Scholars believe King David penned Psalm 23 as an old man reflecting on his life. I believe it to be true. When I read this passage I can see David’s gnarled arthritic hands gripping a hand-carved shepherd’s staff. I envision David walking through the pasture, pausing at a babbling stream as he recites these words:
“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.” (Psalm 23, ESV)
I’ve always viewed Psalm 23 as the Shepherd leading the entire flock of sheep to the green pasture. But this morning I carefully reconsidered that notion. I believe this passage refers to the Good Shepherd singling out one sheep to bring about rest and restoration.
I am that sheep.
For the first time, I realize the Good Shepherd “makes me lie down.” Until today, I never contemplated it was a forced rest. I also am being forced to rest. Resting is against my nature. Yet God has called me out of the noise of the world and forced me to rest.
This morning I pulled my red chair up to the throne of God. Knees touching, He revealed that He is making me to rest. Peering at the stilled lake outside my window, I am reminded “He leads me beside still waters.”
“Why are you allowing me to go through this?” I inquire of the Lord.
“He restores my soul” echoes back.
This morning I rewrote Psalm 23 modernizing it to my current situation. (I don’t think God minds).
My Personal Psalm 23:
The Lord is my Shepherd, He provides all my needs.
He makes me to rest with His provision surrounding me.
He leads me to quiet places so He can speak tenderly to me.
He restores my soul.
He guides me in the path He has already planned for me, for His name’s sake.
Even though I awake every morning paralyzed and often unable to walk,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
Your shepherd’s staff makes me feel secure.
Your goodness and Your love pursue me daily.
I will one day dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The Lord is my Shepherd and it is well with my soul.
~April Dawn White
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