By Rev. Doug Rokke American Lutheran Church, La Porte City
Four Psalms for May: Psalm 23 “The Lord is my Shepherd”
Psalm Twenty-three is probably one of the best known and loved Psalms in the Bible. Many commentaries and books have been written and its meanings. I simply want to focus on the opening line which says, “The Lord is my shepherd.”
One of the ways I like to read this opening line is by putting the emphasis on three different words. The first would be to say that the Lord is my shepherd. Of all the things I believe in none has the same place as the Lord.In our day we usually interpret this to mean Jesus and so as we pray this Psalm we say that God and his Son Jesus Christ are the ones who are Lord in our life.
The second way to read this would be to say that the Lord is my shepherd. This would remind us that while he is shepherd for all his people, he is also my personal shepherd. He is the one who knows me by name and whom I personally trust to help and forgive, to lead and guide me.
The third way to read this would be to say that the Lord is my Shepherd. For us this is a statement of trust and confidence. There are so many would-be “shepherds” in our world that would like to lead us down many different paths. However as we read this Psalm we join all the countless people of faith who say, “But the Lord is my Shepherd.” He is the one we trust to lead us and guide us through life and forever.
“The Lord is my Shepherd,” often this Psalm is used at funerals and associated with people who are sick or near death. However really it’s a good Psalm to use throughout our lives. Whether we are talking about our personal life, or married life, whether it is in good times or bad, from our first day to our last, this is a good Psalm to know and to pray. For in it we are called to believe and trust that like a shepherd, God will lead us all the days of our life and in the end we will dwell in his house forever. “The Lord is my Shepherd,” may this Psalm be in your heart and on your lips in the month ahead.