By Amanda Berger
So often Psalm 23 is associated with death and funerals. And to be fair, it is read at a lot of them. Its words are beautiful and comforting, but its association with times of death and loss has overshadowed the fact that this psalm is all about life. Notice this version, from the NIV translation:
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
Within these words, the psalmist acknowledges how perfectly God provides. The psalmist is certain in the belief that God is present no matter what. I wonder what would happen if we read the words of this psalm every morning, before we get caught up in the cycles of scarcity, comparison and fear that are so tangible in our human world? If we did, these would be the reminders we hear every day:
I belong to God. I have everything I need.
God has provided safe spaces, quiet places and tends to my soul.
God leads me and helps me to see the way forward.
Even when life feels scary and dark, I can trust. Knowing that God is beside me, I am not afraid.
God has chosen me and prepares a future for me. God’s got this.
God wants good things for me and showers me with love. I am surrounded by angels.
I will walk with God and relish God’s presence today and always.
Beautiful promises! Can we believe them, dwell in them, have our hope renewed and our belief encouraged by them? The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
Prayer: God you lead us. You shelter us. You seek us when we are lost. Often, like sheep, we are led astray, but you seek out the lost. You ease our fears and offer us good things. You prepare a place for us, enveloping us today and always within your goodness and mercy, forever and ever. Amen.