Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 23: Psalm 23 Revisited

Jen Final
When I was little, my dad had this thing about us kids memorizing Psalm 23.  And then, when I grew older, the only time I really heard it was on movies when there was a funeral and the only part that I really heard was "Ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..."

For a long time, Psalm 23 was really dark.  When I typed my title "Day 23" today, though, all I could think about was Psalm 23.  I went back and re-read it.  Such hope!  Such freedom!  Such offerings from our God!  It was...refreshing.

Today, I would like you to ask God to help you read this psalm with fresh eyes.

The LORD is my shepherd;
I have all I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love
will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the LORD

Psalm 23, NLT

When I read this with fresh eyes today after church, I had just had the revelation that I have made busyness an idol in my life.  After repenting, I realized this:

He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.

Do you see it?  He lets us rest and THEN renews our strength.  I must make the choice to lie down so to let my soul be restored.  

Challenge:  This is what I have taken away from the psalm.  Will you read it with fresh eyes?  What do you see?  What does God whisper to you?  Please share in the comments.

Linking today with two very lovely ladies:

Laura for Playdates with God (because reading scripture with fresh eyes is a playdate) and

Michelle for Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday (and girls, I think I'll be using Psalm 23 for quite sometimes).

Don't forget about these amazing authors of other "31 Days Closer to..." series:


  1. This is great, Jen. I find that Psalm 23 is one of those passages that I NEVER quit learning from. How can that be? Must be a God-thing. I quote it often in my head when I can't get back to sleep in the middle of the night, and am always amazed at how different verses pop out with fresh meanings.

  2. Don't you just love the NLT? I just finished my reading in Acts this morning and always find it so refreshing.

    You are so right . . . busyness is a choice. And so is peace.

  3. Psalm 23 - a passage that I quote more often this year but one learned many years ago.
    My two favorite parts: (KJV)
    "Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" vs 4 as a shepherd guides his sheep so does the Lord guide our steps and knowing He is in control and provides.

    "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." vs 6

    Have a blessed day!

  4. Thank you, Jen. Last Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday and this was one of the scriptures in the lectionary (of course). Yes, with new eyes it lifts in so many ways, doesn't it? Like you, I have always dwelt on the dark parts. Thank you for pointing me to the Light :).

  5. Beautiful! Thank you for the nudge.
    With Joy, Carey

  6. Jen, I read this Psalm today for my morning devotions before I read your post here today. I am reading the Psalms by date. My version says He MAKES me lie down in green pastures. And there have been plenty of times He has forced me to stop (usually through illness or some other crisis).

    I agree there is so much more to the this psalm than as only a funeral dirge! Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Very cool because I just came in the house (from sitting in the backyard) to check on the chicken I have in a pot on the stove and thought I would also check the "31 Days" bloggers.
    Right before I came to yours I was trying to find a link that I looked at a couple weeks ago that a rabbi writes. Specifically I wanted to re-read his thoughts on Psalm 23 BECAUSE I had my sketch pad and Bible and was about to sketch a portion from Psalm 23 "Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." (After having been introduced to this idea in your post "Blank Page.")
    Comfort comes from a word that means 'compassion; to sigh with one who is grieving.'
    And just this morning at 11:00 I was interviewed on blog talk radio about grieving the loss of a child.
    This just all fits together almost unbelievably.

  8. We recite Psalms 23 every night before bed to both of our kids in the 2nd person--your shepherd, etc. It is amazing and I do love the NLT...a song over our lives in Him.

    I'm sorry I missed so much of this series...I know you understand. I hope you link it all here when you're done! much love friend:-)

  9. Psalm 23 is my favorite passage of scripture because it is what God used to call me to him! I'm glad you're seeing it with new eyes :).

  10. I've never been one to see that passage with sad or dark eyes. I've always found it so comforting. I guess the poetry and imagery of it just lulls me.

  11. Yes -- the peace, the rest, the renewal. That's what this psalm has always meant to me. I love seeing passages with new eyes, too.

  12. Jen, this Psalm ministered to me unlike any other scripture when my Mom passed away. I read it with new insight and He brought such comfort and peace to me during such a sad time. I love the 23rd Psalm. Blessings to you!

  13. Don't you also love the rhythm of this psalm? How it evolves slowly from the reminder that God is all we need to spilling out our fears and needs to ending with praising His name. I have a rough couple of months and your post refreshed me today. Thank you!

  14. Hey friend. Just caught up on the last three days of the series. Thanks for doing this series! It's encouraging, and I want you to be encouraged!

    This Psalm could be my theme song right now. Obviously, I'm learning about rest in deeper ways during this season. Rest in the form of recovery. It's a strange tension, this upramp toward renewal. I know I'm getting better but it's not time to stop resting yet. It never will be, of course. I need to think in process, not destination, and the process will always contain some tension between rest and renewal, between the need to be still and the need to get moving. For everything, there is a time.

    Something else moved me in the Psalm - specifically the verses about death - but it's so tender I'm not ready to go there yet, not even just with myself. I'm sure I'll write about it when it bubbles up to the surface.

    Love you!

  15. As a kid (ages ago) our family memorized this in King James. So I always loved the phrase . . . "He restores my soul."


  16. Wonderful to read! I always get stuck at the beginning with The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need. I can meditate on that so long that I forget to move on to the richness of the rest of the Psalm.

  17. I read all the psalms for the first time ever this past fall. Psalm 23 really resonated with me, as we walked through a period of great grief. I definitely found hope in those lines.


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