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Comfort food ~ Psalm 23. T.H.R.I.V.E., #40.

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At six years old, strict Mrs. Crawford at Landmark Baptist Academy made me memorize its six verses. King James Version, I was able to grab hold of a few words for sure, but some of it just didn’t seem to apply too much to my young mind. Like this: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. ‘I shall not want what - the shepherd?’ Confusing at best.

But now I have context.

And now we have modern translations to better understand and apply.

I have watched its effect on people; fact is, it calms the soul. The 23rd Psalm.

David was probably king when he wrote this song; he who had been a shepherd knew all about the care and leading of sheep--how dumb they were, how needy, how lost if left to their own devices. David also vividly remembered running for his life from Saul and how God had protected him in the darkest valley … this part is his testimony.

In high school choir, we sang The Living Bible’s paraphrase of the psalm, but today I give you a different translation. Read it slowly, taking in its meaning.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. New Living Translation

Here is a link to Bible Gateway with three more translations of Psalm 23:

Do yourself a favor--read Psalm 23 out loud, then the hope-filled words of comfort and hope will land on your ears as well. Take them in to your soul. Perhaps make five minutes to write it out as a personal prayer: 'Lord, because you are my shepherd, you will take care of my needs . . .'

Pictured above is the Eastern shepherd. It is one of my favorite pictures from Israel - to see that flocks are still tended in much the same way as in the time of David. Notice how arid, rocky and barren is the land. When David said, ‘he lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams', I had always pictured a lush green landscape with rippling streams . . . but often the shepherd has to find a water source. And as for green meadows? They too have to be searched out by the shepherd. So rich in meaning, so vast in application is the treasury of scripture!

One afternoon, I was summoned to the bed of a woman in the last stages of cancer, suffering from restless leg syndrome. Next to her bed and very quietly, I read the 23rd Psalm to her and her legs stopped their incessant movement; peace came over her.

Two weeks back at the memorial service of Ravi Zacharias, Shane & Shane sang the most beautiful rendering of this psalm ever. Here is the link to listen, or it is attached to the end of my podcast too. -

The Lord is your Shepherd ~ your very faithful Shepherd ~ if you will follow him.

Thank you, God for The 23rd Psalm - truth, reminder, comfort for today, and hope for the future too. Amen.


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