Day 77 | Thursday, 4 June 2020
Time for a couple more versions of the 23rd Psalm. You may find the Geneva Bible reading a bit of a challenge. I follow these with more thoughts.
Psalm 23 – Easy to Read Version (ERV)
A song of David. The LORD is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that he is good. Even if I walk through a valley as dark as the grave, I will not be afraid of any danger, because you are with me. Your rod and staff comfort me. You prepared a meal for me in front of my enemies. You welcomed me as an honored guest. My cup is full and spilling over. Your goodness and mercy will be with me all my life, and I will live in the LORD’S house a long, long time.
Psalm 23 – 1587 Geneva Bible (1587 GNV)
The Lorde is my shephearde, I shall not want. He maketh me to rest in greene pasture, and leadeth me by the still waters. He restoreth my soule, and leadeth me in the paths of righteousnesse for his Names sake. Yea, though I should walke through the valley of the shadowe of death, I will feare no euill: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staffe, they comfort me. Thou doest prepare a table before me in the sight of mine aduersaries: thou doest anoynt mine head with oyle, and my cuppe runneth ouer. Doubtlesse kindnesse and mercie shall followe me all the dayes of my life, and I shall remaine a long season in the house of the Lord.
Surely the psalmist makes a bold claim in the first verse: “The LORD is my shepherd.” But then the bold claims, by necessity, stop. Yes, I will find myself lying in green pastures — but they will not be pastures I will have sought out or constructed; it is the LORD who will lead me to them. I will rest beside still waters — yet it is the LORD who will take me there. I myself, in my own wisdom, haven’t a clue where they are or how to find them. I cannot find my way to them any more than sheep — let’s face it, notoriously stupid animals — can find their own way to adequate pastures and watering holes.
In making the bold claim, the LORD is my shepherd, the psalmist must move immediately to the understanding that if the LORD is the shepherd — then I must be the sheep. And herein lies the proverbial rub for us denizens of this postmodern world, this self-sufficient, independent culture. We would rather wander in the wilderness than admit that we even need a shepherd. We hold in contempt the very idea that any God worthy of the name — worthy of us — would stoop to be something so lowly as a shepherd. We don’t want a “shepherd,” anyway; we want a warrior king.
If we would lay claim to this claim, made by so many throughout the centuries, we need also to lay claim to our need for God. If I would pray, The LORD is my shepherd, I have to relinquish my claim that I will find my own way forward. If I would have the LORD as my shepherd, if we would call the LORD our shepherd, we have to let go of our expectation that we will find pastures for ourselves, that we with our technology and our “can-do” spirit will find water for ourselves from whatever rock dares stand in our way.
More thoughts next time
Good shepherd, we need your leading constantly in our lives. We may be confident in finding our own way forward but right now in our present time, we need calm waters, we need restful pastures, we need the leading of our shepherd. “Guide me, O thou great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak, but thou are mighty; hold me with thy powerful hand.” Lord hear our prayers, amen.
TODAY: Barber shops and hair stylists.