Faith: "The Lord is My Shepherd"
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.
— Psalm 23 (KJV)
Psalm 23 is the favorite of millions and is often quoted in distress and at funerals. There is no other song quoted or rehearsed as frequently. We hear it in hymns, paraphrased, and translated. We often quote or claim it as a testimony of our faith in God. David, the writer of this psalm, expresses that he has no want because God is with him
I rejoice because God causes David to lie down in green pastures. This is the place where things grow and life is restored. We are able to observe David being led beside the still waters. God is not leading him into the chaos of life which is going on all around him because his life is being threatened by King Saul. Yet, God leads him into stillness and calmness of life. In other words, God kept David sane. Even though King Saul was insanely jealous of what God had done for David, God protected David from his enemy.
There are times in our lives when we are faced with great challenges. It was at these times when David expresses, “I will fear no evil . . . thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” We know that David was a sheepherder and that understood the rod and the staff. He protected the sheep with rod and the staff. When we go to God with our fears, we can trust that He will take care of us. As the sheep trusted David, we can trust God with all our cares.
As we come to God’s table, we find protection from our enemies. We are a guest at God’s table and he will anoint us with His Holy Spirit when we to His table (into relationship with Him). This is a place where our cup will run over with joy even in the toughest times of life, we have joy. It is here that we desire to remain for the rest of our life eternally with God.
This column is the opinion of Rev. Gracie Jackson of Grace Community AME church.