Homework Day One (Psalm 23)

Homework 3If you were at one of the Cool Spring services yesterday, you heard me talk about a lens by which to read Scripture. Check out yesterday’s post about the right questions for an overview of the conversation.

Each day this week, we’re taking a different passage of Scripture and asking three questions of the passage while viewing it through the lens of Jesus’ commands to love God and love others. As you read the passage, what do you hear in the passage? How would answer each question? Feel free to comment below.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:1-6 ESV

1) What do I find out about God and my relationship with Him?

  • As I read this passage, I am reminded of God’s incredible involvement in a follower’s life. I love the imagery of the shepherd who is ever present and caring for his sheep. God is ever present and caring for me.
  • God is the “causative” factor in my life. He is the one who “causes” me in life.  He is the cause of my rest, and He causes my peace. He is the source of my rest and peace. God is the source of my reviving. He causes renewal in me.
  • God directs me to the things which are pleasing to Him and benefit others.
  • God defends me and pulls me back into the fold. He is my defender.
  • God is present in my life. How I need a daily reminder here. Even when I walk through the places of danger, you are with me. Even when I feel alone, you are there. Even when I feel overwhelmed, you are there.

2) What do I find out about others and my relationship with them?

Two pictures come to mind. He is walking with me through the valley of shaded death. Harm may be lurking in the caves and folds of the rocks, but God is present with me and is my protector. What about when I sit at the table with my enemies? The picture isn’t so much of people I may be at odds with personally, but it could mean others that may be at odds with me or may seek less than my well being. As I sit at the King’s table, I am protected by Him. I am under his protection, and no one can harm me because God is my protector. They are powerless to injure me. It’s as if we’re able to live without fear of another or what they might do to us because we live under God’s protection. Again, here’s peace.

Here’s another thought along the line of the King’s protection. What if I held something against someone, contemplated harm or considered getting even for some previous injurious action? Would not the same principle apply to them? If I eat at the King’s table, I am protected by the King. If that “someone” (enemy) is sitting at the King’s table, would they not be protected as well? Wouldn’t it be a waste of time seeking retribution or an effort to get even or harm? I wouldn’t be fighting them but God. Maybe I need to consider that any attempt to get even is a futile endeavor given the fact I’d be fighting the King.

3) How am I to be and do?

To dwell in the house of the Lord reminds me that I live continual communion with God. I need to remind myself throughout the day of His presence, but also of His constant care and provision. It’s almost as if I need to trust Him more. I think that’s my work for today, remembering His presence and His care.

What did God teach you today about Psalm 23?  

5 thoughts on “Homework Day One (Psalm 23)

  1. Paige E

    This whole passage strikes me with this tone of God’s care. I tend to forget that he is my shepherd and he is leading and caring for me daily. So many days the responsibility of my life, my family, my world seems to rest heavy on my shoulders. This passage communicates a more following way of walking through my day. He will take the heavy if I allow him to. This is a change in heart positioning for me. It also gives me more freedom to show goodness and mercy to others as it is being shown to me.

  2. Stacey Gray

    This morning I saw this passage through a different lens. I am so familiar with this passage and hearing it through difficult times. But today I’m reminded that His care is for every day, not just the difficult days. He cares about the minute things that go on in our lives daily. He is our loving Father, who cares about every detail of our lives.

    I’m also reminded that while He prepares all this for me, He’s also preparing the same things for every other person in this world that will accept it. If God can offer grace and forgiveness to others for the sins they commit against Him, surely I can do the same. The sins committed against me are so trivial compared.

  3. Kevin Simmons

    The Lord IS my shepherd. I take comfort in the fact that He knows me and my needs better than I do. His plans are to prosper us, not bring us harm. It’s for us to trust Him as our shepherd and know that he’ll lead us away from places where we’re sure to stumble. It’s also comforting to know that yes, we’re human. We will stumble and fall short of the glory of God, but He’s always there to rescue us!

  4. Gilley

    I decided to do this exercise in the evening. I am sitting outside as dusk is awaking. I am reminded that the Lord is my Shepherd; I belong. Lord, help me to grasped the depth of this relationship you desire to have with me. You restore, lead, comfort, and prepare me so I can rest in faith; thy will be done. As our relationship grows I am free to love others unconditionally. I work in an environment that seems to thrive on hostility and self-centered ness. I catch myself thinking about revenge and giving back what they give me, but, God, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. I am free to be kind when I feel like being mean. Tomorrow morning I am to be who You, Lord prepared tonight.

  5. Kathy Lowry

    1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 
    2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 
    3he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 
    4 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. 
    5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
    6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORDforever.

    What do I find out about God?
    If I submit to the Lord, He will take care of all I need. He personally provides peace, renewal, and guidance. He’s always with me through the worst. He defends me to my enemies in a big way, and He affirms me for holy duties. He gives me everything I have to give in abundance. His goodness is here with me on this earth, and because of Him, I will live forever in His house.

    What do I find out about my relationship with others?
    Because I have, and will have everything I need, I will trust him, and not rely on others for the things that only God can give me. As He provides me comfort, I can provide comfort to others with His guidance. I don’t need to be concerned with my enemies. I will overcome, and have much left over to share with others. His goodness will put me in right relationship with others who know His love, and it will allow us to live together to the end of this life.

    How am I to be and do?
    I am to submit to Lord, and expect Him to provide the best for me, I can also expect him to restore me, and to comfort me, always. Because He will defend me to my enemies, I should be bold in the things I do in His name. I should share the assurance that He has given me with others. I have total security, and I should securely communicate that through the anointing He has put on my life.

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