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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Abiding Still

To my son Alton who daily reads several Psalms, one being the 23rd.  The 23rd Psalm is a poem that speaks of comfort, protection, guidance, death, enemies, favor, goodwill, goodness, love, and eternal life.  It’s a poem that has nourished many throughout their lives—when as children they identified with lambs lying down in green pastures near quiet waters, to later adulthood when they faced occasional enemies, to eventual old age and the approach of death.  Through it all, the Lord shows the psalmist favor, guidance, protection, goodness and love and promises steadfast acceptance into the Lord’s house and eternal life.  The poem is written in the first person, “I”.  This greatly enhances its power and simplicity.  David speaks only for himself and shows no presumption of speaking for others.  He is writing without the pretentious royal “We” and writes with absolute and credible conviction.  The psalm can provide nonbelievers a better understanding of the point of view resulting from a firm and abiding faith, a position some might find enviable even if personally untenable.  As a poem, it is clear that not a single line should be deleted or added.  Its brevity and conciseness only add to its literary perfection.   

23rd Psalm

NIV Version
A psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
    for his name's sake.
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.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

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