Day 72: A Psalm of Assurance

One morning, as I was driving to west Texas, I felt like God wanted me to pray the 23rd Psalm; but for the life of me, I couldn't get past, "The Lord is my Shepherd" (which is a little funny considering I was a Children's Pastor for a lot of years . . . it's sort of a staple in Children's Ministry!)
Anyway, as I was driving and lamenting the fact that I couldn't remember the 23rd Psalm, my friend, Becky, called me and prayed this Psalm over me.  It was so deeply meaningful to me in that moment that I sobbed as she read it over me.

I love the Psalms, so much so that each morning I read one. I have done this for most of my Christian life, probably because early on some other Christ-follower told me I should do so. One morning, as I was reading, I started writing what I understood that Psalm to mean. It's not a deep theological explanation; just what I felt God was saying to me on that day.

This morning, as I sat down to read my Psalm of the day, I read the 23rd Psalm and noticed these markings.

The Lord is my Shepherd
     - It's so personal.  He's my shepherd.  Not A shepherd, but MY shepherd.

I Shall not  want
     - It's so simple.  If I stopped here, it would be enough. 

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
     - There is tranquility, not confusion

He restores my soul;
     - He puts together the broken pieces of me.  I am restored.

He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
     - He does all of this for the glory of His name

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;
     - I'm going to walk in deep darkness, it is GOING to happen,
       and evil will threaten to overtake me, but I will NOT be afraid
       because the God of the Universe is walking with me!

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
     - Your discipline and guidance are boundaries that keep me safe and bring me comfort

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
     - You are showing my enemies that You are my provision

You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.
     - You lavish me with so much; protection, guidance, love

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
     - My response of faith

All that to say, God's Word is so rich and alive and comforting. 


  1. Good word. God is so good.

  2. So glad we could share that time together, Carol. These are great thoughts on Psalm 23... and now for just a moment of gloating: I made it into a Carol Jones blog!! Yep, I'm that becky. =D

  3. Becky, you crack me up! I do have a lot of stories to tell about you. If I had known making into the blog was a goal, I could have done that a LONG time ago! :)

  4. Uh, yea... careful on the stories about me, Carol. ;)

  5. Carol,
    Interesting that you blogged this topic on the 8th anniversary of my brother Rob losing his battle with ALS. Before he died, he wrote a letter to his church, thanking them for their support and leaving them with some food for thought. It has meant a lot to me over the years and thought you might enjoy his take on this Psalm. It especially fits the season of life you are facing right now. This is what my nephew, Rob's son, read at his graveside service. He alludes to the letter Rob wrote.

    "Why ALS? Why would God choose perhaps the most dehabilitating of all known illnesses to be the demise of a man who loved activity as much as he loved life itself? This is the question that my father sought to answer soon after receiving his fatal diagnosis this past spring. That answer came to him in the form of a scripture, Psalms 23:2. "He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters."

    After reading this verse, he came to the realization that sometimes the shepherd must actually MAKE us lie down. He expressed this insight to our church in a letter thanking them for their generosity throughout the years. It read,

    "Why does the shepherd have to MAKE the sheep lie down in green pastures? We are seldom satisfied or content, the grass always looks greener over there, we wander. I have had a lot of time to reflect on the green pastures the Shepherd has lead me through in the last couple of years. Last year at this time I was in a green pasture of good health, a healthy loving family, a successful business and many good friends and relationships. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time worrying about my kids decisions for the future, prospects for the coming business year, and unfulfilled friendships and relationships…in short, I was not content. In truth, the pasture I was in six months ago was a lot greener than today's, but what I have come to understand is that there are a lot of shades of green in our life. It's not the lushness of the green pasture we're in that matters but the presence of and trust in the Shepherd who has lead us there. I am coming to the understanding that whatever pasture the shepherd leads me into, I need to lay down, trust in him and be content in his presence."

    - Robert K. Eubanks 2004

    Before ALS, my father felt that he was running from one pasture to the next, always seeking the greenest. The next big job, the next great hunt, and the best of everything this world had to offer. Through all his wanderings from field to field, he never felt happy with where he was. Just as a shepherd will break the legs of a sheep that wanders too often, it wasn't until the Shepherd of man broke my father's body that he learned to be content with where he was, even though the grass was the bleakest he'd ever seen. But the Shepherd didn't leave him in that gray field for long. It wasn't too long before he picked him up from the fields of this world, and took him to the fairest and greenest he will ever see. And that's where he'll wait, contentedly, for the rest of us to come and join him.
    We love you and miss you, Dad."

  6. I love your authenticity in this post. It's amazing how God works sometimes. It is definitely true we all go through tough times. I'll honestly have to implement what you described concerning the Psalms.


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