Welcome to the beginning of a new working week, for some.
Our Bible reading today is Psalm 23, some of the most famous verses in the whole of the Bible, and hopefully familiar to most of you. And I presume that these words are familiar because down the centuries, believers have found them incredibly helpful and encouraging in their spiritual lives – there is so much in them.In fact I have heard a talk concentrating on just the 1st phrase, The Lord is my shepherd, and taking each of the 5 words there, and emphasising them separately; THE Lord is my shepherd, The LORD is my shepherd, The Lord IS my shepherd, etc, you get the drift; and then meditating on what such different emphases brings out.
I often use this Psalm as the basis for a funeral talk, gently evangelistic without being too heavy on such an occasion. My headings go something like this,1) The Lord cares for us and wants the best for us (vs.1-3) – green pastures, quiet waters, restoring our soul, guiding us in right ways2) The Lord longs to walk through life with us (v.4) – even in the dark and difficult times3) With the Lord there is hope of something much better (vs.5-6) – a banquet, and of dwelling in the house of the Lord for ever.And then I might say something about Jesus who is the good shepherd, who knows His sheep and can give them eternal life (John Ch.10).
I have written the words, “quiet confidence” next to this Psalm in my own Bible because that is what these words can give us. Interestingly Stuart Townend, the modern hymnwriter, thinks our response to such a Psalm should be an increased trust and faith in the Lord, which is why in his sung version of this Psalm, a favourite to many of us, there is a repeated chorus/refrain which says,’And I will trust in You alone’.
May the words of this Psalm indeed help us trust in Him today.
From our extended church address list, let us pray today for,- Beatrix, along with Bennet and Millie- Tina Tibbett