This psalm is so familiar that reading it my mind often goes on auto-pilot, wandering unthinking through the words. Other times I get sidetracked into some memory from childhood. When this happens I have to remember to ask the Holy Spirit to open my eyes and heart, to make these verses jump off the page. After all Jesus calls the Word of God life giving food (Matthew 4:4). Isaiah compares the Word of God to rain and snow sent to accomplish a mighty task, for God’s power stands behind it (Isaiah 55:10-11). Jeremiah 23:29 declares: “Is not My word like fire, and like a hammer that breaks rock to pieces?” So when the words just sit on the page lifeless, I need to ask God for help.
The following is not the final word on this psalm but what I needed for this day.
The 23rd Psalm is about God’s relationship with me:
It is not a prayer, that I say, asking the Lord to be my shepherd. It is God saying “I am your shepherd, I will watch over you.
It is not about my finding water, or a place of rest — I just follow.
It is not about what I try to achieve. He is the one who directs me in path of righteousness by the power of His name.
He is there in darkness and in light, in the good and the bad, no matter where, always, no time outs.
It is not about what happens when I am good enough, or wise enough, or have faith enough. It is God telling me about His relationship to me because it is by His grace, and love, and forever.
Thus the 23rd Psalm is not my prayer to God, but His prayer to me.