!


  3. michonh
    Jan 06, 2013 @ 02:32:47

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They are helpful, and Spirit-filled.


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