"The Shift in Psalm 23"
I recently preached a two part message on Psalm 23. The video for these two messages is posted on this website. One detail in particular really stood out to me, and that detail is what I am calling "The Shift in Psalm 23."
In the first 3 verses of Psalm 23, King David talks about the Lord as his shepherd. He uses the pronoun "He" repeatedly: "He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake."
Then, beginning in verse 4, the shift takes place. Instead of talking about the Lord as his shepherd, David begins talking directly to the Lord. The Psalm becomes very personal and intimate. One can sense the deep fellowship David is having with the Lord, his shepherd. It is as he talks about the "shadow of death" that the shift takes place:
"4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I 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 have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."
It occurs to me that there is a practical dynamic here that David experiences that we can encounter too. The more David talks about the Lord, the more naturally he wants to talk to the Lord. In fact, I find that the more I talk about the Lord, the more I am drawn to the Lord, and I experience this spiritual hunger and thirst to grow deeper in my understanding and fellowship with the Lord. Talking about the Lord can easily lead me in to talking to the Lord. And, this is what happened with king David. Perhaps there are a lot of folks who talk about the Lord who may not talk to the Lord very much. That is possible. But, I doubt there are many people who talk to the Lord who do not have a practice of talking about the Lord. We enjoy talking about the things in life we love and value. And, we value talking the people who are precious to us in this life.
The Lord is my shepherd, and the more I connect with this reality and truth, the deeper I go into intimacy with Him. And one day, I too will dwell in the house of the Lord forever--and what a glorious experience that will be!
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