Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DEVOs, TEVOs and The 23rd Psalm

“Devo” ~ what in the world was my friend talking about?  My spell-check doesn’t even recognize that word.  (I know what Tevo is.)  But I didn’t ask; I watched.  Ahhhh, "devo" is short for devotions.  I enjoy devos almost every day.  I just wasn’t up to speed on the new term for my quiet time.  (And I thought technology was hard to keep up with!)  Later in the week, we were in a small shop and there on the book display was a book called 365 Devos for Boys.  It was a Veggie Tale book.  LOL (I do know what that means) ~ even young kids would know about devos!  I bought the book.

In the last several months my devos have taken me back again to Psalm 23.  Although I had the Psalm memorized as a child, I’ve been hearing from God in new ways recently as I’m pondering its familiar words.  It’s hard for me to read this Psalm without plugging in a current personal story, usually one that is hard to understand.  This time I’m entitling this Psalm …

Psalm 23 and the Will of God

As I’ve pondered the words of David, some new thoughts and questions are surfacing.  First there seems that the order of the statements that David is making is not only logical but really important.

Verse 1, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  This seems to be the premise of the entire Psalm.  Years ago one of my girlfriends used to sing Psalm 23 and in her song the words of this verse were translated, Because the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything that I need.  That communicates the premise well to me.  But the question I have to ask myself is, “Do I trust that premise?”  “What would it look like to live today in a way that communicates I believe the Lord is my shepherd and because of that I do have all that I need?”  If I don’t trust these opening words, the rest of the Psalm will not make sense.

In verses 2 and 3, the verbs take center stage for me, makes, leads, restores, leads.  I find it interesting that leads is used twice, once before restore and once after.  Again the order stood out to me.  He (The Lord) makes me and leads me and then He restores and then He leads again. 

Verse 2a, He makes me lie down in green pastures.  Lying down is a good thing.  I lie down at night to sleep and restore physically.  I lie down on a star studded night to gaze at the stars and try to identify constellations.  I lie down in the snow to make a snow angel.  I lie down in the cool green grass and enjoy a summer day. But sometimes God needs to make me lie down.  I’m not naturally doing what is good for me.  Bill and I experienced that happening about twelve years ago when God seemed to “pull the plug” on our lives and Bill went through a time of burnout and depression.  We didn’t see it coming, but we should have.  God was giving clues that lying down in green pastures was what was needed to restore spiritually and emotionally.  But we were so busy with life we didn’t discern God’s leading and our need.  So God made us lie down by bringing physical circumstances that we couldn’t ignore.  It was a good thing.

At the time the green pastures didn’t seem very green to us.  It was a discouraging time.  But lying down for those months was exactly what was needed. The green pasture was our home.  It allowed us to come to the still waters…

“God, my shepherd!  I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,”
Psalm 23:1 and 2, The Message

 to be continued

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