Most of us know or have heard reference at some point in our lives to Psalm 23. Bits and pieces come to us when we are feeling afraid, alone, or like we are being attacked by alien spaceships in War of the Worlds. Ha–I am not joking that part of my subconscious sees the Priest in the old War of the Worlds movie walking toward the evil-eyed spaceship quoting the 23rd psalm. Then he gets zapped and turns to dust. It scared me to death as a kid. I always wondered why he was not using his brain and kept walking toward the ship instead of away. At that point in the movie, I think the behavior of the aliens pretty consistently proved they were bad guys…so, while all of you are reading through psalm 23 with floating streams and quiet places and vivid images of gentle shepherds leading their sheep through grassy knolls, I’m thinking about the poor priest who got turned to dust.
I’m thinking that alien space ships were not on King David’s radar when he wrote his prayer to God, but maybe something like it. A deeply distressing time that brought him to his knees, seeking the comfort his true Shepherd could bring.
So, however we get to Psalm 23 and whatever makes us think about it, the truth is the same. God, our good, good God, will lead us in quiet places and walk with us in silence while the peace of the streams bring life back into our weary souls. Nowhere in Psalm 23 does it say “Then God shouted at me because I’ve been such an idiot”, or “God threw me into the quiet stream and held my head under until I gurggled” I give up!”
What this Psalm DOES say, all our own vivid imagery and associations with this familiar passage aside, is:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Take a deep breath, breath in the Hope of a loving God who will walk quietly with you wherever you are on your path. Know He’s with you. Breathe and Hope.
*Grace and Peace*