A Sheep Reflects on Psalm 23
You are With Me
Over the years God has quickened parts of this inspired Psalm at different seasons of my life. When I was a young believer, I hoped I would escape life’s problems after I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and be my Savior. Then one night I received a phone call from my father telling me my brother had passed away in an automobile accident. At the time I was renting a room in the home of Elisabeth Elliott. On the short trip to the airport she said, “God does not exempt us from suffering, but transforms us in it.” These wise words from a woman of God who had lost her first husband to a spear in Ecuador and her second husband to cancer, transformed my view of the Christian life. David also experienced this truth when he penned, “Even though I walk through the valley … you are with me.” (Psalm 23:4)
Waters of Rest
During another difficult season of life, our family had to move 6 times in less than 2 years. Then God provided a home in the country with a stream flowing through our property. It was the first home we owned. When we moved in, God emphasized the 2nd verse to my wife which is often translated, “He leads me beside still waters.” But another version renders “still waters” as “waters of rest.” This home, nestled in Lancaster County, PA was a wonderful provision for our family and a gift from our Good Shepherd, for we found rest in the years we lived there.
I Have Everything I Need
This summer at our annual Joni and Friends Family Retreat, we had t-shirts with the first verse printed on them. Instead of “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” they read “The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.” These words are particularly meaningful to families affected by disability, but they are also true for all of God’s children. Or as the hymn ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ expresses it, “All I have needed, thy hand has provided.”
This is what a good shepherd does, he leads us to green pastures and waters of rest. He walks with us in the valley and protects us from evil. He comforts us, commands his mercy to pursue us, and prepares a place for us to live in His presence for eternity. He is an amazing shepherd.
The Lord is My Shepherd
I have seen and experienced the promises associated with this blessed Psalm for many years and through changing scenarios of life. My circumstances have changed, but not Jesus. He is the same “yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the one constant. Thanks be to God for Jesus being our Good Faithful Unchanging Shepherd.
During the past few years of my journey, I have begun tasting and experiencing the goodness and presence of God Himself in a new and more vital way. This wonderful Lord, who I have loved and followed from afar, has become My Shepherd in a new and personal way.
May God’s Good Spirit continue to reveal His Son to each of our hearts, now and forever,
“The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:1 )
Free Hymn Download
I hope you will enjoy this hymn, “Yesterday, Today, and Forever” by A. B. Simpson. In addition to the music there is also the history of this anointed song and piano accompaniment.
• Piano accompaniment
• Sheet music
By the end of the summer, there will be a revised Hymns for Family Worship with 100 hymns and their histories. An official announcement will be in the next newsletter.
• I will be in St. Louis this coming weekend, July 13-15
• July 28-29 I will be speaking in Modesto, CA.
• July 31-August 4, I will be working with the Men’s Ministry at the Joni and Friends Family Retreat in northeast PA.