This is Rev. Geoff McKee’s sermon for the fourth Sunday of Easter (12 May 2019). Download a PDF copy if you like by clicking here.
Psalm 23 (New International Version)
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he 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 Lord
Is there any better known Bible passage than Psalm 23?
I don’t think so.
I’m sure that the older generations will have learnt it by heart at school, and the beautiful rhythm of the Authorised Version is unforgettable:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
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.
The Psalm is unusual in that it describes the benefits of God’s shepherding care towards the individual.
The shepherd analogy is a common one in the Ancient Near East and, of course, it is found frequently in the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament. But it always occurs outside of Psalm 23 in the context of all the people. There is no specific, personal, individual focus. [Read more…]