Summering Through Psalm 23 (7/1/18 – 8/12/18)

Posted by on Jul 4, 2018 in EventAnnouncement, Worship & Prayer | 0 comments

On July 1, Pastor Jim opened a summer sermon series on the 23rd Psalm.  Throughout the summer, we’ll take a look at one of the Psalm’s six verses, week by week.

We tend to associate this Psalm only with funerals, or when something bad is happening.  But, it’s a beautiful statement of our life-long relationship with God. 

In our prayer chapel is a stained glass window (shown to the right).  It is captioned “I Am the Good Shepherd”, and it’s based on Jesus’ discussion in John 10

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.

The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—

 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep.

John 10:11-15,  NIV

Our Good Shepherd guides us, protects us, comforts us.  He knows us by name.  He picks us up when we are down, and He even gave His life for us so that we could have this relationship. 


The Good Shepherd…

This shepherd metaphor isn’t just something that Jesus made up.  Not only did the people living in that time and place understand what it meant to be a shepherd (since many of them were), they also made the connection with the message that the prophets gave them many years earlier… 

Genesis 48:15-16   Then he (Jacob) blessed Joseph and said, “May the God before whom my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac, walked— the God who has been my shepherd all my life, to this very day,

the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm— may he bless these boys. May they preserve my name and the names of Abraham and Isaac. And may their descendants multiply greatly throughout the earth.”

2 Samuel 5:1-2    Then all the tribes of Israel went to David at Hebron and told him, “We are your own flesh and blood.  In the past, when Saul was our king, you were the one who really led the forces of Israel. And the Lord told you, ‘You will be the shepherd of my people Israel. You will be Israel’s leader.'”
Isaiah 40:10-11   Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
Ezekiel 34:11-2 & 15-16  “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep.  I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day.

15 I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord.  I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice!

Zecheriah 9:16   On that day the Lord their God will rescue his people, just as a shepherd rescues his sheep. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.


So this song by King David isn’t limited to funerals.  It speaks of a God who loves us so much that He gave His life for us.  It reminds us that our Good Shepherd is always nearby, “guarding, guiding all the way…”


Psummer Refresher….

The words  of this Psalm are familiar to most of us.  We’ve memorized them in Sunday School, we’ve sang them,we’ve heard them at funerals.  But during this summer, we’ll take a closer look and apply them to our day in day out lives.  Our Good Shepherd is with us in the valleys, on the Mountains, and every place in between.

Here’s the sermon schedule (subject to change!):

July 1 Verse 1:     “The Lord is MY Shepherd…”
July 8 Verse 2:     “He leads me beside quiet waters…”
July 15 * * * TBA (Lay Speaker) * * *
July 22 *  *  *  Christmas in July (“The Christmas Story According to Jonah“) *  *  *
July 29 Verse 3:     “Restores my soul- guides me in paths of righteousness…”
August 5 Verse 4:     “Shadow of death- Fear no evil…”
August 12 Verse 5:    “You prepare a table- my cup overflows…”
August 19 * * * TBA (Lay Speaker) * * *
August 26 Verse 6:   “Goodness will follow- I’ll dwell in the house of the Lord forever…”



Versions of Psalm 23

All of us have probably heard the 23rd Psalm before; it’s probably the most popular chapter in the Bible.  During the July 1 service, Pastor Jim asked the congregation to recite the psalm, and most repeated the words from the King James Version of the Bible.  We know the words, but what do they mean?  The King James words are beautiful and flowing… but they’re also (too?) familiar.  Reading different versions or paraphrases of this passage can put it in a fresh light.

During that  July 1 service,  our choir sang an anthem entitled “The New 23rd.”  Composer Ralph Carmicheal used a Billy Graham film (“His Land”) along with The Living Bible rendition of this psalm and put it to music in a fresh (“new”) way.

Here are several versions of this Psalm…

Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything that I need.

He lets me rest in meadows green and leads me beside the quiet stream.

He keeps on giving life to me, and helps me to do what honors Him the most.

Even when walking thru the dark valley of death, I will never be afraid, for He is close beside me.  Guarding, guiding all the way.

He spreads a feast before me.  In the presence of my enemies He welcomes me as His special guest, with blessing overflowing.

His goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all my life.  And afterwards I will live with Him forever.  In His home, forever.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.

He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

GOD, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.

You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.

True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of GOD for the rest of my life.

(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.) 

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 forever.


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.



Whichever version we want to read, this summer will be a chance to step back and take a closer look at this Psalm.  And not only at the text, but at the awesome meaning: That Jesus died for me and rose for me so that He could pick me up and guide me through all of life’s difficulties and joys.  Our Awesome Shepherd!

By the way, what’s your favorite Bible translation (or paraphrase)?

Please go to the home page, scroll down to the bottom, and vote in our poll!  You don’t have to log in or anything like that- just click your favorite Bible.  


+     +     +     +     +     +


For more info on our Sunday Morning worship services, try clicking this button:      Worship  


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *