Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Twenty-third Psalm

This is one of the most famous psalms of the Scriptures. Ironically, it is most often read at funerals. Why is that? The poem places the writer as a sheep, the LORD as a shepherd. This is quite a contrast to the sheep/shepherd metaphor that Isaiah uses in Isaiah 53, in describing the Suffering Servant.

Interestingly, in our American context we usually skip over the phrase: "You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies" (The Message). Sheep have natural predators: wolves, bears, lions, thieves, etc. Who are your natural enemies? If you say you don't have any, beware: to be that blind to your enemies leaves you at a disadvantage in getting protection.

Is being busy your enemy? Is being abused your enemy? Is being neglected or ignored your enemy? Is being ridiculed or rejected your enemy? Is being taken advantage of or being misused your enemy? Enemy is such a strong word; yet if you don't call something or someone for what it really is, you are a sheep.

"Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life" (The Message). This is true for those that often live around ugliness and apathy. Women never think they are pretty enough, they often don't feel loved enough. Men often can't recognize beauty when they see it, and in their effort to get love they lose it. Oh that we would stop long enough to let the Shepherd's beauty and love catch up with us...and then we could sit down and relax next to lush meadows...or a sandy beach...or a mountain cabin porch...or the kitchen table.

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