This past week I attended the first Jewish funeral I’ve been to–a moving experience, as it was the funeral of a gentle and kind man, whom I met through dog training. The prayers and psalms were read in both Hebrew and English, and as I listened to the 23rd Psalm and Psalm 91, of course I didn’t understand the words in Hebrew, but I listened to those words with a feeling of awe, knowing that these were the words as they were originally written, thousands of years ago, and as Jesus would have heard and prayed them in his time on earth.
The 23rd Psalm, with which we are so familiar, was written by David about 3,000 years ago. Psalm 91, one of my favorite psalms, was written by Moses about 3,400 years ago. Hearing these psalms read in Hebrew reminded me that we are part of a long, long history of people of faith. This week I’d like to ponder and pray through a few verses of Psalm 23, and next week we might look at Psalm 91.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul… Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:1-3, 6
God loves us with a nurturing love that meets our deepest needs, by providing rest and refreshment so that our souls will be restored. This week let’s avail ourselves of what God so graciously offers us—his leadership as a shepherd who leads us to what we most need.
Monday: Good shepherds are gentle with their flock, as well as strong and protective of them when danger threatens. Thank God for being both gentle and protective, and entrust yourself to his care for the day.
Tuesday: Because our shepherd meets our deepest needs, we can truly be content. Thank God for the many riches he’s blessed you with— a sense of belonging, friends, forgiveness, access to him, love, peace, and much more.
Wednesday: As shepherds want their sheep to feel safe enough to lie down and rest, God wants us to trust him, so that we can rest from our work and not live with constant stress. Ask God to help you trust him more fully and let go of your anxiety.
Thursday: Take time today to drink deeply of God’s thirst-quenching water for your soul as you read your Bible and spend time in prayer.
Friday: Think about the many ways God has restored your soul in the past. Allow him to refresh and restore your soul today. Praise and thank him!
Saturday: Take some time today to meditate on God’s goodness and mercy. Rest quietly, knowing that you are loved and cared for and will be always.