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Canon Paul Hardingham considers a best-loved psalm

There are few psalms as personal and real as Psalm 23.It records David’s experience of God as his Shepherd going through dark times. In the midst of the effects of a global pandemic, this psalm speaks to the fears that can overwhelm us.

He Knows Me:‘The Lord is my shepherd…’ Just as a good shepherd knows every sheep in his flock, so God know each one of us intimately.

He Provides for Me:‘He makes me lie down in green pastures…’ Just as the shepherd knows the needs of his sheep, so God will provide what we need in our lives and circumstances.

He Guides Me: ‘He guides me along the right paths…’ Just as the shepherd leads the sheep to the best pastures, so God provides the best for us, as we listen and follow Him.

He Protects Me:‘Even though I walk through the darkest valley…’Just as the sheep have no need to fear danger when following the shepherd, so we live knowing God’s presence and protection.

He Comforts Me:‘your rod and your staff, they comfort me.’ As the shepherd’s rod defends the sheep, and the staff enables him to control the sheep, so God comforts us through His Word and discipline.

The final verses of the psalm (v5-6) offer the security of knowing that our lives are in His hands, even through death, as He leads us to the home we’ve been looking for all our lives.

Some years ago, a great actor was asked to recite Psalm 23, but asked one of the other guests to do the same. His remarkable rendition was followed by the other man, an older Christian speaking from the heart. Afterwards the actor said: ‘The difference between us is that I know the psalm, but he knows the shepherd.’

Source : Parish Pump