Thursday, September 26, 2013

Psalm 23 and a New Context.

Life shocks, jerks, grabs attention, and forces deeper understandings of the very familiar. It never occurred that a forest fire would offer new insights into Psalm 23—but it did.

The fire long quenched, opened views, blackened trees, professionals come to evaluate, decisions, decisions, decisions.
Craving comfort food, I return to the 23rd Psalm—a passage that has rattled my brain since childhood. Do I believe its expressed, comforting, challenging truths?

David speaks these words—David the shepherd, David the giant-killer, David a man who sins, David the enjoyer of an intimate friendship with God. His thesis: “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need” (Psalm 23:1, NLT)

David well knows the role of a shepherd; he lived it. As he provided for and protected the sheep in his flock from eminent dangers, he is keenly aware of God providing for and protecting him from unknown dangers.

Do I believe God provided for and protected me in the midst of the fire? I know he protected our home … but how did he protect me? Sure, I have need of a physical dwelling; I also have spiritual and emotional needs. God knows—and declares, “I have all that I need.”

My temptation in the midst of crazy life is to blow past God and jump on the details. I hear these words, pay attention to the details. Call this agent; check in with this person; make these phone calls; do the next thing. Important—yes. Necessary—at some point, yes. But the most important—no. 

More important than knowing the Lord is my shepherd, I need to experience the Lord as my shepherd. This is what quells the storm and quiets the many voices. And in the midst prioritizes life.

So I seek the green pastures, perhaps a pretty city park. For me the beauty of creation (whether Gods handiwork or mans) is restorative. There in the quietness I breathe, I relax, I listen, I am revived. “He renews my strength.” (NLT) “He restores my soul.” (ESV) Psalm 23:3a

The plethora of details waits.

Something marvelous happens, with revival and renewal comes insight—the next right path. This is the path I need to follow; this is the path that will bring honor to God as well.

I leave this place of beauty with more than a do-list; I leave with peace, with expectation; I leave with courage; I leave having experienced the Lord as my shepherd. I’m learning to believe.

What about you? What quells and quiets the storms of your life?

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.”                                                   Psalm 23:1 (NLT)

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful, Sue. Your experience has also been mine. Thank you for reminding me that I do not need to remain in a place of anxiety and confusion. Indeed, we have a good shepherd.