The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want…
Oh? You already know that Psalm?
These days, one of my missions in life is to urge God’s people to get into the Psalms, the beloved “songbook of Israel,” and to live there. The older we get, the more this wonderful collection of hymns seems to speak our language, to understand us, and to know where we live and how to touch us in the deepest, most personal places.
In addressing a seniors group when I recite the six verses of this beloved Psalm, I can hear some thinking, “We all know that Psalm. It’s old news.” My response is: No, you do not know it. You may know the words and may be able to recite it. But no way do you “know it.” I’ve been preaching over six decades and I still make discoveries in that psalm–as well as the rest of them! That, incidentally, is one of the lies Satan uses to keep you and me out of God’s Word. He says “you already know that scripture; there’s nothing new there” and tells us “no one can understand that scripture; it was written thousands of years ago in another language; only scholars can do this.” Both are lies.
We can understand much of it, and more of it as we live in it. And no, you will never plumb its depths. The word of God is a bottomless well. We never reach its end.
Take the 23rd Psalm for example….
Now, I personally am convinced a teenage David did not write this while keeping his father’s sheep. There are too many deep references in this Psalm for a teenager to have penned it. One has to have lived a long time to know how that having “the Lord (as) my Shepherd” satisfies, provides, leads, and gives victories.
When I was a kid, I would read the Psalms and once in a while stumble across a nugget. But most of these 150 songs of Israel were closed to me. I had not lived long enough, suffered enough, experienced enough betrayal and disappointments to see life as the Psalmist saw it. But in time, that all changed.