A Less Familiar Psalm 23
Do you remember the first time you walked into you a new environment (home, work, community, organization)? Do you remember the last time? Strange isn't it? Time, memories, experiences shape how we see things we so deeply love or loved. How about your marriage? The birth of your child? Hopes, dreams, desires now smashing into reality. Familiarity can be both friend and foe.
This morning we're going to look at a passage of Scripture that I'm almost certain everyone here has heard. Now I could be wrong and you may not be a Christian or you may be a Christian with very little exposure to the Bible, but the vast majority of us are at least familiar with this text. Read Psalm 23. These words are everywhere – pop culture, hallmark cards, grave stones, hospital rooms, tattoos, jewelry, apparel, coffee mugs, paintings, movies, music...you name it.
With these words so prolific why do we continue calling life a "rat race?" Why do we live for the weekend or vacation? Why do we fret over money? Why do we have such relational difficulty at times? Why does much of the Bible feel like pie in the sky? Why do the wicked flourish and the righteous struggle? Right? You know what I'm talking about?
Allow me to read Psalm 23 how many of us live it...not necessarily say it, hear it, or remember it:
I have no shepherd I am only in want.
I lie down in a desolate wasteland.
I thirst beside empty rivers.
My soul is dying.
I wander in the midst of wickedness to my own peril.
I walk through the valley of death and I am overwhelmed with fear; no one is with me I am all alone; I can't find any protection or comfort.
I'm starving and only sit at the broken and empty tables of my captors.
My enemies mock me and remind me of my shame.
Surely sadness and fear will follow me all the days of my existence and I will dwell in this barren wasteland forever.
Sadly, this is how many of us embody Psalm 23 ... but that's not the way it ought to be. No, Psalm 23 is the balm for every ailment. This is honey sweet enough for the most bitter root. These words flow like everlasting water to the most parched soul.
Take time today to see Psalm 23 through new, less familiar eyes. Let the edge of this blade cut deeply and let these branches bear new fruit! Psalm 23 is a stream filled with deep nourishing water for us. Look with me at the characteristics of God in Psalm 23. No longer simply looking at these words for ourselves but from the perspective of God's character!
This blog post corresponds with the sermon "Our Good Shepherd," from Pastor Jacob Atchley on August 6, 2017